On 18 September 2016, Birmingham Citadel Band (Bandmaster Gavin Lamplough) celebrated 60 years of service by Bandsman George Dickens. Of his 60 years of banding, 53 were spent as a member of Birmingham Citadel Band. During that time, he took on extra responsibility one more than one occasion, serving at various times as Assistant Band Secretary, Junior Band Sergeant, Band Sergeant and, more recently, flag carrier.
Prior to the presentation of a special certificate to Dickens, special mention was made of four other gentlemen who have recently stepped down from active service with Birmingham Citadel Band. Although they have not, as of yet, requested to be placed on the band reserve and officially retired from the band, the incredible commitment and contributions of Phil Harris, Graham Andrews, Howard Wilkinson, and Graham Daff was recognized. THey not only played in the band for many years, but have also taken on many other responsibilities during their time in the band.
Dickens completed nearly twenty studio recordings with the band, went on eight foreign tours and played in countless concerts. He was ever present for Christmas caroling and hospital visits and, of course, as a part of worship and open-air meetings at Birmingham Citadel.
One of Dickens’ highlights was his opportunity to “solo” with the band. He played Solo Secondo - A major work for Second Horn and Band (William Himes) a number of times, always delighting both the audience and his colleagues. It also typified his sense of humour, as the soloist only uses one note throughout the solo. As a part of the retirement celebration Dickens was presented with a copy of the soloist’s part, signed by the composer.
Birmingham Citadel Band web site, original report by Gavin Lamplough, photos by Graham Daff