Annual Rhapsody in Brass Festival in Stockholm

The annual Rhapsody in Brass festival, organized by the Stockholm South Citadel Band of the Salvation Army, was held on 2 February 2008 at the historic Royal Swedish Academy of Music. The guest band for this event was the Norwegian Territorial Band (Frelsesameens Territoriale Hornorkester or FTH), composed primarily of Salvationist musicians from Olso and surrounding areas, under the direction of Bandmaster John Philip Hannevik.

As usual, the annual festival was held at the impressive and historic Royal Swedish Academy of Music (where Erik Leidzén once studied music). Despite a severe snowstorm in the afternoon, a good crowd attended the festival and waited in anticipation for the two bands to begin. They were not disappointed as both groups thrilled the audience with their high levels of musical excellence.

The festival commenced with two young percussionists from the Stockholm South Citadel YP (Youth) Band playing an especially composed Rhapsody in Brass Salute on marching drums. The future of the Stockholm South Citadel Band percussion section seems to be well secured. The Stockholm group, under the direction of Bandmaster Lars-Otto Ljungholm, presented the first part of the progam, playing Gaudete (Kevin Norbury), Él es el Señor (Dean Jones), None Other Name (Erik Leidzén) and finished this section with the Emil Söderström march Minneapolis IV.

The program continued as the Norweigan band took the stage, commencing their part of the program with The Champions (G. H. Wilcox). Continuing through their program, FTH showed a high level of musicianship, with excellent technique and tonal quality, that was greatly appreciated by the audience. Pieces included Prelude and Capriccio for Cornet and Band (E. Gregson), with Espen Ödegaard as the cornet soloist; Nearer My God to Thee arranged by FTH bandsman Morgan Juel Stavik; a soprano cornet solo, Praise the Name of Jesus (arr. Simon Kerwin), played by Andrew Lofthouse (Lofthouse, who is from the United Kingdom, is curently studying in Oslo); and Robert Redhead’s challenging major work Quintessence.

In addition to their fine brass playing, FTH was joined by a young Norwegian singer, Mads Belden, who sang two songs accompanied by FTH, showing a vocal capability which delighted the audience.

After the stage was rearranged to accomodate the massed bands, they joined together for the conclusion of the festival, which included Concertante for Cornets and Band (Stephen Bulla), Vitae Lux (Torstein Agaard-Nilsen) and a swing number, Do You Remember (Eilav Herikstad), incorporating three well-known Scandinavian hymns. Responding to the enthusiastic applause from the highly appreciative audience, the bands finshed with the march Amsterdam Congress (Charles Skinner) and a meditative piece entitled Sleep, originally a vocal work by Eric Whitacre, arranged for band by FTH Bandmaster Hannevik.

Stockholm South Citadel Band, submitted by Malcolm Kendrick

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