Stone Fête 2019

The Band returned to Stone (a village outside Aylesbury) on the spring bank holiday, Monday 27th May, to play at the Stone and Bishopstone Fête. The previous few days had been wet or showery, and the weather forecast was for showers in the afternoon, but apart from a few spots of rain as we were setting up it remained dry. Unfortunately a strong, gusty wind made playing difficult, blowing over music stands and necessitating the use of pegs to stop the music blowing away, which makes it difficult to turn the page. However, we coped!

The band played two sets, conducted by deputy conductor Chris Doyle, who opened the programme with Looney Tunes. The first half continued with a selection from Mary Poppins, Queen in Concert, and music from the cult TV series Game of Thrones.

After the interval, when a dog show took place in the arena, the Band played The Sound of Music, music from the show and film The Lion King, and a selection from The Greatest Showman.

Despite the unsettled weather there was a good crowd at the fête, and no doubt the Band’s efforts added to the holiday atmosphere.

Mayor’s Charity Concert

Aylesbury Band and Aylesbury Town Council put on a joint concert on the afternoon of 9th March in St Mary’s Church, Aylesbury. Entrance to the concert was free, but with a collection to raise money to be shared by the Band and the Mayor’s Charity, Carers Bucks. Unusually for our concerts the church was packed, and extra chairs had to be found for latecomers.

The programme consisted entirely of film and TV themes, even Queen in Concert had a film connection through the recent Best Motion Picture winner at the Golden Globes, Bohemian Rhapsody. But the concert started on a mysterious note with music from Jurassic Park by John Williams before breaking into the well known march theme from the film. After this came music from the blockbuster TV series Game of Thrones.

The 1990s BBC TV series about The Victorian Kitchen Garden had a gentle clarinet solo for its theme which became a chart topper for its performer, Emma Johnson. Clarinettist Julie-Marie James performed it here in an arrangement for clarinet and band made by the Band’s conductor for 10 years, Alan Mossford. After Queen in Concert, soloist Erica Miller played alto sax in the Love Theme from The Godfather. Following the foot-tapping Blues Brothers Revue, it was the turn of Alison Swindles to play the oboe solo Gabriel’s Oboe from the 1986 film The Mission, by Ennio Morricone. The first half then drew to a close with a selection from the evergreen Mary Poppins, including Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and A Spoonful of Sugar.

Everyone loves cartoons, so what better way to start the second half than with the Looney Tunes Overture. This and the next 4 pieces were conducted by the Band’s deputy conductor Chris Doyle. His next items were more music by John Williams, in a selection entitled John Williams Soundtrack Highlights, followed by Rey’s Theme from Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Then after the lively New Hampshire Hornpipe from On Golden Pond Chris finished his session with a selection from The Greatest Showman.

Robert Wicks then returned to conduct The Simpsons, followed by the grand finale, a selection from The Wizard of Oz. Of course the audience demanded an encore, so with the help of the audience clicking fingers and tapping knees to make the sound of raindrops, the band played Singin’ in the Rain.

In all the collection raised £676.20 for Carers Bucks and the Band. Thanks are due to Fr. Doug Zimmerman of St Mary’s for allowing the use of the church free of charge, and to Carl Quaif for acting as compère for the afternoon, and of course to Robert Wicks and Chris Doyle and all the members of the Band who give up their time to make entertaining music.

Eaton Bray 2019

The Band returned to Eaton Bray in Bedfordshire on 12th January for an afternoon concert marking the New Year. This has been an annual event since 2014, and the gratifyingly full church suggested our concert is still popular. This year our Musical Director Rob Wicks shared the conducting with our new assistant conductor Chris Doyle.

Rob Wicks directed the first half, opening with Strike up the Band by Gershwin. Music by Glenn Miller followed in Big Band Classics, then John Barry’s score for the film Out of Africa, and Finnegan’s Wake by A J Potter. A slow interlude was provided by Hymn Song of Lowell Mason before the jollity of Jupiter from The Planets by Gustav Holst. The next piece conjured up Argentina with the tango Por Una Cabeza, and the first half finished with the last part of Armenian Dances by Alfred Reed.

After the interval Chris Doyle took to the podium to conduct a selection from The Greatest Showman and music from the films Titanic and The Little Mermaid. Rob Wicks returned to take us to Spain with Malagueña, followed by Singin’ in the Rain complete with some sound effects from the audience making the sound of raindrops.

With the end of the concert approaching it was time for some music traditionally played at the New Year, starting with Tritsch Tratsch Polka by Johann Strauss, followed inevitably by The Blue Danube.

That was the end of the programme, but the enthusiastic applause from the audience meant we had to play an encore, so Rob Wicks conducted the Radetzky March by Johann Strauss Snr. So it looks like we may be invited back next year.