It was with an air of excitement and expectation that BCB gathered for the long journey from Birmingham to Norwich. After a lunchtime stop at motorway services when an impressive amount of food was consumed the band arrived in a damp Norwich ahead of schedule. The first challenge was to fit the 38 players of BCB on to the narrow Norwich Citadel platform but, after some DIY skills were tested, the band settled down to what was to be a memorable weekend.
The evening concert was well received by the large audience from the opening fanfare figures of Gordon’s “Laudes Domini” through the journey of deeply spiritual music and lighthearted musical entertainment.
New works such as “Skydance” were met with approval from the audience and it was great to see the composer, Martin Cordner, in attendance. The interpretation of more established repertoire and SA classics such as Eric Ball’s timeless masterpiece “Resurgam” added balance to the programme which was fully appreciated by those in attendance.
The soloists were in fine form with Neil Blessett’s sonorous sounds ringing around the hall with consummate ease and a really impressive reading of the Trombone Solo “Song of Exuberance” by Deputy Bandmaster Mark Sharman. David Taylor, returning home to the corps he grew up in delighted the audience with an exciting interpretation of Robert Redhead’s “Euphony”. A proud moment for Norwich Citadel as well as the soloist and band. Edward Dixon’s light-hearted solo “Bare Necessities” was a moment of light-relief which was enjoyed by all, although some members of the band seemed to enjoy it a little too much as they hijacked the performance with even the Bandmaster getting in on the act with a jazz trumpet solo!
The playing of a new work by Paul Sharman (Everlasting Hope) and a thought-provoking message from Paul Meredith led to the final major work of the night: Peter Graham’s “Renaissance”.
The extended applause reflected the appreciation of the audience.
Laudes Domini (Gordon)
Time to Be Holy (Sharman)
Tenor Horn Solo: A Time for Peace (Graham)
Soloist: Neil Blessett
Golden Pen (Heaton)
Trombone Solo: Song of Exuberance (Condon)
Soloist: Mark Sharman
Fill the World (Larsson)
Congregational Song – “Love Divine”
Celtic Impressions (Barry)
Euphonium Solo: Euphony (Redhead)
Soloist: David Taylor
Where I Love to Be (Larsson)
Tuba Solo: The Bare Necessities (arr. Baker)
Soloist: Edward Dixon
Everlasting Hope (Sharman)
The Liberator (Marshall)
Morning worship was introduced with the band’s playing of the beautiful “Lord Thou Art Questioning” conducted by the Deputy Bandmaster. There was an entertaining children’s story from Nicola Redhead which had Norwich BM Richard Woodrow dressed as a policeman - what a good sport! The meeting was led through by Band Sergeant Ian Kershaw with the bible message being prepared by the Bandmaster around the thoughts of “Jesus - The Guardian of your Soul”. This was introduced by the band’s playing of Dean Goffin’s timeless “Light of the World” under the direction of the Bandmaster after he asked the large congregation gathered if they could sense God waiting at the door to their hearts this morning (similarly to the message behind the Holman Hunt picture that inspired Dean Goffin to write “Light of the World”). The message was concluded with the band’s playing of Darren Shaw’s popular “Guardian of My Soul”. Following the conclusion of the meeting the Deputy Bandmaster led the band in the hymn tune arrangement “French”.
Following the morning service a march of the massed bands of Birmingham Citadel and Norwich Citadel down the high street was quite a sight (and sound!). A open air service followed with music from the united bands. The leader, Band Sergeant Ian Kershaw, having received a number of donations for the work of the Salvation Army, informed the large crowd gathered that all donations would be given to the disaster relief fund in the Philippines and it was during the playing of “Abide with Me” that crowds of people donated hundreds of pounds to this challenging situation.
The afternoon concert started with “High and Lifted Up” (Ponsford) and featured contemporary pieces such as Paul Sharman’s “Amazed!” and Stephen Bulla’s “Lift Up Your Voice”. BCB also featured more soloists including Tenor Horn soloist Andrew Dickinson with Downie’s “The Piper of Dundee” and a Euphonium Duet “Timepiece” (Bearcroft) from soloists: David Taylor and Keith Watts.
Morley Calvert’s beautiful “My All is on the Alter” led to a thought-provoking message from Andrew Dickinson before the band concluded a fine weekend with the exciting music of Paul Lovatt-Cooper: “Fire in the Blood”.
After the thanks for what was a great weekend the band played the old march “The Roll Call”