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It is now sixteen years since the first invitation was given to BCB (Birmingham Citadel Band) to provide a programme of music in the foyer of the Symphony Hall prior to the British Open Brass Band Championship.

On the Saturday morning of September 8th, an early start of 8.45am and the band has started to assemble and calm away any anxiety and nervous tension.


9am ready to go and to open the programme with a beautiful hymn tune.


The next item was 'Prelude on Tallis' (Peter Graham), this piece gave the rapidly gathering crowd a taste of what was to come from one of the Army's premier bands.

The band has some fine soloists. Deputy Bandmaster Mark Sharman chose to play the trombone solo 'You can't stop God' by Kevin Larson. A bright and foot tapping piece played with dexterity and full trombone style. He received prolonged and well- deserved applause, well done Mark.

The band then launched into an up-tempo piece by (Marcus Frei) with its reference to the James Bond theme called '007 light', it brought a lighter side to the programme.

'Beside the sea of Galilee' by Andrew Mackereth creates a thoughtful picture of Jesus walking beside the sea and thus it brought a calm and thoughtful interlude.

Our next soloist David Taylor playing the solo 'Varied mood' written by Ray Woodfield. A fiendishly difficult piece, it explores the Euphoniums complete range. The solo really taxes the soloist in every way but as usual David brought the best rendition with dexterity and ease. This was playing at its best and brought much delight from the rapidly increasing international crowd.


For the many Salvationists and ex-Salvationists listening to the band, the next piece 'The Triumph of Peace' (Eric Ball) is an all time Salvation Army classic. At a time when the world seems to be in chaos, the theme 'Peace in our time 0 Lord, to all the nations peace', was a fitting and timely piece and enjoyed by all those listening.

The band then chose to play a march 'In the Kings Service' (Eric Leidzen). One of the people listening was Major George Whittingham

(retired), long associated with Upper Norwood SA Band. A lovely gesture by the bandmaster was to invite the Major to conduct the band. His obvious joy and delight was something to behold.

The band looks on this special opportunity as a time not only to showcase great Salvation Army music but to provide an insight to our Christian beliefs. So the final piece of the morning 'Servants of God' (Steve Ponsford) was well chosen.

As the crowds dispersed, the band should be proud of some well-chosen, fine, thought-provoking music, well played and received. Well done BCB.

Report: George Dickens

Photos: Paul Dickens

Video: Robert O'Connor

Highlights Video

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