To the accompaniment of what sounded like a great firework show in Rushden, Birmingham Citadel Band provided an evening of their own brand of fireworks.
Starting off with Andrew Mackereth’s “Eine Feste Burg” and neatly heading into “He Can Break Every Fetter”, which included a particularly fine trombone section sound, the audience settled down to an evening of fine music.
We were then treated to an old Salvation Army classic “Victory For Me” by Wilfred Heaton. This was followed by the first soloist of the evening, Neil Blessett on Tenor Horn, playing “Demelza” by Hugh Nash. Neil’s full mellow sound resonated around the hall never being overpowered by the accompaniment of the band.
Deputy Bandmaster Mark Sharman was the next soloist to step up for a change of style with the lively “This I Know” by Terry Camsey.
The beautiful “For Our Transgressions” by Morley Calvert was received by the listening audience in a reverent mood as the piece was sensitively played by the band.
The band’s major work of the evening was “Vitae Aeternum” by Paul Lovatt-Cooper, which admittedly is one of my favourite band pieces, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Each section played their part, but special mention should go to the percussion section of Tim Farmer and Rob Haywood. It was a joy to watch them AND hear them. Not many SA bands are fortunate enough to have two professional percussionists in their band, but these two gentlemen provided many highlights of the evening.
The second half of the programme began with Peter Graham’s “Ask”. From one dance style to another, Mark Sharman took up the baton to lead the band in the Bolero “I Have Decided To Follow Jesus”. I thought that at one stage the Blessett Brothers were going to go all “Strictly” and do a dance for us. Thankfully, we were spared that spectacle.
The next soloist was the band’s fantastic principal Euphonium, David Taylor who gave a stunning rendition of “Brillante” by Peter Graham proving that he is a real talent on the Euphonium.
From the sublime to the ridiculous, the band let it’s hair down all the while trying to ruin Tuba soloist Edward Dixon’s rendition of “The Bare Necessities”. Even the Bandmaster getting in on the act, leaving the stage and returning with some fine jazz trumpet playing.
The percussion then showed their versatility again helping to drive along Andrew Blyth’s arrangement of “Shine Down”, with Tim Farmer making a particularly fine job of the xylophone solo in the middle of the piece.
The mood was yet again sensitively changed with a beautiful rendition of Kenneth Downie’s arrangement of “Jesus Answers Prayer”.
The band’s last piece was “Joyous Celebration” by James Curnow, a rarely heard work these days. Again, every section of the band played their part extremely well.
The audience was sent away with the classic march from George Marshall, “The Liberator” ringing in their ears after a fantastic evening of great music.
The programme was sensitively put together and compered by newly appointed Bandmaster Gavin Lamplough. I’m certain the band’s previous Bandmaster would be extremely proud.
Report: Vicki Blessett (Peterborough)
Photographs: Graham Daff and George Gallagher
Eine Feste Burg (Andrew Mackereth)
He Can Break Every Fetter (Ken Downie)
Victory for Me! (Wilfred Heaton)
Tenor Horn Solo: Demelza (Hugh Nash) – Neil Blessett
Trombone Solo: This I Know (Terry Camsey) – Mark Sharman
For Our Transgressions (Morley Calvert)
Vitae Aeternum (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)
Ask! (Peter Graham)
Congregational Song – “Praise to the Lord the Almighty”
Bolero – I Have Decided to Follow Jesus (William Himes)
Euphonium Solo: Brillante (Peter Graham) – David Taylor
Tuba Solo: Bare Necessities (arr. Baker) – Edward Dixon
Shine Down (arr. Andrew Blyth)
Jesus Answers Prayer (Ken Downie)
Joyous Celebration (James Curnow)
The Liberator (George Marshall)