Concert with the Wednesday Singers, Pelsall Methodist Church, Pelsall, Friday 29th June 2017
Guest Conducted by Craig Williams
'Was a Hot Summers Day, Almost the Last Day of June, And the Sun was a-beating................................'
And indeed it was, as a thermostat malady in the Band Van on the way to the venue, caused the temperature guage to worryingly get very close to the redline on the guage, which would mean an instant cut off to the engine - so the 40 mph became 30mph, but the needle didn't drop, then 30 mph, 25mph and still not a change to the cemented guage. So 10 minutes late, the van lumbered, like a very hot demented slug, into the car park of Pelsall Methodist Church, for what has become somewhat of a joint concert with The Wednesday Singers.
Still, the slick de-camp of all the percussion gear took less time than to fry an egg, and the scene was 'dressed', ready for the Band's entrance at 7.30pm......
The tension was rising, or could it have been the ambiant temperature?
Whatever it was, almost on the stroke of 7.30pm, the Band (now down to the bare minimum of band attire) 'marched' onto the makeshift stage, to the accompaniment of the full and expectant audience, before Guest Conductor, Craig Williams took to the stage and into the Band's First Item, The Dam Busters by Eric Coates arr. Dawson - by gum - the Band were on as much fire as the bombs dropped from the Lancasters of 617 Squadron itself - a great start............. the Conductors shirt was beginning to appear somewhat damp.
The audience were suitably impressed and righly so.
Compere Ken Layland, ex Chairman of the Band and Member of 'The Wednesday Singers', took the compering duties for the evening, did the welcomes and set about introducing the items.
The temperature was taking a turn upwards................
The Floral Dance by Katie Moss arr. Derek Broadbent, changed the mood, but not the stickness, but was another fine performance by the Band, lead for the first time by Craig Williams.
The Wednesday Singers took to the floor in front of the Band to deliver 'Come to the Fair' and 'She Was Beautiful'.
This was followed by a real tour-de-force - Concierto de Aranguez by Rodrigo arr. Kevin Bolton, 'Orange Juice' from the very famous film 'Brassed Off', performed with effortless aplomb by the Band's Star Flugel Horn Player - Tom Stoneman, which simply brought the House down and rightly so. A complete change of mood for everyone with a joint item of 'Nimrod' Edward Elgar continued the programme, before the Choir were back with 'Old Mother Hubbard', 'The Lost Chord' and 'Where the Gentle Avon Flows'
I Vow to Thee My Country - Gustav Holst arr. Philip Sparke continued the Band's stunning form to successfully end the First Half.
Wooooooooooooooooooosh - the Interval was over.
The Band started the second half with another 'tune' from 'Brassed Off', which tells the story of the Grimley Colliery Band competing at the annual Whit Friday March Contests around the Yorkshire villages of Saddleworth and Tameside, sadly becoming more and more untogether (yes, this is a word!) as the beers flowed - The Staffordshire Band are made of much sterner stuff and not a drop of 'falling down juice' had been consumed, so a terrific performance of Death or Glory by R B Hall, kept up the high standard created in the first half. The Band continued with an arrangement from their 'Master Arranger', Leigh Baker, of Eventide by Monk - what a fantastic bit of work by Leigh, given the very best teatment by the Band (and rightly so!).
Two more songs by the Choir - 'Non Nobis Domine', 'Bird Songs at Eventide', before the Band went 'Back to the 40's' (the Band's CD 'Back to the 40's' is available at all good outlets!!) with Arranger-in-Residence, Wesley Kendrick's wonderful homage to the 40's, Songs That Won the War.
The final slot by the Choir included 'Streets of London', 'Daffodils' and 'Fishermen of England'.
Fantasia on British Sea Songs - Henry Wood arr. Denis Wright continued festivities, included the handing out of tissues by Maestro Williams for the time in the piece where a sailor enters 'Davy Jones's Locker' and assorted 'loud' persussion extras................ as well as Mr Williams telling the actual story of the piece - a First!
It brought the place (and the ships) down!
Pomp & Circumstance March No. 1 - Edward Elgar arr. J. Ord Hume closed the Concert with suitable aplomb.
So that was that - another winning night for the Band - thanks for those players who 'helped the Band out', especially Alan Gifford, Solo Trombone, who's last Concert it was with the Band after six very successful years - he's off to 'cider-country' and the Band wish him well and thank him for all that he has done for us!
Special thanks to Guest Conductor, Craig Williams, who made such an impact with the Band after only 3 rehearsals - the writer suspects that in years to come, people will look back and see the Concert as the start of things to come!
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