In what has become an annual event the Aylesbury Town Mayor’s Remembrance Service this year took place on 10th November at St Mary’s, Aylesbury Parish Church. Aylesbury Concert Band were honoured to be invited to play an important role providing some of the music, together with the Aylesbury Consort of Voices, conductor Kelvin Turner, and St Mary’s Church Choir. The Band was conducted by our new Director of Music, Brendan Gudgeon.
In the darkened church before the Mayoral party arrived the Band played the theme from the TV series Band of Brothers, and as the Mayor arrived and processed up the church, David of the White Rock. After the Welcome and Bidding Prayer by the rector of St Mary’s, Fr Doug Zimmerman, the congregation were accompanied by the Band in singing Jerusalem in the setting by C. Hubert Parry. Following a reading by the Mayor, Cllr Tim Dixon, the Band played Solemn Melody by Walford Davies. After another reading by L/Cpl Harrison Isom of the Buckinghamshire (The Rifles) ACF, the Aylesbury Consort of Voices sang My Soul There is a Country by Parry.
The next reading, Unless You’ve Been a Soldier, was by Cadet Elliot Miles of the Aylesbury Sea and Royal Marine Cadets, then the Church Choir (conductor Kenton Brigden) sang View Me Lord by Richard H. Lloyd. After this Cadet Flight Sergeant Madeline Smith from the Aylesbury Air Training Corps read Our Wall by William Walker. Everyone then joined in singing Abide With Me accompanied by the organ. Following an address by Fr Doug Zimmerman the Band played Hymn to the Fallen (from the film Saving Private Ryan) by John Williams.
Next the Aylesbury Consort of Voices performed For the Fallen, a piece specially written for this service by their conductor, Kelvin Turner. Then came the heart of the service, the Exhortation:
They shall grow not old,(read by the Vice Chairman of the Royal British Legion, Aylesbury Branch, Mr Brian Morris)
as we that are left grow old;
age shall not weary them,
nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
and in the morning,
we will remember them.
Norman Bartlett, trumpet, sounded the Last Post, which was followed by two minutes’ silence, during which a shower of red paper symbolising poppies fell from the ceiling (and all over the Band!) before Norman sounded Reveille.
Following prayers and a blessing by Fr Zimmerman, and the Lord’s Prayer, the Aylesbury Consort of Voices sang They are at Rest by Edward Elgar, and Aylesbury Band accompanied the congregation singing I Vow to Thee my Country by Gustav Holst and two verses of the National Anthem. The service came to an end with the Band playing Nimrod from the Enigma Variations by Edward Elgar.
Music is a vital part of civic occasions like this, conveying so much more than words can alone. We were pleased to be able to contribute to the atmosphere of such a solemn and moving service, and play our part in the town’s remembrance of those who gave their lives in the service of our country.