Birmingham Citadel Band (Bandmaster Gavin Lamplough) were once again pleased to perform in the foyer of Birmingham Symphony Hall before the commencement of the British Open brass band contest on 10 September 2016. As usual, it was an early start for the band, but with people starting to gather early, the band all arrived and set up, ready to provide pre-contest music for those in attendance.
The band’s program started with a new item to the band, Intrada: Bless the Lord (Phil Rayment). This lively opener was followed by the cornet solo Share My Yoke (Joy Webb, arr. Ivor Bosanko) performed beautifully by the band’s principal cornet, Nicola Redhead. The words of this song talk about how God is with us and is able to support and carry us through difficult times. The chorus reads:
Share my yoke and you will find that I am joined with you.
Your slightest movement I shall feel and be there too!
Share my yoke and come the way that I must go!
In our “togetherness” my peace you’ll know;
The world beholding us will see it so!
– Joy Webb
The next item on the program was Jubilo, Jubilo (Martin Cordner). This item has proved to be very popular with audiences in previous performances (although less so with members of the band!), showing a lighter side to the band. Another switch in mood followed, as principal horn Neil Blessett brought the solo A Time for Peace (Peter Graham). The melody of this solo was taken from Graham’s major work The Essence of Time, and Blessett once again showed his musicianship and beautiful tone while performing this lovely tune.
Escape Velocity, another work by Martin Cordner, was the next item on the band’s program. This was a “first outing” of this piece for the band. Another solo item followed as principal euphonium David Taylor performed Troika? Tidy! (Karl Jenkins). This piece is a technical challenge for both soloist and accompanying band, and both rose to the challenge, with Taylor particularly impressing the listening audience with his technical prowess and ability.
Once the buzz from Taylor’s solo settled down, the band went straight into Hold That Fort by Sam Creamer. Creamer is an Australian Salvationist who is quickly gaining a reputation for writing brass band music in styles that might not be the norm for a brass band. This piece is no exception and his “funk” interpretation of an old Army tune is an excellent example of his work.
As is often the case with the band’s programs, another change in mood followed with the performance of Prelude on “Lavenham” (Geoffrey Nobes). This is a beautiful arrangement that has become a favorite of the band, with some powerful words connected to the tune. The last verse reads:
Lord, there are times when the questions run fast –
Times when I fear my faith may not last.
Help me, support me, Lord, help me get through.
Lead me through darkness till light shines anew.
– Nick Fawcett
As the band neared the end of their performance, the next item was the magnificent tone poem The Triumph of Peace (Eric Ball). This is a well-known piece by a composer known throughout the brass band world. It features the composer’s own tune, “Peace in our time, O Lord”, with words by John Oxenham. Although the wrk was composed in 1939, the lyrics of the final verse are just as relevant today:
Peace in our time, O Lord,
To all the peoples – peace!
Peace that shall build a glad new world
And make for life’s increase.
O living Christ, who still
Dost all our burdens share,
Come now and dwell within the hearts
Of all men everywhere.
– John Oxenham
An Army tradition is to finish a concert with a march, and the Birmingham Citadel Band did not disappoint as they gave a rendition of The Witness (William Himes), after which the members were able to meet with friends old and new before the start of the British Open. This event is an excellent ministry opportunity for the band, which is not taken lightly, and the band hopes that it was able to both bless and entertain those in attendance that morning in equal measure.
Birmingham Citadel Band web site