Every year since 2000 the Band has been providing the popular ‘Proms’ concert in Vale Park, Aylesbury, as part of Park Life organised by Aylesbury Town Council. This year the event took place on Saturday 1st September; during the day there was a big screen relaying coverage of the Paralympic Games from London, music from the stage, and many activities for children, including a rock climbing wall. In the evening it was Aylesbury Band’s turn to take to the stage.
Some of the past Vale Park Proms were blighted by rain, and after this year’s dismal summer we were justifiably nervous that this concert would be too, but to everyone’s relief the day was sunny and warm, and stayed dry the whole evening.
One drawback of our conductor, Claire Lawrence, being a member of the armed forces is that the demands of the service must take priority. Having been sent off for over two weeks to work in security for the Olympics (where she spent the whole time in mind-numbing boredom on the night shift) followed by another period for the Paralympics meant she was unable to conduct this concert. Instead her place was ably filled by Robert Wicks. As this was not only the year of the London Olympics but also the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, Robert chose a mainly English programme, opening with Concert Prelude by English composer Philip Sparke. Other English composeres featured included Guy Woolfenden, Rob Wiffin, Eric Coates, Edward Elgar, William Walton, and Sir Arthur Sullivan. You can read the complete programme here.
The Proms concerts always feature at least one star soloist, and this year we were joined by soprano Alison Langer. In the first half she sang O mio babbino caro by Puccini, and later she sang Poor Wandering One from The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan. She is a very fine singer, and the crowd showed their appreciation with enthusiastic applause. Members of the band often play solo items too, and this year principal trombone Jon Pyefinch played an arrangement for trombone of A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.
Of course the part of the concert many of the audience come to hear is the “Proms” finale, which as usual began with Jerusalem, with Alison Langer leading the singing. Then Henry Wood’s Fantasia on British Sea Songs with the rousing hornpipe, ending with Rule Britannia, again sung by Alison Langer, with the audience joining in the chorus. Finally the audience joined in singing Land of Hope and Glory to Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March no. 1, and as always this had to be encored.
At the end of the concert the Mayor of Aylesbury, Cllr Mrs Ranjula Takodra, came onto the stage and thanked the audience for their contributions to the Mayor’s Charity, Home-Start Aylesbury. She also thanked the Band for a wonderful evening of music that made her proud to be British. We’re looking forward to providing an even better and more successful concert in 2013.