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The Band of the Coldstream Guards

St George's Day Concert
Conductors: Major Simon Haw and Lt Col Darren Wolfendale
Featuring: Alan Thomas (trumpet); Sam Bailey (vocal)
Compere: WO1 Adrian Beckett
Cadogan Hall, London
Monday 23rd April

This fine St George's Day Concert was refreshingly free of razzmatazz and jingoism.

A fanfare by Sir Arthur Bliss preceded Walton's 'Orb & Sceptre' in which the horn section in particular made its mark, both in the majestic melodies and the tricky off-beat passages.

Majestic sound

Major Simon Haw's 'Trumpet Call' is a new work dedicated to former Garrison Sergeant Major 'Perry' Mason. Following a somewhat wistful opening the majestic sound of the trumpet proceeded to dominate the texture in a magnificent performance by Alan Thomas of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

'The Banks of Green Willow' displayed a wide range of instrumental colours, a reminder of the talent lost when George Butterworth perished on The Somme.

X-Factor winner Sam Bailey was the second soloist, singing 'Where is Love?', 'Oom pah pah' and 'As Long As He Needs Me' from Lionel Bart's 'Oliver!' - her heart-felt performances quickly winning over the audience.

'Blaydon Races' and 'The Gallowgate Lad' were heard in Ian McElligott's 'Perry's Pride', before the band were joined by the fresh voices of the Commonwealth Children's Choir to present 'To Be A Friend', written by Simon Haw to mark the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

Teutonic

The action to breach the Hindenburg Line towards the end of the First World War resulted in two Coldstream Guards being awarded the Victoria Cross. The 'Hindenburg March' will be played at Trooping the Colour in June, and featured a suitably Teutonic bass solo.

Following an expressive rendition of 'Nimrod', Alan Thomas, appearing courtesy of Buffet Crampon, showed his virtuosity in 'Fantasia on Rule Britannia'; entrancing the audience from the athleticism of the opening cadenza and the precision of the ensuing variations.

The action to breach the Hindenburg Line towards the end of the First World War resulted in two Coldstream Guards being awarded the Victoria Cross. The 'Hindenburg March' will be played at Trooping the Colour in June, and featured a suitably Teutonic bass solo.

Sam Bailey gave an uplifting account of 'You Raise Me Up', before presenting 'In Unity'. Written for this year's Beating the Retreat it sets a new text to Parry's 'Jerusalem'. 

The final item was an effective setting of 'The Day Thou Gavest', with some interesting modulations and incorporating 'The Last Post'.

The concert, which raised money for the charity Combat Streass, ended in traditional fashion with the 'CAMUS March' and 'Milanollo' followed by the National Anthem.

Peter Bale



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