The annual “Expressions” concert at Regent Hall is now in its 10th year. The brainchild of Bandmaster Steve Hanover, “Expressions: Creativity in Concert” is held on the Thursday night preceding the Championship Section of the National Brass Band Championships (this year, 13 October 2011) with an audience comprising Salvationists, lapsed churchgoers and non-churchgoers.
In his introductory remarks, the compère, Songster Leader John Martin, commented that despite the austere economic climate, there had been no stinting on the three soloists for the evening: Ann Stewart (vocal, Regent Hall), Christopher Deacon (principal trumpet, Royal Ballet Sinfonia and Regent Hall) and Brett Baker (principal trombone, Black Dyke Band). He was proved right; all three soloists are of the highest caliber.
In contrast to Deacon’s opening solo, Glory to His Name, which demonstrated his dexterity and showed why he holds the position of co-principal at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Stewart gave a “bluesy” interpretation of Let There Be Love and What a Wonderful World. Baker’s first trombone solo was The Eternal Quest, a beautifully played rendition of enduring music by one of the Salvation Army’s finest composers, Ray Steadman-Allen. Later in the evening, Baker played Someone Cares and Stewart sang her own brand of easy-to-listen-to vocal items, delivered in a style not unlike a young Ella Fitzgerald.
There were many highlights throughout an evening where jazz, pop, classical and Salvation Army music were all featured on the same program. Special mention must be made of the versatility of both of Regent Hall’s featured music sections. The Songster Brigade’s contributions included an exuberant presentation of Sing to the Lord (Richard Phillips) and its exquisite unaccompanied singing of Stephen Bulla’s classic When We Cannot See Our Way. The Regent Hall Band’s adaptability ranged from its accompaniment to Deacon’s rendition of the second and third movements of Hummel’s Trumpet Concerto to its ever-popular presentation of Daniel (on this occasion, the percussionists, Chris House and Glen Little were reluctant to relinquish their solo ad lib session, to the bemusement of band and bandmaster and the enjoyment of the audience).
As always, Major Ray Brown, with his well-chosen words, added to the content of the evening, as he spoke of the privilege we have of saying “thank you” to God for what He has given us.
Regent Hall Band’s final major work was Leslie Condon’s masterpiece Easter Glory. This was complemented by a multi-media presentation, depicting the Easter story from the horror of the crucifixion to the glory of the Resurrection.
Regent Hall Band web site, original report by Jan Ambrose