Birmingham Citadel Band enjoyed a fantastic weekend in Cardiff with the corps at Cardiff Canton. A weekend of great music, lots of fun and inspiring spiritual moments was enjoyed by large congregations. Many commented that it was the best they had heard Birmingham Citadel Band play - high praise indeed for a corps band who always strive to maintain the highest musical and spiritual standards.
Birmingham Citadel Band’s 1st Baritone player Andrew Clampton writes:
Following a good weekend in April 2010 when Cardiff Canton Band visited the Citadel, it was with an air of expectancy that the band embarked upon the return visit to Wales.
With the weather cold and wet outside, a warm welcome and a packed hall greeted the band as they took their places on the platform and around the hall for the opening piece of the weekend – Martin Cordner’s exciting ‘Fanfare and Flourishes’.
With the applause still reverberating around the hall, a quieter mood was introduced by Olaf Ritman’s arrangement of Darren Bartlett’s song, ‘The Lord is Gracious’.
Following an opening prayer and introductions, the band picked up the pace again with Herbert Rive’s march ‘Spirit of Joy’, the title track of their latest CD.
The first soloist of the evening was principal cornet player, Gavin Lamplough, who expertly played Eric Ball’s classic cornet solo ‘Clear Skies’ in it’s original form, which the Salvation Army had considered to be too difficult when the piece was sent for publication in the 1960’s.
Another Army classic followed with Major Sir Dean Goffin’s ‘Rhapsodic Variations – My Strength, my Tower’. Originally written as a contesting test-piece, the band showed that it was more than up to the task by producing an accomplished performance - a credit to the training and preparation of the band by Bandmaster Graham Lamplough.
A pause for thought followed with Cardiff Canton Songsters providing two songs in contrast, some words of scripture by Ian Kershaw and the band playing Ivor Bosanko’s arrangement of ‘His Provision’.
The first half finished with Andrew Mackereth’s tribute to the Household Troops Band, ‘Trailblazers’.
The second half opened with William Himes’ ‘Three Kings Swing’ followed by Andrew Blyth’s ‘Festival Arrangement – Shine Down’.
A rousing rendition of ‘O God of burning, cleansing flame’ by the Welsh congregation preceded the introduction of the second soloist of the evening.
Principal euphonium player David Taylor chose to play Peter Graham’s ‘Brillante’, a fantasy on Rule Britannia with a hint of the well-known Welsh tune, Men of Harlech, introduced in a minor key in the middle section. The performance was in keeping with the title – absolutely brilliant.
Music from film scores now followed with the trombone section performing ‘I Will Follow Him’ by Goff Richards, principal horn player Neil Blessett playing the horn solo ‘Over The Rainbow’ (Goff Richards) with great sensitivity and the band playing Hans Zimmer’s ‘Crimson Tide’ arranged by Klaas van der Woude which featured the hymn tune of Melita which is associated with the hymn ‘Eternal Father, strong to save’.
This particular section of the programme was completed by the final soloist of the evening, Edward Dixon, who competently played the Eb Bass solo ‘The Bare Necessities’ in spite of chaotic attempts to sabotage his big moment by the rest of the band.
The final piece of the evening was Steven Ponsford’s ‘Kerygma’, which uses a mixture of contemporary worship songs and more traditional tunes to focus upon the Easter story.
Stephen Bradnum’s superb setting of ‘The Irish Blessing’ brought this evening of music to a fitting and, for some, emotional conclusion
“Fanfare and Flourishes” (Martin Cordner)
Song Arrangement “The Lord is Gracious” (Darren Bartlett arr. Olaf Ritman)
Prayer – George Dickens
March “Spirit of Joy” (Herbert Rive)
Cornet Solo “Clear Skies” (Eric Ball) soloist: Gavin Lamplough
Rhapsodic Variations “My Strength, My Tower” (Dean Goffin)
Cardiff Canton Songsters
Scripture Thought – Ian Kershaw
Song Arrangement “His Provision” (Ivor Bosanko)
“Trailblazers” (Andrew Mackereth)
“Three Kings Swing” (William Himes)
Festival Arrangement “Shine Down” (arr. Andrew Blyth)
Euphonium Solo “Brillante” (Peter Graham) soloist: David Taylor
Trombone feature – “I Will Follow Him” (arr. Goff Richards)
Horn Solo “Over the Rainbow” (arr. Goff Richards) soloist: Neil Blessett
“Crimson Tide” (Hans Zimmer arr. Klaas van der Woude)
Eb Bass Solo “The Bare Necessities” (arr. Leigh Baker) soloist: Edward Dixon
“Kerygma” (Steven Ponsford)
“The Irish Blessing” (arr. Stephen Bradnum)
Words: Andrew Clampton
Pictures: Graham Daff
Birmingham Citadel Band’s Eb Bass player David Richardson writes:
4pm on Sunday 31st October saw the band start the final praise and salvation meeting bringing to a conclusion what had been so far an excellent weekend.
The band continued to mix traditional and contemporary music in a programme that was punctuated by some excellent congregational singing (no surprise in Wales!!) and were supported by the Cardiff Canton Songster brigade.
The band’s Christian message was emphasised with the aid of drama and some thought provoking words from Robert O’Connor. This was backed up, as throughout the weekend, by thoughtful use of audio visual presented by Malcolm Hayward.
The band’s opening item was a crisp rendition of the festival march The Ambassadors by Peter Graham. The first of the nights two soloists was Deputy Bandmaster Mark Sharman whose interpretation of Eric Leidzen’s A Never Failing Friend was very well received.
In contrast the classics were visited when the band played the slavonic dance no 6 taken from the Army’s classic transcription Melodies from Dvorak. This was followed by Ken Downie’s modern arrangement of Stars of the Morning which includes the tune associated with the words from the children’s song When He Cometh.
Robert Hayward, the second soloist of the evening, completely changed the mood. He showed his dexterity and versatility playing the xylophone solo Listeria by Sandy Smith originally written for two players. He also included an injection of humour as he wound up the bandmaster.
There was no more fitting piece to conclude this weekends programmed musical items than Eric Balls timeless Songs of The Morning.
The congregation were then sent on their way having clapped and sang along with the band as they signed off by playing Osgood’s march Montondo. A splendid way to end a tremendous weekend.