The Adrian Boult Hall at Birmingham Conservatoire was the setting for the West Midlands Divisional Musician’s Councils. On 6 February 2011, the Birmingham Citadel Band (Bandmaster Graham Lamplough) were invited to be the “duty band” for the afternoon session.
The band presented a selection of music including Kerygma (Steven Ponsford), Songs of the Morning (Eric Ball) and Trailblazers (Andrew Mackereth). In addition, Dr. Stephen Cobb, bandmaster of the International Staff Band, conducted Peter Graham’s march, The Ambassadors.
The centerpiece of the band’s involvement in the Councils was a presentation on using secular music with multimedia. Bandmaster Lamplough told the capacity audience that using multimedia was nothing new; Birmingham Citadel Band has been using it enhance their performances for more than ten years, and more bands are opting to use this valuable resource. Those gathered were reminded that it must not become the focal point of performance, but neither must it be used in a meaningless way “just for the sake of it.”
During the demonstration, the Birmingham Citadel Band presented four secular pieces, well-known to the audience. Starting with Somewhere Over the Rainbow from “The Wizard of Oz”, the band moved on to I Will Follow Him from “Sister Act”, the theme from the film “The Crimson Tide” and You’ll Never Walk Alone from “Carousel”. Supporting these four items, the multimedia presentation of images, movies, lyrics and Scripture verses helped convey the band’s message.
From the opening bars of Somewhere Over the Rainbow, played as a tenor horn solo by Neil Blessett, his warm sound filled the room. The event was a “homecoming” for Blessett, who spent four years at Birmingham Conservatoire as a student in the mid-1990s. The trombone section gave a dramatic reading of I Will Follow Him before the haunting final statement of The Crimson Tide created a hush around the auditorium. The final moments of this piece refer to the hymn “Eternal Father, Strong to Save”, and this niente ending was blended into the first bars of You’ll Never Walk Alone. After the powerful final chord the audience showed their appreciation through prolonged applause.
This was also a memorable occasion for two African Salvationists, who were invited to share in the experience of this day as part of an extended tour of Salvation Army banding in the United Kingdom. Surely, one of the highlights of their trip will be the cornet duet that one of them played with Dr. Stephen Cobb.
Birmingham Citadel Band web site