For the 66th consecutive year, the [bclink id=”962″ target=”_blank”] (Bandmaster Jonathan Corry) presented a Pre-Contest Festival on 19 October 2012, at St. John’s, Smith Square, London. A great success again this year, the featured soloist was euphonium virtuoso David Childs, with Paul Hindmarsh serving as the compère. General Shaw Clifton (R) gave the Bible message. The program also included a tribute to the band’s late Executive Officer, Lt.-Colonel Lincoln Parkhouse.
The concert began in grand style with the festival march Faith Is the Victory (James Curnow), which was followed by the contrasting Consecration Hymn (Ray Steadman-Allen), associated with the well-known lyrics “Take my life and let it be”.
Wilfred Heaton is regarded as one of the greatest of Salvationists composers, and the next item was one of his works which was “lost” for some time. Realized by Paul Hindmarsh, The Golden Pen is a fantasia containing many “Heaton moments”.
David Childs has, since his groundbreaking award as BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2000, when he became the first euphonium player to be so honored, become a champion of the euphonium as a serious solo instrument within the classical music sphere. His first solo of this evening was his own arrangment of Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms (Simone Mantia).
The concert continued in more contemplative mood with Kenneth Downie’s meditation In Perfect Peace, after which Childs returned for his second selection, Lament from “Stabat Mater” (arr. Andrew Wainwright and Robert Childs). The first half of the program ended with an extended work, Kevin Norbury’s Partita on “St. Theodulph”.
The second half started with A Fanfare of Praise (Robert Redhead) and Full Bloom, a march written by Martyn Thomas which was receiving its premiere performance. The next item was also a premiere, as Childs returned for another solo, On Winter Hill (Dan Price).
Following an energetic rendition of Dance Before the Lord (Peter Graham), Childs again took the stage for his final programmed solo, a classic of Salvation Army solo literature, Erik Leidzén’s Song of the Brother. In a special appearance, this was conducted by Bandmaster James Williams MBE, former long-time bandmaster at Enfield Citadel. As an encore, Childs presented the novelty solo The Hot Canary, the the great delight of the audience.
A Scripture reading and lesson from retired General Shaw Clifton was followed by the selection Wonderful Healer (Dean Goffin). The program ended with Peter Graham’s Shine as the Light, a seminal work of the modern brass band repertoire. The band sent the audience home with its signature encore, The Red Shield.
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