Birmingham Citadel Proms Night

On Saturday, 28 January 2012, Birmingham Citadel was “packed to the rafters” once more for the annual Proms Night by the Birmingham Citadel Band (Bandmaster Gavin Lamplough). The large, expectant audience was treated to all of the typical Proms music in the second half and, as has become tradition, the band had a theme for the first half of the program. This year’s theme was “Pop Music” and the band certainly seemed at home playing this unfamiliar repertoire for a Salvation Army band.

The evening began with Leigh Baker’s arrangement of the Lionel Ritchie song All Night Long. As the curtain opened, it revealed the band in an unconventional formation playing unconventional instruments. The euphoniums and baritones found themselves playing American marching baritones and the horns played mellophoniums. The trombones joined in the fun by playing bright red plastic instruments known as “P-Bones” and the solo cornets played trumpets – it was quite a sound!

Bandmaster Lamplough then took the audience on a journey through the last half of the twentieth century, spanning six decades beginning in the 1950s. Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, the Beatles and Tom Jones were all heard. The band moved into the 1970s with ABBA and the Jacksons. Queen and Elton John were among the artists representing the 1980s. The music of Bryan Adams, among others, represented the 1990s.

Adams’ song Everything I Do, which topped the charts for 14 weeks in the 1990s, proved to be an unexpected spiritual moment amid the light-hearted repertoire. Andrew Blyth, Assistant Territorial Music Director, who was the compère for the evening, prepared the audience by way of a Bible message to consider while the band accompanied vocalist Sue Blyth. To accompany the music, powerful images of the Crucifixion appeared on the screen, which seemed to marry perfectly with the words “Everything I do, I do it for you.”

A “Pop Medley” ended the first half, including music from the last 65 years – everything from Bill Haley to the Spice Girls.

The second half had a more traditional “Proms” feel. The band donned tuxedos and evening attire. The audience certainly entered into the spirit of things, waving flags and singing with great gusto. Many classic British anthems were offered, with items from the finest British composers including Edward Elgar, Gustav Holst and Sir Henry Wood. It was a fabulous night and the Birmingham Citadel Band were left in no doubt that the audience wanted to see a repeat in 2013.

Birmingham Citadel Band web site