The Helen Rollason Cancer Centre Appeal


Enfield Citadel Band of the Salvation Army
James Williams
The Williams Fairey Band
Derek Broadbent

Brentwood Centre, Essex
31st March 2001

This event was organised and inspired by David Buckle, a local government officer. Although no longer a player he still has association with the local Salvationist movement and has great respect and admiration for the top bands. David's son played Soprano for Enfield Citadel and his rendition of the solo in Sousa's Stars & Stripes was very impressive, no doubt he will soon be signed up with a top championship band.

An expectant audience of over 900 was in attendance to listen the band fresh from their regional success and now ranked number one by Brass Band World magazine. There was some disappointment that the newly appointed Howard Snell was not at the helm but the band seemed in the safe hands of Derek Broadbent. The choice of programme was not particularly inspiring and was less challenging than would be expected from a band of this calibre - perhaps limited rehearsal time with the freelance conductor being the reason.

The Stockport band opened their performance with Bill Geldard's version of Skyliner, but the middle section of the band were uncomfortable with the rhythm at the opening and the overall effect was unconvincing.

Steve Miles is the latest occupant of the troubled euphonium chair and he was tested with Philip Sparke's Pantomine. Acoustically the Brentwood Centre is not of the best standard and the piece just didn't seem to work in this environment and this audience. There were a few errors in delivery and the technical dexterity of Mr Miles playing didn't carry across the sports hall.

The Fairey sound and maturity was much in evidence with Irish Blessing by Joyce Eliers-Bacak. This piece was played with feeling and style and the tonal quality was clearly that of a class act.

The highlight of their performance was the Peter Graham piece Gael Force that concluded the first half. Each section conveyed the overall and individual talent of this famous band and first half ended with the audience asking for more. Unfortunately due to a minor error in communication the organiser's subsequent announcement of the interval curtailed Mr Broadbent's start of an encore.

Veteran bandmaster, James Williams, was in fine form and seemed to relish the big occasion and his return from retirement to the Enfield Band. The Salvationists again chose a safe programme. They opened with Forward 2000 by Martin Corder and included Truth Aflame by Norbury and a stirring performance of Heaton's brilliant Tocatta.

David Daws on cornet gave a stunning performance of Golden Slippers (Bearcroft) and one could only marvel at the big man's stamina. This is a world class player.

Throughout their performance the stagecraft of the Enfield band was stunning and the precision of their standing and turning to face the audience whilst maintaining the quality of their playing was remarkable.

The two bands played the last few numbers as a massed band and opened with Peter Graham's arrangement of Olympic Fanfare by the John Williams. There were a few intonation problems and the balance never seemed quite right, however the overall effect was satisfying.

James Gilbert's arrangement of Entry of The Boyards, though an unusual choice, was well received and Enfield's principal euphonium was particularly impressive.

The concert ended with Eric Ball's, The Kingdom Triumphant; again, as can be expected with massed bands, the balance was never quite there and some minor errors were detected in the performance. However the combined quality and texture of the two bands overcame this and the piece was received well by an appreciative audience.

Keith Williams