On Saturday 12th November, The Staffordshire Band performed as part of a joint remembrance concert with the Voices in Harmony choir at Holy Trinity Church, Cradley Heath.
The band have a close association with the church, as our Musical Director, Craig Williams is the resident organist there and he also runs a youth club at the church alongside his wife, Joanne. It was a pleasure to be back to perform at such a poignant concert of remembrance to a full audience.
The concert opened with The British Legion March, played by the band as the standards were carried to the front of the church. Our Solo Baritone player, Ed Stinton took to the stage next to perform Song for Ina by Philip Sparke, a beautiful, reflective piece played with tenderness by Ed.
Our next piece, Heroes of Our Time is an original composition by our resident composer, Sam Shelley and features on our latest CD. It was written by Sam as a tribute to all the front line workers who put themselves at risk during the covid pandemic. The thought provoking theme music from the film, 49th Parallel was our next item, written by Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1941, its rich harmonies pull at the heart strings.
A reflective performance of Nimrod from Enigma Variations by Edward Elgar came next. It is a work that many will recognise from its repeated patriotic performances, such as at royal events, in the opening ceremony of the London’s Olympic Games in 2012 and at the Last Night of the Proms. Every year, it is performed at the Cenotaph in Whitehall for the annual National Service of Remembrance, in which we remember those in British service who lost their lives in the two world wars and subsequent conflicts.
Our next piece was the traditional Fantasia on British Sea Songs, it was first performed by Henry Wood and the Queen’s Hall Orchestra at a Promenade Concert on 21 October 1905. It comprises nine parts which follow the course of the Battle of Trafalgar from the point of view of a British sailor, starting with the call to arms, progressing through the death of a comrade, thoughts of home, and ending with a victorious return and the assertion that Britain will continue to ‘rule the waves’. It involved participation from our lovely audience, with the honking of horns, singing and waving of flags!
We closed our programme with Wesley Kendrick’s Songs That Won The War and American Patrol by Glenn Miller. The first features some sing-a-long war time classics, such as, Wish Me Luck As You Wave Me Goodbye, Hang Out The Washing On The Siegfried Line, I’ll Be Seeing You, and, Keep The Home Fires Burning.
Reverend Nick Gowers then led a deeply reflective Service of Remembrance, during which our Principal Cornet, Adrian Lacey contributed perfectly with The Last Post and Reveille.
The band would like to thank all who were involved with the organisation of the concert, Holy Trinity Church and Voices in Harmony – we hope to return next year to continue to honour all who have lost their lives during conflict.