Vale Park Proms 2014

The annual ParkLife Festival took place at the end of August again this year, and the Band played for the usual “Last Night of the Proms” concert in Vale Park, Aylesbury on the 30th. The day was cloudy with a chilly wind, and there were a few spots of rain as the band set up for the concert, but this cleared away and the rest of the evening was dry. By the time the concert was due to start a large crowd, perhaps as many as a thousand, filled the park in front of the stage, with their flags and glo-sticks ready to wave.

In his first concert as Director of Music, Robert Wicks opened the proceedings with the National Anthem, followed by Fanfare and Flourishes by James Curnow. This was followed by the overture Crazy for You by George Gershwin, and a selection of well-known songs from favourite Disney films, Disney at the Movies arranged by John Higgins.

We were then joined by soprano soloist Alison Langer, who is currently studying a two year Opera Course at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Accompanied by the band, she sang Chi il Bel Sogno (La Canzone di Doretta) from La Rondine by Puccini. After this we went to Ireland, as the band played Lord Tullamore, an impression of music and dancing in an Irish village by the Dutch composer Carl Wittrock.

To mark the anniversary of the start of the first World War, the band played the march Colonel Bogey by Kenneth Alford, which was written in 1914, followed by a new work by Duncan Stubbs, Principal Director of Music of the Royal Air Force. This was written to accompany a rendition of the poem “We Will Keep the Faith” by Moina Michael for performance as part of the 100th Anniversary of the start of World War 1. On this occasion the performance was preceded by the poem recited by a group of schoolchildren in period clothes. The first half of the concert then ended with part of Jupiter from The Planets by Holst.

During the interval the audience were entertained by The LuLaLas, who sang a number of songs from the First World War era. Then the band returned to play Farandole by Bizet arranged by Rob Wiffin, music from the film The Great Escape by Elmer Bernstein, and a depiction of a ride on a Roller Coaster by Otto Schwarz. Alison Langer returned to sing The Laughing Song from die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss II. The band then played music from the film Frozen arranged by Stephen Bulla and Swing, Swing, Swing arranged by Rob Wiffin.

Now it was time for the grand “Proms” finale as Alison Langer led the audience singing Jerusalem. The Henry Wood Sea Songs ended with Alison singing Rule Britannia, and she again led the audience in singing Land of Hope and Glory during Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March no. 1. As usual this had to be encored.

At the end, deputy mayor Allison Harrison came on stage to thank all the participants for a wonderful evening, and the staff of Aylesbury Town Council who had worked hard to organise the event. Judging by the enthusiastic cheers and applause from the crowd they enjoyed the evening too. The band played well, and can be proud of their part in what is now a fixture in the Aylesbury calendar.

Now to start preparing for an autumn concert and Christmas!