Birmingham Citadel Band (Bandmaster Gavin Lamplough) and the Coventry-based Jaguar Land Rover Band (Musical Director David Lea) joined forces on 6 April 2014 for a musical tribute to a mutual friend, colleague and bandsman. David Bartle was a passionate brass band enthusiast who had strong links to Birmingham Citadel Band and Jaguar Land Rover Band. He passed away in January 2014 and both bands, and his family, wanted to stage an event that would be a fitting memorial to a great man.
Bartle always had time for everyone, especially those connected with brass banding. An excellent euphonium soloist and later a trombonist, he played in Salvation Army bands in his native North East, Derby and the London area, including many happy years with the London Divisional Youth Band. As part of the Jaguar Land Rover Band, he was a long-serving member and supporter, playing both euphonium and trombone and later going on to become the band’s chairman.
The two bands played a selection of music which had relevance to Bartle’s life and music. Birmingham Citadel Band started the night in fine form with the stirring march In the Firing Line, which Bartle had frequently identified as his favorite march. The was followed by the first contribution from Jaguar Land Rover Band, Kenneth Downie’s beautiful In Perfect Peace. Changing the mood with Glory Fanfare, the Jaguar Land Rover Band showed their power before Birmingham Citadel Band played a piece which Bartle had listened to most days over the final months of his life, Eric Ball’s Constant Trust.
Bandmaster Lamplough explained that had had visited Bartle on one occasion and Bartle had requested that the band play Constant Trust one Sunday night. Although he would not likely be able to attend, because of his deteriorating health, it would be a great source of strength to him knowing that it was being played. The band recorded that performance and sent a disc of it to Bartle. He regularly told how he had listened to it most days while battling his illness. Although it is perhaps dated, the audience appreciated the melodies running through Constant Trust.
There were two solo items presented. Jaguar Land Rover Band principal cornet Paul White played Rhapsody for Cornet and Band (Ray Bowes) and Birmingham Citadel Band principal euphonium David Taylor offered Shepherd’s Song (Trevor Davis). The two extended works for the evening were An American Tale, played by Jaguar Land Rover Band, and Variations on Laudate Dominum, played by Birmingham Citadel Band. The Birmingham Citadel Songsters, Singing Company and Junior Band also contributed to the evening.
To finish the concert, the bands combined to present two massed items. The sound of the combined bands playing The Kingdom Triumphant (Eric Ball), with Bandmaster Lamplough conducting, and Celebration (Leslie Condon), with Musical Director Lea conducting, was a fitting end to the evening and worthy tribute to a gentleman who would, no doubt, have been delighted to see his two favorite bands share the same stage for the first time in their history.
Birmingham Citadel Band web site