The annual “Into Africa” concert, benefiting [bclink id=”1081″ target=”_blank”], was held at Staines on 14 June 2014. This year’s concert featured 14-year-old Isobel Daws (trombone) as guest soloist, with the [bclink id=”962″ target=”_blank”] (Bandmaster Jonathan Corry) and Staines Songsters (Leader Samantha Turner).
Organized superbly, as ever, by Wes Maughan, the event raised over £4,500, adding to a total of over £250,000 raised and invested on special infrastructure and building projects over the last fifteen years by this worthy trust.
Without announcement, the opening item, Salvation Song (William Gordon), comfortably conducted by Bandmaster Corry, allowed the Enfield Citadel Band to introduce themselves and set the scene. By immediately following such a sparkling offering, the Staines Songsters maintained the impetus with a fine rendition of How Excellent Is Thy Name, followed by a very thought-provoking arrangement of Someone Cares, allowing a shift in mood to include prayer.
It was at this point that the compère for the evening, Cathy Le Feuvre, was introduced. Her enlightening and succinct comments certainly aided the flow of the evening and, with an enjoyable amount of humor, engaged the audience fully.
In sharing Covenant Worship (Leonard Ballantine) and Canadian Folk Song Suite (Morley Calvert), the Enfield Citadel Band clearly demonstrated the breadth of its style and sensitive music-making. As ever, the Staines Songsters seemed to “rise to the occasion”, embracing the meaning of this unique annual event. The Songsters’ contributions of Sitting in Limbo and Create a Rhythm personified the hard work they always put in to support this concert.
The compére introduced the special guest soloist for the evening, 14-year-old Isobel Daws from Hendon. Her relaxed, yet confident, performance throughout the evening showed her undoubted talent. The quality of her playing is something that we can all look forward to for many years to come. Her first contribution, Fantasy for Trombone on Spirituals (Ray Steadman-Allen) was exciting to listen to, with a mature display of technique and musicianship.
At this point, Staines Deputy Bandmaster Charley Brighton presented a series of surplus and refurbished instruments to the Kenya Trust. This continued the support that the Trust’s Secretary, Wes Maughan, has fostered for many years. The Enfield Citadel Band’s response, with the cornet trio The Victors (Bruce Broughton) played by Maurice Patterson, Andrew Lofthouse and Paul Williams, ensured an upbeat end to the first half of the concert. With the band once again displaying the extent of its repertoire, the appeal for contributions to the audience was sensitively accompanied by Leslie Condon’s beautiful arrangement of I Can Think of Him (Joy Webb), leaving the listeners with the feeling of wanting to “site back, relax and take it all in.”
A buzz of excitement during the interval anticipated the second half of the festival. Bandmaster Corry’s humorous Irish banter was the ideal prelude to the band entertaining the audience with a “night at the cinema” with some well-chosen film music.
Isobel Daws followed with her final contribution of the evening, Ray Steadman-Allen’s arrangement of Alexandre Guilmant’s Concert Piece (Morceau Symphonique) for Trombone, Op. 88, one of the standards of trombone concert repertoire. The Staines Songsters delighted the listeners with their contrasting offerings of How Sweet the Sound, Jesus Came with Peace to Me and Higher and Higher, leading to the band’s final programmed item of the concert. A scintillating performance of three movements from Cry of the Celts (Peter Graham) brought sustained applause which was only interrupted when the band launched their traditional concert closer, the march The Red Shield.
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