A number of civic leaders were in attendance at Hadleigh Temple’s sixth Annual Festival of Remembrance, together with representatives from the Royal British Legion and the Air Training Corps.
The event was organised as usual by Robin Bryant and sponsored by the local firm of Stibbards.
After a two-year gap, the RAF Wyton Area Voluntary Band, under their conductor Graham Sheldon, was welcomed as the guest section as they marched in briskly to the melody of the ‘RAF March Past’, joining Hadleigh Temple Band to play it through to its conclusion.
The various flags entered to the more sedate tones of ‘The British Legion March’ before the rousing singing of the ‘National Anthem’.
Following on from this year’s Royal Wedding, and with the Wyton Area Band being based in Cambridgeshire, it was appropriate that their first solo item should be Malcolm Arnold’s march ‘H.R.H. The Duke of Cambridge’. Written as a celebration of British military music, the fifes and drums and fanfare team were both depicted, with several quirky touches characteristic of the composer.
Classic euphonium solo
This was followed by a confident rendition of ‘Grandfather’s Clock’ by Wing Commander Kevin Mackie, a nurse by professional and currently the manager of a hospital in Peterborough.
The band then provided the accompaniment for Hadleigh Temple Timbrels as they presented a display to ‘Just a Closer Walk with God’. The fourteen timbrellists sang the words of the song in harmony, and trumpet, clarinet and trombone were featured as soloists.
Peter Graham’s ‘London Celebration’ has proved a popular addition to the repertoire of Hadleigh Temple Band, with its mixture of familiar airs and atmospheric music.
The audience joined in where they could, despite being caught out at times by the suddenly changes of tempo.
Hadleigh Temple Songsters then took centre stage, opening with Richard Phillips’ arrangement of ‘Count your Blessings’, the four-handed piano accompaniment being provided by Claire Howell and Carl Carter.
Contrast was provided by Richard Smallwood’s ‘Total Praise’, based round the words of Psalm 121, ending in a final, resounding Amen.
Flautist Hayley Ward, despite having to overcome the effects of a heavy cold, movingly sang ‘I Dreamed a Dream’, before John Cacavas’ symphonic presentation of themes from ‘My Fair Lady’.
This showed off the colours of the band to excellent effect, notably the bass clarinet and oboe.
At a rehearsal for a massed band concert, the intended xylophone soloist was unable to attend, but principal clarinet Deborah Biggs stepped into the breach, and has been featured as xylophone soloist ever since!
She made an excellent job of ‘The Big Dipper’, especially bringing out the cheeky humour of the final section, as it grew faster and faster.
Following a vote of thanks, Hadleigh Temple Band quietened the mood with ‘I Vow to Thee, My Country’ in preparation for the Service of Remembrance.
Service of Remembrance
Graham Sheldon led the combined bands in ‘Nimrod’, and a drum-head altar was prepared during the first hymn. The colours of The Salvation Army and the RAF Ensign were laid on the drums, then WWII veteran Alan Brend solemnly placed the Hadleigh Book of Remembrance on top of the makeshift altar.
Major David Woodman led the service of remebrance, and it was rather poignant to hear the explosions of the various fireworks displays in the area during the two minutes’ silence.
At the close of the service the massed bands played the last section of ‘Pomp and Circumstance March No 4’, before the standards left the stage to a reprise of ‘The British Legion March’.
As a final homage to the airmen of bomber command, the massed bands ended the evening with Eric Coates’ ‘The Dam Busters March’.
With acknowledgement to 4barsrest.com