Proms Night in Birmingham

Originally scheduled for Saturday, 19 January 2013, the annual “Proms Night” at Birmingham Citadel was, for the first time in its history, postponed because of snow. So it was with a hint of nervousness that the Birmingham Citadel Band (Bandmaster Gavin Lamplough) arrived at the Citadel two weeks later (2 February 2013) to see just how many would come to the rearranged concert. The band was not disappointed as the hall was filled to capacity.

As soon as John Williams’ Olympic Fanfare and Theme began the audience knew that they were in for a treat. The fanfare echoed through the appreciative audience, introducing the theme for the evening, “What’s the Score?” Roy Richley ably compèred the program, leading with humor and an insight into each of the band’s offerings.

Euphonium soloist David Taylor galloped away with Blaydon Races (arr. Gordon Langford). A slightly leaner Pavarotti, in the form of Mark Sharman, took the audience back to the World Cup of Italia 90 with a rendition of Nessun Dorma.

The next soloist was Delyth Taylor, recently married to David, making her debut at the Proms Night as a clarinet soloist. This was the first time at a Birmingham Citadel Proms evening that an instrumental guest soloist had been featured. Her exquisite playing of Victorian Kitchen Garden (Paul Reade) delighted the audience, with the performance enhanced by the sensitive piano accompaniment provided by James Ellis. Delyth’s musicality was highlighted in her interpretations of So Glad (originally written for flügelhorn), which was accompanied by the band.

The sporting theme of the first half came to an end with Bandmaster Lamplough’s arrangement Sports Medley. Children appeared at the changes of tunes during the piece, dressed as sport and Olympic heroes.

The second half brought the traditional Proms style that the audience has come to expect, with the band in typical brilliant form. During Fantasia on British Sea Songs, the band tried to outpace the audience during the Hornpipe. Pomp and Circumstance and Rule Britannia followed. Stephanie Lamplough sang gloriously as the audience joined in, waving their flags.

The 2013 Proms Night came to an end with the march Under Two Flags (Bramwell Coles).

Birmingham Citadel Band web site, original report by Gaynor Sharman