'A Shot of Spaghetti' Concert, Central Hall Methodist Church, Friday 25th January 2019

Conductor - Craig Williams

The early ravages of Winter were beginning to take hold as The Staffordshire Band took to took to the floor of the Central Hall Methodist Church in Walsall - their first return visit since 2013!

The Concert was organised by Antonio Longhi, father of the current Mayor of Walsall, Marco, to help raise funds for his chosen charity for his 'reign' - WPH - a small Walsall Charity that supports adolescent mental health counselling services.

Well the omens were not looking too bright as the start of the week saw dropping temperatures and the threat of Winter conditions, threatened the concert-goers attendance at this well-worth-while event.

Anyhow, at spot on 7.30pm, The Staffordshire Band took to the 'stage', dressed like cowboys/girls to give their homage to the famous 'Spaghetti Westerns'...................

The Band opened up with John William's Liberty Fanfare, arranged by Alan Catherall - a stirring and uplifting start to the Concert, which was followed by an imaginary train journey with Oregon by Jacob de Haan. The delightful and evocative Dances with Wolves by John Barry arranged by Frank Bernaerts followed with playing of great softness. With the Italians ever present, O My Beloved Father by Giacomo Puccini arr. Christine Watkins, featured a famous soloist with the Band, some twenty years ago, given an opportunity to give a new audience a chance to hear his talents (albeit after only 4 weeks of rehearsal back on one of the hardest instruments in the Band to play), featured Soprano Soloist - Shaun Elliott, once again. Wild Wild West by Ronald Hanmer showcased many of the favourites of that time, before a fantastic arrangement by Alan Fernie of Shenandoah had the audience in raptures. The first half ended with a sprightly version of The Magnificent Seven by Elmer Berstein arr. Edrich Siebert.

So as soon as it had started, the first half was over and it was time to buy those all-too-favourite Raffle Tickets and get some heat back in the body with some hot fluids!

The second half started with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, by Burt Bacharach arr. John Cacavas - a rather special arrangement, that was followed by Oklahoma by Rodgers & Hammerstein arr. Alan Catherall - short but very, very sweet. A very popular arrangement from the 'Western Times' followed - Hootenanny by Harold L Walters had everyone on their feet! Shaun Elliott got to his feet once again to run the ever popular Western Raffle - Yee Hah!!, with prizes to amaze the lucky winners (perhaps). Getting to the end of this trip around Western Country, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly by Ennio Morricone arr. Ray Farr, brought the House down, but not as much as the Finale (and Encore!) - The Lone Ranger by Rossini arr. Gregor Grant - stunning in every way !!

So that was that - the Cowboys had fled over the 'Pond', the audience were leaving very happy indeed, the Mayor's Charity had gained some cash and, mercifully, the temperature had heated the mercury.

Thanks to everyone involved in arranging the event, everyone at Central Hall Methodist Church, Antonio and Marco Longhi (the Mayor of Walsall) and to all our friends who were able to cover for our players, many of whom were thousands of miles away!


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