The Adrian Boult Hall at Birmingham Conservatoire was the setting for the West Midlands Divisional Musician’s Councils and Birmingham Citadel Band were invited to be the “duty band” for the afternoon session.
BCB, with Bandmaster Graham Lamplough, presented a selection of music including Kerygma (S. Ponsford), Songs of the Morning (E. Ball) and Trailblazers (A. Mackereth) and were also led by Dr Stephen Cobb (Bandmaster of the International Staff Band) in Peter Graham’s march The Ambassadors.
The centrepiece of the band’s involvement was a presentation on using secular music with multi-media. Bandmaster Graham Lamplough told the capacity audience that using multi-media was nothing new. Birmingham Citadel Band have used this medium to enhance our presentation for more than 10 years, and more bands are opting to using this valuable resource. But those gathered were reminded that it must not become the focal point of our performance, but neither must it be used in a meaningless way “just for the sake of it”. For a Christian Brass Band it is an invaluable resource which can clearly communicate our message to those who listen to our music and perhaps cannot relate to the melodies they hear.
The band then presented four secular pieces, well known to the audience. Starting with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from the Wizard of Oz, the band moved on to “I Will Follow Him” from Sister Act, the theme tune from the film “The Crimson Tide” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel. Supporting these four pieces, the multi-media presentation of images, movies, lyrics and scripture verses helped convey the band’s message.
From the opening bars of the Tenor Horn Solo, played by Neil Blessett, his warm sound filled the beautiful acoustic. It was almost a “home-coming” for Neil who spent four years at Birmingham Conservatoire studying the Tenor Horn during the mid-1990’s. The trombone section gave a dynamic reading of “I will follow Him” before the haunting final statement of “The Crimson Tide” created a hush around the auditorium. The final moments of the piece refer to the hymn tune “Eternal Father Strong to Save” and this niente ending melted into the opening of “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. After the powerful final chord the audience showed their appreciation through prolonged applause.
It was also a memorable occasion for two African Salvationist musicians who were invited to share in the experiences of this day along with a more extended tour of Salvation Army banding in the UK. Surely one of their highlights on their return to Africa will be the cornet duet that one of them played with Dr Stephen Cobb.