Tickets had sold out earlier than ever this year for the annual Christmas concert and a packed Sub Rooms enjoyed a very Christmassy programme from Chalford Band.
Unusually, the show started with a march: The Wonder of Christmas by Peter Graham. The Christmas Song by Torme & Wells followed, with some super playing from Emily Godwin. The sprightly Star Carol by John Rutter came next, before the audience were encouraged to their feet to sing along with A Carol Fantasy – which they did rather well!
The Youth Band took to the stage with Alan Fernie’s arrangement of Let It Snow. The next piece, Gøta by Peder Karlsson, was performed by the senior band the previous year – which goes to show how capable the Youth Band are. They finished their section with Ding Dong Christmas, by Derek Broadbent.
The Senior Band started their set with a rousing fanfare: Christians Awake by Paul Lovatt-Cooper. He also arranged the next piece, a traditional Ukranian Carol, The Carol of the Bells. Philip Sparke’s big band style arrangement of Winter Wonderland came next, before a Nordic Polska. Although this also featured in last year‘s concert, there have been several new players introduced, largely from the Academy Band, and it’s a testament to them that this year’s performance was just as good. The band’s president, John Hemming, hasn’t been well this year, so the next piece, A Glenn Miller Christmas, was dedicated by Steve Tubb to John. Anyone who knows John wouldn’t have been surprised at the banter from him in the audience that followed – we wish him well for 2020. The set closed with Stephen Bulla’s Symphonic Highlights from Frozen.
After the break came the act – OMG! (Enough said!)
The combined band took to the stage again, for a couple of Christmas favourites, Fairytale of New York & Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. Steve announced the end of year award winners – this year he has encouraged some players from the Academy Band to step up to the Senior Band, and he highlighted the success of this, calling out all of those younger players. Jaz Williams was named Young Player of the Year, and Dave Gandy Senior Band Person of the Year.
The “Showstopper Finale” was Gavin Somerset’s arrangement of excerpts from Les Misérables. The audience demanded more, so Chris Jones and Will Hurn led the band with Do You Hear The People Sing, also from Les Misérables.