It has become a tradition for Hadleigh Temple Band to present an annual concert to support the Mayor of Castle Point’s charity fund. Successive mayors have enjoyed the traditional ‘Last Night of the Proms’ style concert as local folk turn up to wear patriotic hats and wave union flags.
On March 2nd, the band turned out in force in their red festival tunics and were ably supported by the corps timbrel brigade and virtuoso euphonium soloist Nick Giles from Norwich.
Nick already has an impressive CV including having played with some of the most successful bands in the country: Fairey Engineering, Leyland, Grimethorpe, Brighouse & Rastrick and G.U.S. The evening’s compère was our own inimitable Major Geoff Ashdown, who, it must be said, at couple of points lapsed into long words such as those used in Old Time Music Hall. Ah, well!
The first half of the concert was in the mood of a traditional Salvation Army festival, complete with Bible reading and thought.
The band opened the evening by featuring the cornets and trombones in Dudley Bright’s ‘In Good Company’. Other favourites were ‘Treasures from Tchaikovsky’, ‘The Grand March from Aida’, ‘Excerpts from Les Misérables’, finishing the half with William Himes’ arrangement of Wagner’s ‘Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral.’
Nick’s contribution to this was the challenging solo ‘The Better World’ by Norman Bearcroft and Peter Graham’s reflective ‘A Time for Peace’.
Giving the band a bit of a rest from playing, the timbrels performed to ‘Assignment’ from a recording.
The interval gave time for a change of clothes. Off came the festival tunics and on went coloured shirts. No jacket required; fortunately it was quite warm in the hall. The ladies in the band turned out in their evening dresses. Major Ashdown decided to don a tuxedo and bow tie to lead the second half: a ‘Last Night of the Proms’ section.
The first item of the second half was listed as Elgar’s ‘Pomp and Circumstance No.1’ but it is better known as ‘Land of Hope and Glory.’
With a huge personality and a union flag to match, Major Geoff set the tone for the half by encouraging the audience to stand and take part whole-heartedly in the singing along to the band.
There was also the ‘Fantasia on British Sea Songs’, (for which Major Geoff wore a pirate hat), ‘Rule Britannia’ and ‘Jerusalem’. Giving some relief to the British music was Johann Strauss’s ‘Czech Polka’ and J.P. Sousa’s ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’, in which Dave Harrison took the challenging piccolo obbligato in his stride.
The timbrels presented their jaw-dropping ‘Just a Closer Walk with Thee’ and Nick Giles brought ‘Travelling Along’. Of particular note were the vocal soloists for ‘Rule Britannia’: mother and daughter Sue and Catherine Loftus.
The mayor, Councillor Peter Burch, came forward to express his enjoyment and thanks for the concert. The evening rounded off with a fanfare and the National Anthem.
Just a Closer Walk