Birmingham Citadel Band took part in this year’s “Rejoice” Christmas concert on Sunday, at Birmingham’s magnificent Symphony Hall. As people gathered for the two performances, there was a buzz of excitement. BCB started the programme with Donald Osgood’s “Noel” which also included vocal soloist Susanne Dymott (Guildhall School of Music and Drama) and the Birmingham Citadel Songsters (senior choir).
The band’s playing of Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” was enhanced by a timbrel display and their third collaboration featured TV presenter Nick Owen. Together they presented Philip Lane’s descriptive music “The night before Christmas”. Nick Owen’s opening lines (“‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse”) set the tone and the band’s sensitive and colourful performance captured the mood perfectly. The presentation was further enhanced by a creative dance which beautifully portrayed Mr Owen’s excellent narration.
BCB’s major work for the two performances was Paul Lovatt-Cooper’s exciting “A Christmas Finale”. The band provided a powerful and energetic interpretation of Lovatt-Cooper’s music in which he weaves a selection of familiar carols. The beautiful central section featured Principal Cornet Gavin Lamplough and Principal Euphonium David Taylor in the expertly scored arrangement of the carol “Away in a Manger”.
The full sound of BCB filled the Symphony Hall in the closing section and the final note was met with enthusiastic applause from the audience.
The concert ended with a fanfare and the congregation singing “O Come All Ye Faithful” to the David Willcocks arrangement played by the band and the Festive March “The Wonder of Christmas” by Peter Graham.
The concert proved to be very popular once again and it was particularly pleasing to see such excellent numbers in the audience. It remains a huge privilege for BCB to perform at this wonderful venue and to proclaim the true message of Christmas to so many people.