Remembrance concert – Old Meeting URC (9th November 2013)

On Saturday 9th November, the band performed its 18th consecutive Remembrance concert at The Old Meeting United Reformed Church, Bedworth. The band was conducted by their musical director, Mark Allen, who also acted as compere, in his own inimitable style.

The concert commenced with Eric Ball’s Salvation Army March Star Lake, which has a bouncy rhythm and catchy melodies making it a pleasing start to the programme. The band’s lively and accurate performance of the march received much applause from an appreciative audience.

Mozart’s overture The Abduction from the Seraglio followed: this overture is one of the lesser known of Mozart’s overtures and requires a lightness of touch and accuracy which the band achieved.

There next followed a vocal solo by Liz West. For her first item she selected Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again. Both Liz and the band gave a most enjoyable performance of this well-known tune.

The first instrumental solo of the evening followed when the band’s solo horn player Paul Bennett gave an absolutely breath-taking rendition of J.J.Quantz’s Baroque Concerto for flute as arranged for brass band by our own M.D., Mark Allen. The complexity of this item and the technique required was rewarded with a double ovation.

Then followed a requested item, Keep Smiling Through, an arrangement by D. Barry of wartime songs. Each one was vigorously sung by the audience.

The second instrumental solo of the evening followed featuring the band’s solo euphonium player Neil Kelsall. Neil chose the beautiful Lament from Stabat Mater by Karl Jenkins. This is a truly moving piece, beautifully played by both Neil and the band, and once again the soloist received a double ovation.

As her final item in the first half, Liz sang Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Think of Me. This well-known tune was well received by the audience. Liz and the band caught just the right interpretation of this flowing melody.

The first half concluded with the Salvationist Barrie Gott’s big band item Light Walk. This is a dynamic piece, an original composition for brass bands which is brilliantly scored to allow an exciting and powerful performance. The band certainly met this with all of the sections rising to the occasion, including an excellent solo by Judith Hayes on flugel horn.

During a well-earned interval, tea and coffee were served in the large assembly room.

The second half commenced with Malcolm Arnold’s march, Bridge on the River Kwai. The audience joined the band by whistling the opening theme of the march. This proved to be a favourite item of the audience and was much appreciated.

For her final item, Liz West sang C M Schonberg’s I Dreamed a Dream. Once again Liz delighted the audience with a fine rendition of this popular song.

Then followed four items from the Last Night of the Proms, Jerusalem, Fantasia on British Sea Songs, Rule Britannia (led by Liz West), and Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1. All these items were accompanied by much flag-waving and singing by the audience.

The final two items are exclusive to this concert, Nightfall in Camp, featuring the Last Post, followed by the hymn tune St. Clement. Both of these items feature the British Legion standard bearers who lower their standards during the playing of the Last Post.

The concert concluded with the playing and singing of the National Anthem.

Everyone agreed this was a wonderful concert with the band and soloists giving outstanding performances.

Keith Fisher.

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