"Exaltate Jubilate" in Colchester

A weekend of superb music to the glory of God began on 17 September 2011 with an evening of music at Lion Walk United Reformed Church in Colchester. The featured performers were Dudley Bright, professor of trombone at the Royal Academy of Music in London and principal trombone of the London Symphony Orchestra; Dr. Stan Ford, professor of piano at the Mozarteum University, Salzburg, Austria; and the thrilling Enfield Citadel Band (Bandmaster Jonathan Corry).

Many members of the audience were attending their first Salvation Army event, while others were non-churchgoers. The program featured a feast of high-quality brass music from the band. The church minister, Reverend Ken Forbes, offered prayer and welcome.

Trombonist Dudley Bright presented his own composition for trombone and brass band, Life’s Command. This rarely heard composition was most interesting, moving though a number of musical genres and, of course, brilliantly played, realizing Bright’s testimony through the chorus “O I love Him, since for me He bled and died”. It was a great honor to host this gifted musician in Colchester. In 2003, Bright was made an Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music (Hon RAM), an honor which is held by only 300 living musicians. His wide and varied life has afforded him the opportunity to play on many film scores and meet with composers such as John Williams.

During the first half of the program, international guest soloist Stan Ford received rapturous applause for his performance of Ray Steadman-Allen’s fantasia for piano and band – Christ Is the Answer. Ford’s interpretation brought a more romantic feel than the original by slowing tempi and reinforcing sections to give, at times, a big sound balancing the full force of the band while at other times his delicate playing was juxtaposed with beautiful solo euphonium.

Professor Ford balances a very busy teaching schedule with solo and chamber music concerts throughout Europe, North and South America and parts of Asia. He has also become well known in Austria and the United States through numerous public television appearances, radio broadcasts and publications, as well as performing a famous cultural and music festivals, including the Bregenz and Salzburg festivals. This was his first-ever performance at a Salvation Army event. Following the fantasia, the audience’s reception demanded an encore and Ford delighted with a virtuoso improvisation on the hymn “Glorify Your Name”.

In the second half of the program, the two soloists joined together to perform a beautiful reflective solo by Ray Steadman-Allen, Walk with Me. Each guest attracted a personal following, for example, Ford brought the proprietor of the guesthouse where he was staying, among others. The audience was presented with a very clear Christian message throughout the evening in spoken word and music, by both soloists and Lt.-Colonel Lincoln Parkhouse, Enfield Citadel Band’s executive officer.

The band works exceedingly well with their now-established conductor, Jonathan Corry. Because it was the beginning of the season and with significant chunks of valuable rehearsal time in the preceding week spent rehearsing with the guest soloists, Corry made the wise decision to stay with mainly well-trodden works. The first major work of the evening was Leslie Condon’s timeless The Call of the Righteous, featured on the band’s recent recording, Connections.

A surprise item in the first half was the sound picture Nativity (Philip Wilby), skillfully using the unusual sounds possible with a brass band to represent the birth of Christ. The piece was a surprise because both the audience and the band expected it to be a part of the second half. It was quite amusing to see the confusion as Lt.-Col. Parkhouse introduced the number as the musicians and conductor scrambled to find the music. By the time the introduction was over, the band was ready and appeared totally unfazed. A Psalm of Praise (James Curnow) was an appropriate end to the first half of a program entitled “Exaltate Jubilate” as a celebration of musical performance to the glory of God.

For many, one of the highlights of the evening was the superbly sensitive rendition of Wilfred Heaton’s meditation Just As I Am. This was followed by Renaissance (Peter Graham) and, for the many in the audience new to Enfield Citadel concerts, the revelation of the band’s spectacular version of The Red Shield.

On Sunday, Stan Ford delighted the congregation with his playing both in congregational accompaniment and presenting solo items with a particular deep personal meaning such as More Than Wonderful. Ford did much for the Austrian tourist industry as he testified and told the congregation about the English-speaking church in Salzburg (Salzburg International Christian Church) where he serves as the church president as well as taking turns with other talented musicians in providing music.

Members of the senior and young people’s bands participated in both worship meetings while the Corps officers, Majors David and Margaret House, took turns delivering the sermons. A woman and her daughter who had met Ford when he came to practice in the hall attended their first Sunday meeting in addition to attending the Saturday concert, drawn by the pianist.

Original report submitted by Adrian Lyons