40th Anniversary Concert

On Saturday 19th November 2022 the band came together with current and past members at Wherstead Park to put together a celebratory concert for the band’s 40th Anniversary celebrations.

The event had been over a year in the planning with past members invited back to join the band for a workshop during the day and concert in the evening. The concert would feature a ‘massed band’ portion where the past and current members played pieces together under the direction of our own Musical Director, Nigel Cooper and also guest conductors.

Rehearsals for the massed band feature went well creating an impressive sound and presence in the main hall of Wherstead Park with over 50 musicians coming together to play.

We were very lucky to be joined by two guest conductors on the day, firstly Ian Johnson who was Musical Director to the band in 2012 and secondly, Stephanie Redgate, who kindly agreed to conduct the band in memory of her late Father, Stephen Kenna. Stephen was Musical Director to the band from 1990 to 2004 and played an enormous role in the band’s development and history throughout the years, we were thrilled Stephanie agreed not only to join us for the concert, but also to conduct some pieces.

Following an afternoon of rehearsals, the band and guests had tea together which allowed time for old faces to catch up and new faces to be introduced. Family and friends started to arrive for the evening concert and at 7:30pm it was baton down for the concert to begin.

The concert opened with the band playing the Festival March, Milestone followed by the audience favourite, 633 Squadron. Then the first of our soloist features for the night with the piece Arabesque featuring Solo Tenor Horn player, Linda Purdy. Following this, we were lucky enough to have received messages of support from world famous Composer, Edward Gregson and Musical Director of the world famous Cory Band, Philip Harper which we played for the band and audience. The band then played their newly commissioned piece, Field of the Cloth of Gold, composed for the band by Philip Harper himself.

Next up was another of the band’s talented players, Garry Smith playing tuba solo, Friend Like Me, a feature which has proved popular in other concerts. The band played a beautiful rendition of Water of Tyne and then to follow, another incredible soloist. It isn’t often you find a Timpani solo and fortunately, the band are very lucky to have the very talented Steve Moulton in their Percussion line up. Steve played an impressive performance of the solo, Aurora on Timpani. The band then rounded off the first half with the powerful, Turris Fortissima.

The second half of the concert took on a different format featuring the guest conductors and the introduction of all the past players to create a massed band. The first massed band piece, conducted by our own MD Nigel, was the march Death or Glory followed by Toccata from Suite Gothique. The band then introduced the first guest conductor for the evening, Stephanie Redgate who conducted the massed band through the firm favourite, Let’s Face the Music then the beautiful hymn, Crimond. The second guest conductor was Ian Johnson who conducted the massed band through the Florentine March and a wonderful rendition of Londonderry Air.

It was then time for the 40th Anniversary Concert to come to a close. Following words of thanks from Band Chairman Keith, the band played Bugler’s Holiday featuring a massed cornet section and then finished off the concert with the beautiful but powerful, Elsa’s Procession to the Minster.

The 40th Anniversary Concert was an incredibly special evening for the band and the day was a brilliant opportunity to bring current and past members together. Special thanks go to Nigel Cooper, the band’s MD for bringing together the programme and for coordinating a group of 50+ musicians. Thanks also to our Guest Conductors Ian Johnson and Stephanie Redgate, to the past members who travelled to join us for the day and to Wherstead Park for hosting the band for the day.


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