Birmingham Citadel at Coton Green

Almost twelve months to the day from their last visit, the Birmingham Citadel Band (Bandmaster Graham Lamplough) returned to Tamworth to play at Coton Green Church. They were delighted to return to this modern and purpose-built Evangelical Church in their 2010 season. The concert took place on 13 October.

The band opened the festival with a march which will be featured on their new recording. Motondo (Donald Osgood) was written in tribute to African Salvationists, using the melody “Travel Along in the Sunshine”. The band followed this with Kenneth Downie’s Stars of the Morning. This beautiful music, with its strong “Downie fingerprint,” was received in much the same way as most of his devotional music – absolute silence as the audience reflected on the message they had just heard.

After some introductions, the band played the major work of the evening, Steven Ponsford’s Kerygma, a work that has become a favorite among bands. It was evident from the audience reaction that they too enjoyed this music.

The trombones were featured in the ever-popular I Will Follow Him (arr. Goff Richards) before Deputy Bandmaster Mark Sharman took the baton to lead the band in Andrew Blyth’s arrangement of a song made famous by Sandi Patti, Shine Down.

After Band Sergeant Ian Kershaw shared some thoughts on God’s provision, the band gave a beautiful reading of His Provision (Ivor Bosanko). From the rubato playing of the euphonium and horn opening statements to the florid central solos for cornet (Gavin Lamplough) and euphonium (David Taylor), the band’s performance was expressive and echanting, while always maintaining a beautiful sound.

The band ended the first half with Leonard Ballantine’s Great Lakes Mission, featuring the melody “He Is the Lord and He Reigns on High”.

Following the interval the band played Paul Sharman’s Power of the Cross before the fun started in the comic item The Bare Necessities (L. Baker). Tuba soloist Edward Dixon played both musical and comedic roles perfectly as always, but the band seems to find new tricks to bring to this piece every time it is featured. As the basses rose to play their “feature”, with the back row cornets playing percussion instruments and Gavin Lamplough the cornet solo, soprano cornetist Daniel Robson seized the opportunity, in the absence of the bandmaster who was “consoling” the tuba soloist, to take up the baton! He must have enjoyed the experience, as he refused to step aside for the bandmaster to “retake the reigns” for the rest of the piece, causing much hilarity for the band and audience alike!

Bandmaster Lamplough always brings something different to Birmingham Citadel Band programs and, following on from “Music from the Movies” in recent concerts, his latest theme is “A Journey through the Seasons”. The band featured music from the seasons of both the Christian and secular calendars. Starting with Christmas, the band played Kenneth Downie’s arrangement of In the Bleak Mid-Winter. They then turned to Spring with The Children’s Song (Robert Schramm), featuring the alternative melody to “All Things Bright and Beautiful”. This was followed by the final soloist for the evening, principal euphonium David Taylor, who demonstrated a beautiful, light upper-register sound soaring around the church in Summertime (Alan Fernie). The band changed the mood with the march Harvest Celebration (Noel Jones) and completed the calendar with Autumn Leaves (E. Banks), returning to Christmas with Three Kings Swing (William Himes).

As Bandmaster Lamplough thanked the audience for the way in which they had welcomed the band and responded to its ministry, the members of the band surrounded the audience to play Stephen Bradnum’s Irish Blessing. As they played to the audience and looked into each other’s faces, it became clear what a powerful evening they had shared.

Birmingham Citadel Band web site

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