The Birmingham Citadel Band (Bandmaster Gavin Lamplough) held an inaugural Open Rehearsal on Wednesday, 9 November 2011. Judging from the response, it will not be long before this initiative is repeated.
When Bandmaster Lamplough took the baton, one of his first ideas was to hold an Open Rehearsal and to invite anyone who has been connected with Birmingham Citadel Band or any Salvation Army band in the past and who lives local to Birmingham. So, for a number of weeks prior to the rehearsal, a list of former Salvation Army band members was compiled and each person for which the band had contact information was invited. Over 100 persons were contacted, and the band received some very positive feedback about this process.
When the baton dropped at the beginning of the rehearsal, the results of the invitation campaign were evident, with about 50 guests present to participate. This gave each of them an opportunity to play Salvation Army music again, to meet old friends, and, for some, to come back into a Salvation Army hall for the first time in many years.
Bandmaster Lamplough chose to warm up the group with a hymn tune and then spent time on Praise, The Kingdom Triumphant, Sweetest Name, Shine As the Light and The Light of the World. Before playing the latter, he tried to explain the connection between the music and and the player by describing how one has to feel the emotion and meaning of the music in order to completely do the piece justice.
An invitation was given to all those present to return on Sunday night and join with the band during the meeting to play some of the music that was rehearsed. Many did sign up to come back on Sunday.
The band believes that this first Open Rehearsal was a phenomenal success in many ways, not least in persuading so many ex-Salvationist musicians to come back once again to play inside a Salvation Army hall. It is planned that there be more of these adventures in the upcoming year.
Birmingham Citadel Band web site, original report by Robert O’Connor