Last night The Staffordshire Band enjoyed performing their Christmas concert to an appreciative capacity audience at St. Martin’s Church, Walsall.
There was definitely a yuletide feel in the air as the band performed a wide range of Christmas classics and modern favourites, alongside arrangements from their composer in residence, Samuel Shelley. The hearty singing from the audience during the community carols raised the roof and lifted the festive levels to ‘100% Christmas’, which was the opening piece of our concert. ‘100% Christmas’ is festive medley expertly arranged by David Johnson, professional conductor of Sandhurst Brass and a great friend of The Staffordshire Band. An easy rapport soon settled in between them and MD Craig Williams, who took the heckling in good humour.
Horn players, Simon Jones, Sam Lear and Julie Dale, adorned with Christmas jumpers, perfectly let us know ‘It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ and Simon went on to perform a beautiful rendition of Harold Darke’s ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’. There was also a rousing version of ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’, again written by David Johnson and played brilliantly by the trombone trio of Danny Baumberg, Neil Lawton and Karina Fodden.
But the stand out piece of the evening was Sam Shelley’s arrangement of ‘My Lord Has Come’ as the suffixed silence was broken only by a hushed ‘wow’ from the audience. This arrangement also features on our latest CD, which can be purchased online from our shop.
The standing ovations after the final ‘White Christmas’ and the encore, ‘Sleigh Ride’ warmed the hearts of the band and they are already looking forward to returning to St Martin’s and building a close relationship with the church in 2023.
Article by Rachael Dickens
Pictures by Sam Lacey, Paul Sealey & Lianne Sealey