It’s hard to imagine Christmas without music, whether it be traditional Christmas carols, sentimental ballads, settings of scripture by the great classical masters, or simply cheerful tunes with a wintry title. So it’s not surprising that Aylesbury Band should be called upon to play at this time of year.
The Mayor’s Carol Service took place on 4th December in St Mary’s Parish Church, Aylesbury. The Band was joined by the Aylesbury Choral Society, and the choir and organist of St Mary’s Church. While waiting for the Mayor’s procession to arrive the Band entertained the congregation by playing White Christmas, Jingle Bells, and Ye Merry Gentlemen (no. 3 of Three Carols from Olde England by Duncan Stubbs), and then played fanfares to announce the arrival of the Mayor and the procession.
During the service the band accompanied the singing of Christmas carols along with the organist, and also played a couple of musical interludes, A Winter’s Tale by Philip Sparke, and Carol of the Drum (“The Little Drummer Boy”) by Katherine Davis, arranged by Floyd E. Werle. Similarly the Aylesbury Choral Society sang In Dulci Jubilo, and O Magnum Mysterium by Tomás Luis de Victoria, and the church choir sang Jesus Child by John Rutter. At the end the Band accompanied everyone singing We Wish You a Merry Christmas. After the service everyone tucked into mulled wine and mince pies to the accompaniment of the Band playing Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson, A Vaughan Williams Christmas, Good Swing Wenceslas by Sammy Nestico, and Scherzo Variation (no. 2 of A Christmas Suite by David Barker).
The following Saturday, 10th December, the band again provided music for the Fairford Leys Carol Service in Hampden Square, Aylesbury. The weather had been very cold during the preceding week, but on Saturday it warmed up a little, and it didn’t rain! To set the scene the Band played White Christmas and Let it Snow, and then played while everyone joined in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. After playing for the carol singing, the crown had to sing Jingle Bells to let Father Christmas know where to go, but of course they didn’t sing loud enough, so they had to sing it again. The Band then rounded off proceedings with We Wish You a Merry Christmas.
The saxophone quartet (players from the Band) then moved indoors to play while refreshments were being served, but for the rest of the Band it was time to go home. However there was still work to do before Christmas, rehearsing for our New Year concert in January.