BCB IN CANADA - DAY 11, 25TH APRIL 2011: JOURNEY HOME
Daily Blog: Gavin Lamplough (Principal Cornet) writes.......
Having flown through the night and losing a nights sleep, we touched down at London Heathrow at 6.40am. Even at such an early hour the UK’s busiest airport was bustling with activity with visitors from all over the world. We filed through the endless queues and eventually picked up our baggage. The only one to be stopped at customs this time round was David Mynott as they believed he had dual citizenship!
We loaded the coach one more time and as we filed onto the coach we each said our goodbyes to our friends who were staying in London: Ed Mylechreest, Lt. Col. Anthony Cotterill and Bandmaster Andrew Blyth.
The impact that Anthony and Andrew have had on the band’s tour is immeasurable. I guess that Anthony agreed to travel with the band, despite his busy schedule, due to his close friendship with Bandmaster Graham Lamplough. But that is not the reason he was invited. Bandmaster Lamplough, along with those of us who were fortunate enough to have been alongside Anthony at the West Midlands Divisional Music School back in the 1990’s, knew what a man of God he is and knew of his God-given unique ability to open the word in a relevant and engaging way. He is a speaker that you literally could listen to all day! His sharp whit, deep intellect and ability to find the congregation’s “level” is, in my opinion, unrivalled. He is a special man and the spiritual impact he had on each bandsmen is immense. Bandmaster Andrew Blyth is another man who some of us had worked with in the past, but he surpassed all expectations. To come in at the “eleventh hour” and lead the band in the absence of our Bandmaster is an unenviable task. To “buy into” the way we do things, discover our interpretation of the music we played and then to move the band further forward in the final weeks leading up to the tour is a task that many would find impossible, but Andrew more than rose to the challenge. Aside from his musical ability, he also brought four other things to the tour. His whit delighted the audience and engaged with the band members and he was emotionally open with the band all tour, which set the example for the rest of the band to address their feelings and emotions this week. But for me the two most impressive things were his strong Christian faith which he demonstrated through his teaching of the music and his communication of the message behind the music to the audience. And then there was his sensitivity in what continues to be a difficult time for Bandmaster Graham Lamplough and BCB. He dealt with the hurt being experience with compassion and consideration and made it very clear that it was Bandmaster Lamplough who had made this tour such a success with his programming and preparation. But this humility should not overshadow his input on this tour and although he said to the band on the coach that ‘he wished he wasn’t on the tour’ (meaning that he wished Bandmaster Lamplough had been well enough to travel) we could not have wished for a better Christian man to step into the breach.
As we made the final leg of the journey up the M6 we were all able to reflect on what was a truly remarkable tour. The thousands of comments expressed to the band after concerts and through emails have highlighted that the impact the band has had on the people of Canada will be long lasting. Comments such as this were heard time and time again on this tour: “I have heard all of the army’s top bands over the years and the playing of BCB was as good as any. First class performance and presentation. But what makes this concert so different from anything I’ve heard before is that it had everything. A holistic approach. We received such a blessing from the concert that we have not experience before, but never was the standard of musicianship compromised. This is an evening I will never forget for the rest of my life.”
But do we take any credit for this? No, certainly not. We just thank God for this wonderful opportunity praise His name and we thank Him for speaking to thousands of people through our music. I also thank Him for speaking to every member of BCB and we are excited at how he will “tend these seeds that have been planted” in the coming weeks and months. For those of us who have been on countless tours with Army bands this has been the best by some way. Praise God for the way he continues to use the medium of the Brass Band to reach out to people and we Glorify Him for richly blessing everyone connected with the Birmingham Citadel Band’s Tour to Canada 2011.