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George Whittingham Celebration Evening

Bromley
27th August

Following the success of last year's concert, marking George Whittingham's 90th birthday, he was persuaded to repeat the venture. 

From the opening notes of the tune 'Pilgrims', taken at a steady tempo and with great breadth and fullness of sound, it was clear the audience were in for something special.

Classics

The programme consisted of classics from the Salvation Army repertoire, opening with 'The Canadian', with crisp articulation and the trombone section cutting through the texture, whilst Chris Deacon's Eb trumpet added brightness at the top.

The tunes included in 'Army of the Brave' may be largely forgotten, but it still makes for a rousing selection. Tom Nielsen was featured as soloist in 'Glory to His Name', a clean and self-assured reading played from memory. He was then joined by Carl Nielsen, Keith Hutchinson, Craig Snell and Darrell Scholes for a romp through 'Buglers Holiday'.

Elegant

An elegant performance of 'The Swan' followed, with Dudley Bright, Paul Woodward and Alan Elliott playing the solo line in unison, before Adrian Horwood joined Derick Kane in the lively duet 'That's the Spirit'. 'Solvieg's Song' then featured the mellow tones of Kevin Whittingham on flugel.

'Triumph of Peace' was an apposite choice for these troubled times, and preceded the singing of 'In Christ Alone', during which a collection was taken for Connect, a project providing support for deprived children.

'Triumph of Peace' was an apposite choice for these troubled times, and preceded the singing of 'In Christ Alone', during which a collection was taken for Connect, a project providing support for deprived children.

'Just As I Am' was given a heart-felt performance full of delicacy before another Eric Ball classic, 'Sound out the Proclamation'. In a flashback to former times, David Daws joined the solo cornet section for the second half, assuring us it was just a one-off.

Effective

Ben Dixon thrilled the audience with 'Celestial Morn' before the cornets and trombones presented 'Never Give Up', with effective antiphonal passages between the two groups, although a little uncertainty crept in the final section.

The opening of 'Kingdom Triumphant' brought to mind the German translation of the 'posaune' foretelling the second coming. 

It was a majestic sound and set the tone for an impressive performance, with the expansive final section taken at a very steady tempo - unlike the encore of 'Stars and Stripes' which the band rattled through while George took a well-deserved rest.

Peter Bale



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Conductor, teacher, adjudicator and arranger