[bclink id=”953″ target=”_blank”] (Bandmaster Gavin Lamplough) was delighted to return to the magnificent auditorium which is Symphony Hall in Birmingham on 15 December 2013 for the annual Christmas with the Salvation Army concerts. The two performances featured a host of musicians from the [bclink id=”1572″ target=”_blank” text=”Birmingham Citadel Corps”] in a varied program which was well-received by a large crowd. In fact, the audiences were the largest in several years, nearly filling the hall, particularly in the afternoon performance.
The large audiences enjoyed a “Christmas Around the World” journey with the Salvation Army and special guests. The band was delighted to be joined by children from the Birmingham Citadel Junior Band and Singing Company, who were both in fine form. In addition, musicians from the Stafford Grammar and Stafford Preparatory Schools (choirs and a big band) and young voices from Sandwell Music Service participated.
The band featured Salvation Army Christmas classics, including Peter Graham’s evergreen The Shining Star, as well as classics from the secular world, such as Leroy Anderson’s A Christmas Festival. The band’s major work for the concerts was composed by Andrew Wainwright, now serving as Divisional Music Director for the Salvation Army in Wisconsin, USA. Wainwright wrote Christmas Fantasia for the Virtuosi GUS Band, who featured as the title track on a recording featuring solely his music. The piece features a number of well-known carols from around Europe, each attractively set with an exciting big finish. This was certainly appreciated by the audience (as shown by the prolonged applause in both performances) and the band alike.
The band also featured a soloist, Matthew Mynott (bass trombone) – quite a setting for one’s first solo with the band. Mynott gave a spirited performance of the light-hearted Frosty the Snowman, even including some choreography with the young timbrelists who joined him on stage. The band finished with another Peter Graham march, the scintillating The Wonder of Christmas. It was another wonderful occasion and the band hopes that the real “reason for the season” was very clear in the presentation.
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