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Band of the Scots Guards

Music from the Stage
Household Division Festival of Music
Conductor: Major Ian Johnson
The Guards Chapel, London
Friday 29th June

Fortuitously, this Scots Guards' concert was held in the open air, capitalising on the warm weather to attract a fine audience.  

Goff Richards' 'Stage Centre' provided a brisk opener, showing off the tone colours to good effect. 

Vocalists Lara Martins and Paul Tabone, currently performing in 'The Phantom of the Opera' were featured early in the programme to fit in with their performance times.

Lara sang first, with 'O Mio Babbino Caro' and 'L'Ascia ch'io Pianga' aided by exemplary accompaniment from the band, especially in the Handel, which favoured the delicacy of the woodwinds.

Fine form

The band currently has the luxury of two excellent bassoons, together with the fine flute playing of C/Sgt James Dutton, playing his final concert after 22 years with the Guards - and all three were on fine form throughout. 

Paul Tabone sang 'The Prayer' with keyboard accompaniment, switching seamlessly between English and Italian with a gorgeous falsetto ending. A powerful 'Nessun Dorma' led into the duet 'Time to Say Goodbye'.

The overture 'L'Italiana in Algieri' also brought the woodwind to the fore, although the solo oboe would have benefitted from amplification.

The band currently has the luxury of two excellent bassoons, together with the fine flute playing of C/Sgt James Dutton, playing his final concert after 22 years with the Guards - and all three were on fine form throughout. 

Highlights

The famous 'Slaves Chorus' from ‘Nabucco', occasionally used by Guard’s bands as a slow march, preceded one of the highlights of the evening, and a fine selection from 'The King and I'. Most of the familiar melodies were present in a well-crafted arrangement.

Although the allotted time was up, Major Johnson was given the go-ahead to continue and, after a brief interval, took up the bass guitar to join the band for 'The Red Baron' and 'The Best of Wind and Fire'. 

The former was in big band style, and would perhaps have been more effective if the sections had been seated closer together, but the final item had the audience clapping along, with great work from the trombone section and a central flugel solo that was an absolute corker to round off a fine concert event.

Peter Bale



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