A sellout audience packed into the Stroud Subscription Rooms for an evening’s entertainment as Chalford Band marked the end of a successful 2017 with an eclectic mix of new and old music, along with Sebastian Tubb’s “directorial debut”.
Compere Pete Hendy introduced the combined Youth and Academy bands for their opening set, starting with concert opener “Starlight” by Alan Fernie – an enterprising composition that had several Senior Band players wishing that they could have played it! The concert then got fully into the Christmas mood, with “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, “Christmas Swing” and “Ding Dong Christmas”
One of the reasons that all Chalford bands maintain such a high standard is the influx of new young players into the organisation, and so the Junior Band got an outing in their “Stars of Tomorrow” slot, conducted by Bev Godwin. Their set of Christmas standards rightly received probably the loudest applause of the night.
After a quick seating change it was the turn of the Senior Band, opening with Ray Farr’s arrangement of Prokofiev’s “Troika”, before the lights dimmed for John Rutter’s “Candlelight Carol”. The concert then took a more serious turn – the senior band are due to compete at the Butlin’s Mineworkers’ Festival in early January, with the test piece “Renaissance” by Peter Graham, and the band took the opportunity to have an early public performance. It was well received, with huge applause at the end. “Fly Me to the Moon” lightened the mood, before a medley of songs dedicated to Roald Dahl called “The World’s Greatest Storyteller”, featuring a classy solo from new Principal Euphonium Stephen Parker.
The second half started with Steve Tubb’s alter ego Sebastian Tubb introducing an extract from “The Murder at Haversham Hall” – there then followed several farcical scenes which kept the audience well amused.
After another seating rejig (by the “band’s highly paid roadies”) the combined Chalford bands were on stage, starting with a creative arrangement of the “The Holly and The Ivy” by Douglas Court, followed by “Last Christmas” arranged by Darrol Barry, and the ever popular “Fairy Tale of New York”, arranged by Steve Tubb himself.
Before the final item it was time for the awards. Steve Tubb wholeheartedly thanked the audience for their support, then surprised the young players by first presenting Tuba player Liam with a refurbished instrument, then announcing Sam Williams as young player of the year. The bandman of the year award (selected by the senior band players) was presented to Derrick Witts, Chairman of the band.
Following a stirring “Christmas Finale” by Paul Lovatt-Cooper, an encore was demanded, so the band performed Derek Broadbent’s arrangement of “Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree”, with Steve giving the baton to a more than enthusiastic audience member.