‘Twas the night for a fantastic Wimborne Christmas concert

‘Twas the night on Saturday 17 December when around 300 people came to our special Christmas concert at Wimborne Minster.

Band rehearsing at Wimborne Minster

Band gathered to rehearse in Wimborne Minster before the concert

The concert was full of surprises which the audience loved! Santa made a special appearance and jumped out the chimney aka the pulpit! There was a special narration of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and we got the audience singing some traditional carols.

Our programme featured the flute section in The Nutcracker, the brass in a dixie rendition of Jingle Bells, and the clarinets in a bouncy polka piece. We invited children up the front to jingle instruments to A Starry Night. Plus we played lots of festive pieces including a special arrangement called Minor Alterations, which consisted of festive tunes with a twist.

Time for a quick rehearsal before the concert

Candlelight Carol music on stand at Wimborne MinsterWe started filing in to the Minster from 4:30pm to help set up the stage. Everyone got involved and there was a lot of preparation to make the stage and set look Christmassy ready for the show. We played through a few challenging bits to make sure we were all in sync. We also practised the narration with the ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas music. This all helped us get used to the acoustics in the church too.

When we finished rehearsing it was time for a quick change and we scoffed our packed teas and before we knew it, it was 7:20pm and we were ready to tune up.

Let the concert commence

The concert kicked off with a drum roll and us wishing our audience a very merry Christmas in yes you guessed it, We Wish You A Merry Christmas. This was closely followed by us taking a metaphorical trip on a bus in a fantastic piece called Doyen – which had elements that really sounded like a bus going along the road. It reminded us a bit of our tour to Falmouth! Then we featured the flute section in three movements from The Nutcracker, also known as Casse Noisette, and the flutes loved this piece.

Band rehearsing at Wimborne MinsterNext up was a brilliant piece featuring members of our brass section who stood up while playing Jingle Bells in Dixie. It was upbeat and jolly, and really put a smile on people’s faces. Then we played The Christmas Song which is a piece featured on many festive albums. It brings a warmth as you hear the hearty music, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.

It was then the turn of our clarinet section to take the floor. They all stood up and played a very fast Pie in the Face Polka. It’s a tune that makes you bob up and down and the clarinets certainly did that! We ended the first half with A Christmas Festival, a fabulous arrangement featuring lots of snippets from much-loved Christmas tunes.

Christmas bling in the second half

After a short break we were ready in the wings with our Christmas hats on. We’d already sneakily decorated our stands with tinsel during the break while people were getting their free mince pies and festive drink.

Band rehearsing at Wimborne Minster

A view from the percussion section during rehearsal

We opened with Celtic Carol which had a fast version of Greensleeves in it, underpinned by a strong bass line. Then followed Minor Alterations. This is an unusual piece as it features lots of tunes you recognise, but with a twist being in a minor key. It included Deck the Halls, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Jingle Bells, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and Chim Chim Cher-ee from Mary Poppins too – but not quite as we know them!

Next up was the popular The Wizard of Oz followed by traditional carols which involved some audience participation. We sang Hark the Herald Angels Sing, While Shepherd’s Watched, and We Three Kings, which sounded powerful in the Minster. We kept the pace calm with a beautiful piece called Candlelight Carol. Then it was time for children to come up the front and jingle some bells to A Starry Night.

Our final Christmassy pieces were special. The piece de resistance – ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – was narrated wonderfully by Ryan. Ryan told the story of when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse… While the band played around the story. It’s a cleverly composed piece where whatever happens in the story is reflected in the music, and it’s truly magical.

We sent our audience off into the evening feeling very festive after our finale, A Most Wonderful Christmas. We loved the concert and we hope our audience did too.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Love, the Bournemouth and District Concert Band ­čÖé┬á

By Emma on flute

Check out our 2021 concert in Wimborne Minster