Enfield Citadel Band


Yeovil Entertainment Contest 30th Anniversary Gala Concert
Bandmaster:Andrew Blyth
The Gateway
Saturday 10th February

To round off the Yeovil entertainment contests' 30th year celebrations, the Enfield Citadel led by Bandmaster Andrew Blyth performed a concert of predominantly Salvation Army repertoire in the presence of a healthy audience on Saturday evening, at the splendidly named The Gateway, a community Church within the town.

Enfield's reputation as an ensemble is second-to-none and throughout the concert they demonstrated on numerous occasions why their level of music-making is acknowledged throughout banding circles.  They were led superbly by Ralph Brill on Principal Cornet and what a joy to see half a dozen or so players performing with the band having come up from their Young Recruits Band.

William Himes' Festival March, Motivation was taken at a lively tempo and featured some excellent dynamic contrasts throughout the band closely followed by Candle of the Lord, for which its familiarity is enhanced from it's prominence within Shine as the Light.  The control of the ensemble playing by Bandmaster Blyth had already been noticeable in the opening two pieces.

Of particular interest to this reviewer was the inclusion of the overture by Dudley Bright entitled, Excelsior.  It's certainly not written in a traditional overture style that band contests have survived on since they were invented; it was written for the International Congress Youth Spectacular in 1990 before later being rescored for the ISB and has that big-band/jazzy feel to it, showcasing the various sections of the band

Most  impressive throughout the evening was the bands soloists; Maurice Patterson shined in Leidzen's popular Wondrous Day, Keith Loxley on euphonium featured in The Lark in the Clear Air whilst the deputy-bandmaster, Andrew Justice gave a scintillating performance of Ralph Pearce's three movement work, Rhapsody on an American Folk Hymn.  The outer energetic movements gave the soloist the chance to demonstrate his fine technique but it was during the slower, reflective, middle movement, where Andrew's clear talent came to the fore.

During the evening, the band's Executive Officer, Lt-Col Lincoln Parkhouse linked the music together along with prayers and readings and it was after the bible reading that the band played the most poignant playing of the whole night.

It came courtesy of a new composition by Stephen Bulla entitled Chorale Prayer, that's based around the familiar hymn, Eternal Father, Strong to Save.  The band's contributions also included arrangements from Sandy Smith and Stephen Roberts with Valero and Pastime with Good Company both of which demonstrated that the band can adopt to any style of music it wishes to perform; Curnow's Psalm of Praise was almost effortless on the ear, but  the whole evening was concluded with the popular Finale from Tchaikovsky's Symphony No 4 that was taken at a steadier tempo than that which you might normally hear from a top band and the obligatory encore in the form of The Red Shield.

It brought to an end though a satisfying concert that was appreciated by a standing ovation from much of the audience.  With commitments on Sunday morning back at their SA centres, it meant a round trip in the region of 300 miles.

Enfield will be making a return to Yeovil later in the year where they'll be joined by Boscombe SA at the Octagon Theatre on Saturday 13th October.

Malcolm Wood