The Band’s Christmas concert this year was held in the beautifully restored surroundings of Aylesbury Methodist Church. Although we have played here once before for a wedding, this was something of an experiment to see if the church was suitable to become a regular venue for our concerts, and on the whole the answer seemed to be yes. Admittedly the band was a tight fit in the chancel, not helped by the large Christmas tree at the back, but after some juggling the whole band managed to squeeze into place. There are certainly advantages for the audience, the church is more accessible than St Mary’s, there are no pillars in the way to obscure the audience’s view of the band, and those who wished were able to sit in the balcony to get an even better view. Rod Wynne-Powell was on hand again to take photos, which you can see here.
The concert opened with Fanfare and Hark the Herald Angels Sing, a quirky modern arrangement of the Christmas carol by Chip Davis for the group Mannheim Steamroller[Wikipedia] (who are very popular in the USA but virtually unknown in this country). This was followed by Alfred Reed’s Festive Overture, then Black and White Rag and the four Gypsy Dances Puszta by Jan Van Der Roost. Vanessa Owen and Annalie Ibison played the Flower Duet from Lakmé arranged for flute and oboe by James Curnow. After Christmas Recollections and a carol sung by the audience, the first half ended with A Vaughan Williams Christmas.
After the interval the second half opened with Troika by Prokofiev, and New York by Nigel Hess. Another new piece came next: Good Swing Wenceslas arranged by Sammy Nestico. A quartet from the sax section then played three entertaining pieces, Ceilito Lindo, Solitude by Duke Ellington, and Five foot two, eyes of blue. The old favourite, Carol of the Drum was followed by the 3rd movement of Pineapple Poll, Broadway Showstoppers, and of course, White Christmas. After another carol sung by the audience the concert ended with Sleigh Ride and We Wish You a Merry Christmas.
Near the end of the concert, conductor Robert Wicks publicly thanked the members of the band and the committee for all their work in the past year, and John Dablin presented him with a gift in recognition of all the hard work he had done over the Christmas season conducting the band in the absence of Duncan Stubbs.
So ended another year. In January rehearsals start for the next concert in Penn Street, and it will be time to start preparing for another Band Development Weekend in March, as well as the Spring concert. So there is much to look forward to in 2010.