It is always a delight to play in the magnificent acoustic of Birmingham’s Symphony Hall but it seems an even greater privilege when it is to a large expectant crowd at Christmas! It was great to see such a large audience for both the 2.30pm and 6pm concerts and the warmth of their welcome as the band took to the stage set the tone for the day.
The band were joined by the Songsters (adult choir) and Singing Company (children’s Choir) in the opening number which was a brand new composition by Bandmaster Gavin Lamplough. Centred around the carol “Once in Royal David’s City” it started atmospherically building steadily until the final statement of the tune saw the groups from Birmingham Citadel joined by over 200 young voices!
As well as an abundance of carols, the programme saw the band perform music in a variety of genre. Some were “solo” items for the band whilst others allowed for collaboration with dance and voices.
The band included music by William Himes in “Three Kings Swing”, Paul Sharman’s “Star of Wonder” and even Goff Richards’ trombone feature “I Will Follow Him” which involved some dance....although not from the bandsmen, I hasten to add!!
The “major work” of the concert was Kevin Norbury’s outstanding “Gaudete”. The music is so well-crafted and has a thrilling climax. The prolonged applause would suggest that the audience certainly appreciated it and the encouraging words of one member of the audience was certainly appreciated: “Gaudete....BCB.....WOW! Well played! I could listen to that again and again!
The encouraging response from people is always appreciated but above all else we hope that we were able to, in some small way, communicate something of the real reason for Christmas as first and foremost we are a band of Christian musicians and it is always our intention to honour God through our music-making.
Happy Christmas everyone!