Enfield’s pre-contest festival got off to a ripping start with ‘Folk Festival’, taken at a cracking pace, although a slightly steadier tempo would perhaps have allowed more detail to be heard.
The band continued with ‘My Hope’, written by Roger Trigg, featuring the motif, E(nfield), C(itadel) and B(and).
The original material was framed by references to ‘My Hope is Built on Nothing Less’, the tune ‘Hardy Norseman’ appearing in an augmented rhythm and minor mode, and Herbert Howell’s melody ‘Michael’, set to the words ‘All My Hope on God is Founded’.
A portrait of the composer looked down on the band as they presented this impressive new work, which concluded with a ringing top D on soprano.
Brand new solos
Brett Baker was on top form as he joined in with some newly composed solos.
Andrew Mackereth’s ‘Song of Joy’, based on the children’s chorus ‘He Loves Me Too’, was attractive, but also contained some fiendish passages for the soloist, with fearsome leaps and arpeggios, a smooth central section in the high register and a top G finish.
‘Home to Thee’, brought a moment of calm, before Brett premiered Martin Cordner’s ‘The Follower’.
Inspired by the life of Isaac Watts, it depicted scenes from his early life, his involvement in the slave trade and his later conversion, with references to ‘Amazing Grace’.
There was much interplay as the band echoed phrases solo phrases, and a wide-ranging accompanied cadenza.
Congress commission revived
‘Daystar’ was written in 1978 but still sounded as fresh, comprising variants on the melody ‘Ascalon’, together with references to ‘My Saviour Suffered on the Tree’.
The band caught the various moods of the music with some magnificent sounds.
High notes galore
Trumpeter Andrew Lofthouse took centre stage in ‘Gospel Brass Machine’, with the rest of the cornets joining him in a high-note extravaganza.
More traditional fare came with the march ‘Mountain Camp’ - played considerably faster than is customary.
‘Sweet Hour of Prayer’ by Wilfred Heaton had been arranged for trombone and band by the evening’s compère, Paul Hindmarsh.
The Enfield trio of Andrew Justice, Ben Horton and Stuart Horton then joined Brett in an up-tempo setting of ‘Jericho’, complete with neat James Bond quote!
Dorothy Gates’ ‘Faith’ was prompted by her own experiences at a time of family illness and bereavement, with the melody ‘Keep on Believing’ appearing in the minor key.
It featured some striking scoring, notably the ethereal use of percussion and muted cornets, whilst the final, affirmative section called on the players to stamp their feet as if marching.
A moment of reflection followed with ‘Here is the Place’, before Major Val Mylechreest likened the constancy of middle C to the central presence of God, and Brett brought a Latin American style setting of ‘His Provision’.
The finale, which showed off the band to great effect, was ‘Fire in the Blood’, with excellent solo work from Maurice Patterson and Paul Baker in ‘You Know That We Love You’.
All that remained was the traditional choreographed encore of ‘The Red Shield’.