Blazing Brass VI at Mountain Citadel

(Original report by Stan Ewing)

The Mountain Citadel Band (Hamilton, Ontario) held its sixth annual “Blazing Brass” concert on 10 February 2007. Special guests for the evening were the Peterborough Temple Band (Bandmaster Ron Reid) and cornet soloist Derek Lance of the New York Staff Band.

The Mountain Citadel Band (Bandmaster Phil Rayment) got the concert off to a fine start with William Gordon's march The Great Revival. Following words of welcome from Bandmaster Rayment, the Peterborough Temple Band presented the march Motivation (William Himes), which was enthusiastically received by the large crowd in attendance.

A graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Derek Lance is quickly making a name for himself as an outstanding soloist. His first contribution to the evening was a new trumpet solo from the pen of Harold Burgmayer entitled Intrada on “A Song of Praise”, featuring the the well-known song by Leslie Condon. Lance immediately followed this up with a contrasting piece by Norman Bearcroft, The Call of Christ. Originally written for soloist Arthur Dean when the composer was the Canadian Staff Bandmaster, it was good to hear this music again, so sensitively played on this occasion by Lance.

The Mountain Citadel Band then featured a new piece from the pen of Canadian composer Lorne Barry, featuring the hymn tune “Coronation”, to which we use the words of the Edward Perronet hymn “All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name”. The tune is given an exciting treatment, using interesting cross rhythms. The piece was written especially for the Mountain Citadel Band, and indeed this was a première performance that the band can be proud of.

Bandmaster Reid then led the Peterborough Temple Band in an arrangement of The Lord's Prayer. It could be said that this version, arranged by Barrie Gott, was taken from the “grooveyard of forgotten favourites.” It was the hit single made populat in the 1970s by Sister Janet Mead, and the crowd enjoyed hearing it again (at least those old enough to remember!). The Mountain Citadel Band kept the contemporary feel going with a big-band style arrangement of Love Lifted Me written by Vancouver Salvationist David Mills. This performance featured the band's young kit drummer, Josh Downer.

Derek Lance then presented his major solo of the evening, Ray Steadman-Allen's Rhapsody on Negro Spirituals. It would be fair to say that 30 or 40 years ago, this solo was a must in the aspiring soloist's repertoire, and it still presents a challenge by today's standards.

Next, it was announced that the Peterborough Temple Band would play Ralph Vaughan-Williams' Prelude on Three Welsh Hymn Tunes. However, a commotion in the audience revealed itself to be a “surprise guest” carrying a musical saw. In a moment of light relief, three Welsh hymn tunes turned into “All Through the Night” for muscial saw with brass band accompaniment.

Preceding the Mountain Citadel Band's major contribution of the evening, The Kingdom Triumphant (Eric Ball), Derek Lance played a poignant and powerful arrangement of the Gowans and Larsson song Love Cannot Fail (arr. Michael Babb).

Following an intermission, the bands presented massed items both old and new. From the old repertoire, the bands selected Dovercourt Citadel (Percy Merritt) and Great and Glorious (George Marshall). From the newer repertoire came Fanfare of Praise (Robert Redhead) and Peter Grahams lovely arrangement of the Maori tune Hine e Hine. The evening concluded with Procession to Covenant (William Himes), which elicited a standing ovation from the appreciative crowd.

Throughout the evening, musical performances were effectively enhanced by multimedia presentations. Bandmaster Rayment and his workers are to be commended for promoting such a concert, the proceeds of which were donated to the worthwhile cause of financially assisting young people to attend Music Camps in the upcoming summer season.

Submitted by Nathan Downer

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