The evening began with William Gordon’s anthemic “Laudes Domini”. This was followed by Darren Shaw’s “Guardian of My Soul”, which I think will become very popular with many corps bands.
It was very refreshing to hear Wilfred Heaton’s “Golden Pen” a piece not all of us are familiar with, but definitely one of Heaton’s very best. This was followed by a Tenor Horn solo by Neil Blessett, who played Peter Graham’s “A Time for Peace”. This piece gave Neil the chance to display his beautiful tone and stylish lyrical playing.
Stephen Bulla’s “Lift up your Voice” set the scene for the second soloist of the evening - this was played by Birmingham Citadel’s principal Trombone player, Mark Sharman, who is also the Deputy Bandmaster of the Band. Mark played Peter Van Der Horden’s beautiful arrangement of “Somebody Prayed for Me” - and I know this was a highlight of the evening for many of the Congregation.
Eric Ball’s “Resurgam” is regarded as one of the greatest pieces ever written for Brass Bands and Bandmaster Lamplough’s interpretation did not disappoint. The band expressed emotion though their playing which moved the audience to tears. This was a moment that we’ll treasure for many years at Droitwich Corps.
Both the final piece of the first half and the first piece of the second half were compositions penned by Kevin Larsson. The first being the exciting “They Shall come from the East”, which featured some X Factor winning singing by the Band members, followed by the toe-tapping “Fill the World with Glory”.
Now it was time for the Congregation to use their voices to sing a personal favourite of mine “Love Divine all Love’s excelling”
Deputy Bandmaster Mark Sharman took us on a musical journey to Ireland with “A Celtic Impression” written by Darrol Barry. This particular piece was much enjoyed by the congregation. The baton was handed back to Bandmaster Lamplough for the band to accompany the final soloist of the evening, David Taylor, who displayed his excellent Euphonium playing, delighting the audience with Robert Redhead’s “Euphony”.
Any Kevin Larsson fans in the audience were in for a treat as the band played a third piece of his for the evening , a Tango “Where I Love to be”. This is a piece I’m familiar with as Droitwich Junior Band also play it!
Next up was Paul Sharman’s “Amazed!” which was followed by Dean Jones’s expressive arrangement of “Written In Red”, which set the scene for a short challenging message, given by Tenor Horn player Andrew Dickinson, who explained the meaning behind the major work of the second half “Fire in the Blood”. The band played it superbly well, incorporating solos by Nicola Redhead and David Taylor - the climax of the piece was definitely a ‘Spine tingling moment’
The evening was filled with music to entertain everyone in the audience. The band sounded fantastic and have achieved musical excellence under the leadership of Bandmaster Gavin Lamplough, but what impressed me the most was the commitment to bringing honor and glory to God, which is what it is all about. The icing on the cake was hearing the band complete the evening with George Marshall’s classic march “The Liberator”.