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British Army Brass Band

Conductors: Lt Col David Barringer & Cpt Brenden Wheeler
Guards Chapel
London
Friday 31st January


This concert gave the British Army Brass Band a chance to run out some of the items for what was their forthcoming trip to the USA. 

After the 'National Anthem' Lt Col David Barringer, himself a tuba player in the band's previous incarnation, explained the background to the group's formation.

The previous band was felt to be surplus to requirements when the Corps of Army music decided to form three all-brass combinations, but it has recently been reconstituted, consisting of 31 brass players and 5 percussion drawn from a wide range of bands.

Setting the scene

A revamped version of 'Walking with Heroes' set the scene as a narrator outlined some of the links between the UK and the USA.

Explaining that he had been looking for a piece that combined musical quality with approachability, they launched into a fine performance of 'Paganini Variations', tightly controlled and with striking runs, delicate playing and meandering subterranean tubas. The benefit of a second soprano was clear as they shared the demanding part between them.

As Brenden Wheeler took over the baton, the technique was further tested in Percy Grainger's 'Molly on the Shore', marked by some particularly brave pianissimos. Closing the second half with 'Fire in the Blood' also brought fine solos from cornet and euphonium, with excellent ensemble work from the four trombones.

Explaining that he had been looking for a piece that combined musical quality with approachability, they launched into a fine performance of 'Paganini Variations', tightly controlled and with striking runs, delicate playing and meandering subterranean tubas. The benefit of a second soprano was clear as they shared the demanding part between them.

Stunning duet

A short interval allowed them to run through the version of 'Caravan' that was to open the second half of their tour concerts, each section starring in turn.

L/Cpl Christian Dullea was the arranger for the stunning euphonium duet 'Gipsy Earrings' which he and S/Sgt John Storey presented. Gershwin's 'It's a Lovely Day Tomorrow' provided a calm interlude before the finale.

This was a real tour de force in the form of Philip Wilby's 'Pilgrim's Progress', complete with narrator, organ, solo trumpet and fanfare team. 

It made quite an impression in the elegant setting of the chapel, particularly when the six-man fanfare team presented the tune 'Monk's Gate' towards the end.

Peter Bale

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