Birmingham Citadel Band made a return visit to Rushden and were greeted by a capacity crowd. This was a remarkable achievement by the people of Rushden as it was only a relatively short time since the last visit in 2011.
After a welcome tea the band entered the packed hall to warm applause. BCB presented a largely new programme with some of the repertoire having only been prepared in the last few weeks. The opening fanfares of Bill Gordon’s “Laudes Domini” made both a musical impression and prepared the way for the mission of the band as the melody associated with the words “May Jesus Christ be Praised” reverberated around the hall.
The programme included a mix of old and new, energetic and reflective and also included a number of Salvation Army classics. From the beautiful “Guardian of My Soul” to the classic march “The Liberator” there was something for all.
The soloists were in fine form once again. Neil Blessett (Tenor Horn) played the beautiful traditional melody “My Love is like a Red Rose” to which we associate the words “There is a green hill far away” and Mark Sharman (Trombone) presented Peter van der Horden’s arrangement of the beautiful song “Somebody Prayed for Me”. Following this solo Neil Blessett spoke on bible verses connected with this theme. In the second half David Taylor (Euphonium) played “Harlequin”. It was an exciting performance which was very well received by the audience which included euphonium legend Trevor Groom.
The band’s two major works were Paul Lovatt-Cooper’s “crowd-pleaser” “Fire in the Blood”, which concluded the programme, and the timeless Eric Ball masterpiece “Resurgam”. It was the first time in almost 20 years that the band has featured “Resurgam” on a programme and, whilst the playing was excellent, the emotion portrayed through the interpretation was breath-taking. Most of the audience were visibly moved to tears after the final chord of Eric Ball’s emotive music and the silence spoke louder than the applause of ten thousand!
Other highlights included Kevin Larsson’s “They Shall Come from the East” (another first for the band) and Wilfred Heaton’s “The Golden Pen”.
Photos: Graham Daff
Laudes Domini (“May Jesus Christ Be Praised”) (Gordon)
Guardian of My Soul (Shaw)
Golden Pen (Heaton)
Tenor Horn Solo: Green Hill (Bearcroft) – Neil Blessett
Lift up your Voice (Bulla)
Trombone Solo: Somebody Prayed (van der Horden) – Mark Sharman
They Shall Come from the East (Larsson)
Fill the World (Larsson)
Congregational Song – “Love Divine all Loves excelling”
Celtic Impressions (Barry)
Euphonium Solo: Harlequin (Sparke) – David Taylor
Soli Deo Gloria (Himes)
Fire in the Blood (Lovatt-Cooper)
The Liberator (Marshall)