Autumn concert at St Thomas’ Church was a hit

Following on from our Sunday workshop, Bournemouth and District Concert Band were ready for our autumn concert at St Thomas’ Church in Ensbury Park, Bournemouth.

Or at least that’s what we thought… Our conductor, Simon, had other ideas!

Band rehearsal for our autumn concert at St Thomas' Church

The band getting our last bit of practise in before the concert

After a full run-through of the concert programme at our Thursday evening rehearsal, we then spent part of Saturday afternoon practising and tweaking our playing until he had squeezed every last note out of us. Such is Simon’s drive for making sure every performance is our best.

When he felt we had rehearsed enough, it was time for a selection of pizzas and cakes waiting for us, rustled up by our own kitchen fairy (Nicola on clarinet).

Our autumn concert begins

After a welcome and well-deserved supper, we were ready for our evening concert.

The hall was full and the audience waiting in anticipation. When our opening number, Sogno Di Volare – the theme music from the game Civilization Vl – opened in an explosion of sound, we knew why we had spent so much time working to make it our best. The sound was stunning in a hall that had such great acoustics.

After that dramatic opening, it was straight into Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld where Simon invited the audience to dance in the aisles when we got to the Can Can!

Featuring some soloists…

If all this sounds too energetic, then the band took a back seat while some of our accomplished soloists were able to shine.

First up was SJ on tenor saxophone with an easy listening jazz number. Followed by Emma (on flute) and Sue (on clarinet) playing “The flower Duet” by Delibes which provided a great contrast to the music that had gone before.

Our final soloist of the evening was Tracey who played a very haunting rendition of “Unchained Melody” on the soprano saxophone.

The band accompaniment blended perfectly with the brilliant solo playing.

Audience listening to band play at autumn concert

Some audience members listening to us perform at St Thomas’ Church in Ensbury Park, Bournemouth

Just when the audience was relaxing into the music we rounded off the first half with two very different, but exciting, pieces.

First up was, appropriately for the month with Halloween in it, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera”. What a dramatic opening it was too with clarinet Sue’s son, Ryan, giving a dramatic narration to introduce the phantom, culminating in his mum letting out a blood curdling scream half way through the piece!

After all that drama and fright it was great to finish with a very light-hearted mash up of two great tunes: “When the Saints go Marching in” and the “Hallelujah Chorus”. The band and audience had a great time clapping to the rhythms.

I think both band and audience were then ready for a well-earned break!

The second half…

The second half of the concert continued with a range of music. From the opener “Raiders March” by John Williams, to “All Through the Night” and “It Had Better Be Tonight”. The latter two numbers were very ablely conducted by a colleague of Simon’s known as “G” (probably because no one can spell or say his real name, Gwilym, properly!) We are very grateful to G for his positive comments and encouragement in the short time he has known us.

After this we played a beautiful and emotional piece, based on a Scottish folk song arranged by Samuel Hazo. This showed the versatility of the band in being able to tackle such contrasting pieces.

The latter half of the concert took us through some very familiar tunes for everyone by way of a Beatles medley that the audience clearly enjoyed.

Sixteen pieces created a whirlwind of moods and emotions. Powerful, stirring, vigorous, jaunty, bouncy numbers contrasted plaintive, mournful, reflective compositions.” – Ian, audience member.

Our finale segued two very different pieces together with a Hans Zimmer piece “Roll Tide” from the film “Crimson Tide”. This piece finished with a section of the band singing the hymn “Eternal Father”.

Then what a contrast; with the exciting whirl through Bach’s Tocatta in D Minor” as Bach would never have imagined it! It was an outstanding performance from Chris on drums.

So ended a successful and memorable concert where, to quote our band leader, Nick, we played our socks off!

By Janet on clarinet

For more photos and videos of our autumn concert, check out our Facebook page.