Spring Concert 2018

On 28th April we tried a new venue for our Spring Concert, the church at Fairford Leys, Aylesbury. Being a relatively new housing estate this is a small church in a modern building, and at first sight seemed quite promising. Inside the building is divided into two, the church proper and an area with tables and chairs and a small kitchen behind a counter in the corner. This is separated from the church by a glass screen which folds and slides to the sides to open the two areas into one. The church itself is wider than it is long, with no pillars, so the audience has good views of the band, and being quite small it is ideal for the typical size of our audience. However the light was quite bright, and together with the white painted walls gave a rather harsh effect. Of more concern was the large dome built in the ceiling into the roof space. During the concert this had the effect of reflecting the sound and dampening any contrast between loud music and soft.

The concert began with the Olympic Fanfare and Theme written by John Williams for the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. This was followed by The Hounds of Spring by Alfred Reed, inspired by Swinburne’s line “When the hounds of spring are on winter’s traces”, a magical picture of young love in springtime. A selection from the musical My Fair Lady came next, and The Girl with the Flaxen Hair by Debussy, arranged by Michael Brand. Then Robin Jarvis, euphonium, played Song of India by Rimsky-Korsakov in an arrangement by Eric Wilson. who is a friend of both Robin and our conductor, Rob wicks. For this the Band was conducted by Eric Wilson himself, who was our guest at the concert. The first half ended with Festive Overture by Shostakovich.

The second half began with A Copland Tribute, music by Aaron Copland adapted by Clare Grundman. Next we played Finnegan’s Wake, by A.J. Potter, and Disney at the Movies, an arrangement of well know songs from Disney films. This was followed by a moment of quiet reflection as we played The Sun Will Rise Again, written by Philip Sparke in response to the devastating tsunami that struck Japan in 2011. The concert ended with an arrangement of music from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein. As an encore the Band played A Walk in the Black Forest, the 60s hit by Horst Jankowski.

The concert was quite successful, the band played well and the audience seemed to enjoy it despite the problems with the acoustics. It’s a shame that we don’t seem to be able to attract a larger audience, but that is a perennial problem for us it seems.

New Year Concert 2018

On the afternoon of Saturday 13th January Aylesbury Band travelled again to St Mary’s Church, Eaton Bray for a New Year Concert. By the time the concert was due to start a gratifyingly large audience nearly filled the church, indeed the organiser had to put out extra seats for latecomers.

Conductor Robert Wicks had chosen Flourish for Wind Band to announce that the concert had begun, followed by the lively overture Light Cavalry by Franz von Suppé. Two items from films followed, Beauty and the Beast from the Disney cartoon version, and Hallelujah from Shrek by Leonard Cohen. Then the band played 5 movements from A Silent Movie Suite, an original work for band by Martin Ellerby which evokes the early days of the cinema. This was accompanied by suitable “subtitles” held up by a volunteer to announce the titles of each movement. The first half ended with a selection from the musical Les Misérables.

After the interval, the second half opened with Celtic Carol arranged by Robert W. Smith, and a selection of music from recent episodes of Dr Who, complete with the well known title theme. The slightly nostalgic Waltz no. 2 from a “Jazz” suite by Shostakovich was followed by the manic LOL (Laugh Out Loud) by Robert Buckley. To slow the pace, but staying with TV themes, Band of Brothers came next, followed by music from Mary Poppins.

This was a New Year concert, however, so we couldn’t finish without playing The Beautiful Blue Danube by Johann Strauss II, arranged by Rob Wiffin. The enthusiastic applause merited an encore, which was inevitably the Radetzky March by Johann Strauss I.

How nice it is to play to such an appreciative audience. It’s even nicer to know we’ve been invited back to play again next year.