Cardiff Canton Concert at Bethany Baptist

The band and singing company of the Cardiff Canton Corps performed a concert at Bethany Baptist Church on 13 November 2010. Carl Saunders is the Bandmaster and Stephanie Bailey leads the Singing Company.

From the opening item, To a God Like This, with the band in fanfare formation, the varied program unfolded that not only set the scene for the following day’s participation in the National Service of Remembrance in Cardiff but also gave out the message of the cross.

My Father’s World prepared the way for the opening prayer. Then Barry Price (flügelhorn) opened the more upbeat Vitae Lux, an item new to many listeners. The second soloist of the evening, Jonathan Hayes, performed Rhapsody for Cornet and Band. His fine tone and sound interpretation left the impression that this young man is definitely an underrated player.

The small but very strong Singing Company displayed virtuosity in performance that left the listeners in no doubt as to the message. They sang a mixture of contemporary and contemplative songs, one outstanding example being The Father’s Song.

Mike Saunders has long been a tenor horn soloist of stature in the area and he produced a performance of A Welsh Rhapsody which thrilled the audience. This was followed by the band’s offering of an arrangement of the song I’ll Walk with God, associated with the singer Mario Lanza. This song seems to work well when arranged for brass band and the band played it with much control and feeling, making it the musical highlight of the concert for many listeners.

Sirocco, with its three very different movements brought the first half to a scintillating climax, the middle section using a flügelhorn and Eb bass duet which was certainly unusual.

The second half started with an up-tempo item, Daniel which featured a drum break of well-controlled playing by Craig Maunder. The Singing Company brought a second set of songs, leaving the audience spellbound with song and movement.

The final soloist of the evening, Mel Beynon (euphonium) brought the powerful modern hymn In Christ Alone. The recently published march Camp Happyland was used as a salute to the late James Anderson, who had recently passed away.

The Power of the Cross is a powerful arrangement of the song and on its first outing one very young voice was heard to say, “Wow!” The performance of the piece has not lost its “wow factor“ after several airings and made an impact on the audience, leading into a short period of reflection. The band then played I Vow to Thee My Country as it set the scene for the following day’s ministry of remembrance.

The modern arrangement of “Onward, Christian Soldiers” entitled Onward brought the concert to a close, but not before the old traditional march Soldiers of Christ brought the concert to a fitting end.

Report submitted by Colin Thomas