A Royal Tribute

The Band, Bugles, Pipes and Drums of the Royal Irish Regiment
Conductor: Bandmaster Richard Douglas MBE
Waterfront Hall
Saturday 15th April

Dedicated to the late monarch Queen Elizabeth II, and supporting the Army Benevolent Fund, this cleverly conceived 'Royal Tribute’, featured The Band, Bugles, Pipes and Drums of the Royal Irish Regiment joined by several talented local artistes and groups.

These included singers Clara Wilson, Sophie Giraudeau and Willie Donald, as well as choirs from Ballyclare High School and Regent House for a concert that gave the opportunity for them to act out various scenes from war time days before breaking into song. 

Belfast’s fine Waterfront Hall was packed for a typical military opener with the splendid Gordon Jacob fanfare introduction to the ‘National Anthem’. 

Different element

It meant that the vocal numbers offered a different element to standard concert format, with the excellent Clara Wilson singing a medley from ‘Songs that won the War’  and ‘Hallelujah’  - the latter a super arrangement to include the sounds of the Pipes and Drums.

The band’s own Jonny Sproule brought the house down with Peter Graham’s ‘Bravura’ – playing with a confident showmanship that included a clever nod to the regimental march ‘Killaloe’ in the cadenza.

Sophie Giraudeau joined her former teacher for the angelic duet ‘Pie Jesu’, which also provided a moment to slow the tempo, before producing a cracking rendition of ‘Skyfall’ which certainly was a licence to thrill the audience. 

Some traditional folk songs came with Willie Donald singing ‘Take Me Home’  and ‘Will Ye Go, Lassie, Go?’ whilst the choirs filled the hall with their balanced sounds on repertoire highlighting their versatility. 

The band’s own Jonny Sproule brought the house down with Peter Graham’s ‘Bravura’ – playing with a confident showmanship that included a clever nod to the regimental march ‘Killaloe’ in the cadenza.

A concert of familiar repertoire delivered in an innovative fashion closed with ‘Be Thou my Vision’,  ‘Sunset’ and the Regimental March ‘Killaloe’. 

George McAuley

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