The August bank holiday weekend this year came towards the end of a prolonged heatwave with temperatures climbing into the 30s celsius (over 90° F) and drought. Fortunately the worst of the heat had abated, but it was still shirtsleeve weather as we set up for the Proms concert in Vale Park, Aylesbury on 28th August. This was part of the Annual ParkLife weekend organised every year by Aylesbury Town Council, which is always a popular event. This year was no exception as several thousand people crowded into the park for the concert.
We should have been joined again by soprano Alison Langer, but unfortunately she was unwell on the day and her place was taken at the last moment by Eleanor Sanderson-Nash. We had also expected to be conducted by John Brown, our Director of Music who is a musician and bandmaster in the army, but much to our disappointment (and his annoyance) the army had decided to post him to a band too far away for him to continue conducting Aylesbury Band. Instead we were pleased to welcome back Brendan Gudgeon, who has conducted the band on several occasions before, including the Proms in 2019 and 2021.
The theme of the concert this year was “Myths and Legends”, and it opened dramatically with Mars, the Bringer of War from The Planets by Gustav Holst. Some might have thought this was rather grim, but they needn’t have worried, because it was followed by Go the Distance from the film Hercules, and music from the 2021 Disney Film Encanto. Following this was The Land Called Chicora, an original work for band by Paul Murtha (Chicora was a legendary Native American kingdom or tribe – Wikipedia).
Next we were joined by Eleanor Sanderson-Nash who sang Beauty and the Beast from the Disney film of that name, and then the first half ended with Phoenix Rising by Rob Wiffin.
More film music opened the second half, starting with How to Train Your Dragon, and Into the Unknown from Frozen II. Music by Jo Hisaishi from Japanese animation films followed, and The Legend of Zorro by James Horner. The last item before the “proms” finale was the can-can from the overture to Orpheus in the Underworld by Offenbach.
So now it was time for the audience to take part, waving their flags and light sticks, joining Eleanor Sanderson-Nash in singing Parry’s setting of Jerusalem. Henry Wood’s Fantasia on British Sea Songs (ending with Eleanor singing Rule Britannia), and Land of Hope and Glory in Pomp and Circumstance March no. 1 by Edward Elgar.
All that was left was a speech from the Mayor thanking everyone who contributed to a collection for the Mayor’s charity, and the presentation of gifts to the conductor and soloist. But that wasn’t quite all, because this was the cue for a spectacular firework display.
This event seems to grow more and more popular every year, so no doubt the Band will be invited back to take part in 2023. Maybe the council will soon have to find a bigger park?
The concert was live-streamed on the internet, and you can watch a recording on YouTube…
The Complete Programme
|Title||Composer / Arranger|
|Mars from The Planets||Gustav Holst|
|Go the Distance, from the film “Hercules”||Alan Menken, arr. Jay Bocook|
|Selections from Encanto||Lin-Manuel Miranda, arr. Paul Murtha|
|The Land Called Chicora||Paul Murtha|
|Beauty and the Beast|
(with Eleanor Sanderson-Nash, soprano)
|Phoenix Rising||Rob Wiffin|
|Music from “How to Train Your Dragon”||John Powell, arr. Sean O’Loughlin|
|Into the Unknown (from Frozen II)||Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, arr. Paul Murtha|
|Animation Songs Medley||Jo Hisaishi, arr. Kazuhiro Morita|
|The Legend of Zorro||James Horner, arr. Michael Brown|
|Can-Can (from overture to Orpheus in the Underworld)||Jacques Offenbach, arr. Lawrence Odom|
|Jerusalem||C. Hubert Parry, arr. Rob Wiffin|
|Fantasia on British Sea Songs (including Rule Britannia, with Eleanor Sanderson-Nash)||Henry Wood, arr. W J Duthoit. (Rule Britannia arr. Alan Mossford)|
|Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 (inc. Land of Hope and Glory)||Edward Elgar|