As Enfield celebrated 125 years of music-making, Philip Biggs paid tribute to Bandmaster James Williams, MBE, the first of several references which, while well-deserved, did serve to prolong an enjoyable evening.
The band set out their stall with Paul Sharman's 'My God and King', the bright sounds of the cornets and trombones making an immediate impact.
'Psalm 91' brought a moment of reflection before Peter Graham's tribute to Bandmaster Williams, 'Ad Optimum', whilst Paul Baker and Maurice Patterson were well-matched in Peter's setting of 'There is beauty in the name of Jesus', with Tim Buckle on soprano making his mark in the closing bars.
Richard Martin was the much-anticipated soloist, having played with the band for several years - opening with 'Songs in the Heart', played in the presence of its dedicatee, Derek Smith. A few minor glitches detracted little from a fine rendition, matched by the meticulous playing of the band.
Kevin Larsson's Hollywood-influenced 'Fill the World with Glory' brought contrast before Richard returned to for 'Victorious'. The playing here was outstanding; from the arpeggios at the start, through the emotion-filled minor key variation, to the scintillating triple-tonguing at the end.
'Daystar' ended the first half, drawing together the tune 'Ascalon' and 'My Saviour suffered on the Tree', with the band making much of the varied moods of the music, with triumphant sounds as it approached the climax.
Dorothy Gates' 'All you Need is Love' framed the Beatles' melody with 'O Boundless Salvation' before 'Variations on Was Lebet'. This new work by Andrew Wainwright takes the tune 'O Worship the Lord in the Beauty of Holiness' through various styles, including a rather incongruous French waltz and a lively fugue.
A delicate touch
Richard's final items were 'Glory to His Name' and 'Someone Cares' - his delicate playing in the latter matched by the particularly sensitive accompaniment. The programme ended with a powerful reading of 'Song of the Eternal' with some lovely horn playing in 'From that Sacred Hill'.
It made for an uplifting finish, before the traditional encore of 'The Red Shield'.