Vale Park Proms 2011

We were lucky again with the weather for the Vale Park Proms on 3rd September. This is part of a weekend of free events organised by Aylesbury Town Council in Vale Park, Aylesbury, and it is the 11th year the concert has been held. After a week of showers and rain Saturday turned out to be a dry interlude, and reasonably warm as well, and in the evening a crowd estimated to be 600 people gathered in the park to hear the Band perform, together with singers Richard Stark and Jill Neenan. Unfortunately our conductor Claire Lawrence was unable to lead this concert due to her commitments with RAF Central Band, so her place was ably filled by deputy conductor Robert Wicks.

As usual the Band played a mix of music, starting with Flashing Winds, a piece specially written for wind band by Jan Van der Roost, followed by Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang, and A Yorkshire Overture by Philip Sparke. Then it was the turn of the soloists to sing two pieces from Carmen by Bizet. Jill Neenan sang Habanera and Richard Stark The Toreador Song, accompanied by the Band. Following this, Armenian Dances by Alfred Reed showed off the Band’s skills, and the first half ended with film music from The Incredibles and Pirates of the Caribbean.

The second half opened with The Dam Busters by Eric Coates. After the quirky Slava! (written by Leonard Bernstein as a tribute to his friend the Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich – nicknamed Slava) soloists Richard Stark and Jill Neenan came together to sing Bess you is my woman now from Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin. Then, after the Toccata in D minor by Bach, arranged by Ray Farr and Kevin Lamb, the Band played The Sun will Rise Again, a work specially written by Philip Sparke to raise money for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March.

After James Bond 007, played in tribute to the composer John Barrie who died earlier this year, it was time for the traditional “Proms” finale. The audience joined Richard Stark in singing Jerusalem, then Henry Wood’s Fantasia on British Sea Songs was rounded off by Rule Britannia, with Jill Neenan leading the singing. Finally Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March no. 1, with its Land of Hope and Glory tune brought the evening to a triumphant close, after it had been repeated, of course!

In a speech the Mayor, Cllr Jenny Puddefoot, thanked the Band, saying we were playing better than ever, and later the Bucks Herald reported that the evening had raised over £500 for the Mayor’s charities. In these times of austerity and budget cuts there is an ever-present risk of the council being unable to afford to promote events like this, but the concert is always popular, and Aylesbury Band stands ready to provide the music again next year and in years to come whenever we are called upon to do so.

Here is more information about the music played:–

Programme – Vale Park Proms Concert 2011

Conducted by Robert Wicks

Title Composer / Arranger
Flashing Winds Jan Van der Roost
Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang R.M. Sherman & R.B. Sherman
A Yorkshire Overture Philip Sparke
Habanera from Carmen, sung by Jill Neenan Georges Bizet, arr. Jos van de Braak
Toreador Song from Carmen, sung by Richard Stark Georges Bizet, arr. Antoon Haeck
Armenian Dances (excerpts) Alfred Reed
Music from The Incredibles Michael Giacchino, arr. Jay Bocook
Pirates of the Caribbean Klaus Badelt, arr. John Wasson
The Dam Busters Eric Coates
Slava! A Concert Overture Leonard Bernstein, transribed by Clare Grundman
Bess you is my woman from Porgy and Bess, sung by Richard Stark and Jill Neenan George Gershwin, arr. Roger Niese
Toccata in D Minor J.S. Bach, arr. Ray Farr and Kevin Lamb
The Sun Will Rise Again (written to commemorate the victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, March 2011) Philip Sparke
James Bond 007 (themes from the James Bond films) John Barrie, arr. Johan de Mey
Jerusalem, sung by Richard Stark Parry, arr. Rob Wiffin
Fantasia on British Sea Songs, with Rule Britannia sung by Jill Neenan Henry Wood, arr. W.J. Duthoit
Pomp and Circumstance March no. 1 (Land of Hope and Glory) Edward Elgar