Programme - 'A Proms for St George's Day' Concert, Forest Arts Centre, Friday 20th April 2018

Guest Conducted by Alan Gifford

So another few months had passed since the last Forest Arts Concert - in fact the world had moved forward a year!

The temperatures were thankfully rising and some of the Band had spent a memorable few days abroad!

The Audiorium 1 at Forest Arts was bedecked with electronic images, thanks to our 'Techno Guru and Music Historian' Henry Summers - the audience were packed outside (as always!) - you could tell it was going to be a night to remember.

Slightly after 7.30pm, the Band marched onto the 'stage' on the floor in front of another full house at Forest Arts Centre!

We must be popular!

Soon after the 'Black Shadow', otherwise known as Alan Gifford, Guest Conductor for the evening, took up his position in front of the Band................

................. the silence was golden!

Horizons by Paul Lovatt-Cooper proved to be a barnstorming performance by an in-form Band and on-the-beat Conductor - it was a fantastic start to the Concert that set the standards to follow and the audience went wild!!!

Guardian of My Soul by Darren Shaw, slowed and calmed the atmosphere somewhat with a very tasteful and musical performance which, again, had the audience enchanted - the Band were on top form!

Choir from New Oscott School then took 'centre stage' (actually they didn't move!), conducted by Sue Lacey they started with a joint item with the Band,‘Hey Jude’, Lennon & Macartney arranged by Alan Fernie, before ending their lovely set with a song of their own, avec backing track................. all great stuff!

The Band returned with a spirited version of Malaguena by Ernesto Lecuona arr. Mark Freeh, which the audience loved and was a fitting tribute to arranger Mark Freeh who passed away a couple of months ago.

The Witch of the Westmerlands by Archie Fisher arranged by Philip Harper is a wonderful atmospheric tale from the 'WestMerlands' taken from a local traditional tale of some witch that runs amock - a terrific arrangement by Philip Harper and once again, very well played by the Band.

The final piece in the first half was a true blockbuster called Fire in the Blood by Paul Lovatt-Cooper, that takes various Salvation Army classic tunes and moulds a magnificent tapestry of sounds into 7 minutes of total enjoyment for Band and audience alike - it brought the place down, as it should given that it was performed by the newly crowned 'Midlands Area Champion Band (First Section) 2018!

A great first half by all concerned which was more than confirmed by the many, many comments received during the interval.


British Legion March by T.Bidgood started the second half in traditional style, but played by a top band on great form......................

An Untold Story by Paul Lovatt-Cooper followed, that gave the huge talents of Solo Horn Mike Faulkner a chance to shine on a piece that didn't rely rely on playing as many notes as possible in 3 minutes, but slowed everything down and let music be the winner - and Mike certainly did that with another very fine performance.

Greensleeves, always a winner at these types of concerts didn't disappoint of course in this traditional arrangement by Gordon Langford.

Under the Sea, arranged by Craig Stevens closed the Band's first set of the second half with a classic audience-pleaser that works every time!

Choir from New Oscott School, conducted by Sue Lacey, returned with ‘We are the World’ arranged by Frank Bernaerts, with the Band and another one of their fine moving-and-groovin' songs to please all - including themselves!

Before the Finale of the 'Last Night' items, Chairman Shaun Elliott thanked a few people, reminded the audience of the forthcoming shows at Forest by the Band and gave out some stonking prizes in the Raffle (astonishing wasn't the word for them!) before passing the microphone to Treasurer, Adrian Lacey who made a presentation on behalf of the Band to his Father, in grateful thanks for his donations to the Band over the years, especially recently where his contribution allowed the Band to purchase some new band waistcoats.

‘Fantasia on British Sea Songs’ by Henry Wood arranged by Dennis Wright started the finale to Saint George in great style by the Band.

‘Jerusalem’ by Blake and Parry arranged by Sydney Herbert had the vocal chords in the audience warmed up and getting up to forte in sound.

‘Pomp & Circumstance March No. 1’ by Edward Elgar had the audience on their feet (with their flags rampant, having been trained in this aspect of the evening, throughout the Concert) - an encore ended the show and a standing ovation confirmed what a great Concert it had been with some great playing, great singing from the Choir and a Full House to enjoy it all.

So that was that - another triumph!

The Midlands Area Champions had more than lived up to their billing and had performed brilliantly. Thanks to the players that had helped the Band and special thanks to Guest Conductor Alan Gifford, who was very professional, had the audience eating out of his script and crafted a very fine performance out of the Band and, of course, all the children and staff of New Oscott School, the Forest Arts Centre staff for all their superb work in making this Concert so memorable to everyone who attended.

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