To the accompaniment of what sounded like a great fireworks show in Rushden, the Birmingham Citadel Band (Bandmaster Gavin Lamplough) provided an evening of their own brand of fireworks on 5 November 2011.
The band started off with Andrew Mackereth’s Eine Feste Burg and neatly headed into He Can Break Every Fetter, which included a particularly fine sound from the trombone section. The audience settled down to an evening of fine music.
The audience was then treated to an old Salvation Army classic, Victory for Me (Wilfred Heaton). This was followed by the first soloist of the evening, Neil Blessett (tenor horn), who played Demelza (Hugh Nash). Blessett’s full mellow sound resonated around the hall, never being overpowered by the accompaniment of the band.
Deputy Bandmaster Mark Sharman was the next soloist to step up, for a change of style with the lively This I Know (Terry Camsey).
The beautiful For Our Transgressions by Morley Calvert was received by the listening audience in a reverent mood as the piece was sensitively played by the band.
The band’s major work of the evening was Vitae Aeternum (Paul Lovatt-Cooper). Each section played their part, but special mention is made of the percussion section, Tim Farmer and Rob Haywood. Not many Salvation Army bands are fortunate enough to have two professional percussionists, and these two gentlemen provided many highlights of the evening.
The second half of the program began with Ask! (Peter Graham). From one dance style to another, Deputy Bandmaster Sharman took up the baton to lead the band in the bolero I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.
The next soloist was the band’s principal euphonium, David Taylor, who gave a stunning rendition of Brillante (Peter Graham), proving that he is a real talent on the euphonium.
From the sublime to the ridiculous, the band “let its hair down” while trying to ruin tuba soloist Edward Dixon’s rendition of The Bare Necessities. Even the bandmaster got in on the act, leaving the stage and returning with some fine jazz trumpet playing. The percussion section then showed their versatility again, helping drive along Shine Down (Andrew Blyth), with Tim Farmer doing a particularly fine job on the xylophone solo in the middle of the piece.
The mood was yet again sensitively changed with a beautiful rendition of Kenneth Downie’s arrangement of Jesus Answers Prayer. The band’s last item of the evening was Joyous Celebration (James Curnow), a rarely heard work these days. Again, every section of the band played their part extremely well.
The audience was sent away with a classic march by George Marshall, The Liberator, ringing in their ears after a fantastic evening of great music.
Birmingham Citadel Band web site, original report by Vicki Blessett