Charity Concert

St Sebastian Wokingham Brass band Mayors Charity Concert in aid of Wokingham & District Association for the Elderly

Following a respectable result at the L&SC areas, the St. Sebastian Wokingham band got their concert chops back to to raise money for the Mayor of Wokingham’s chosen charity, Wokingham & District Association for the Elderly (WADE).

Themed on stage and screen, the concert begun with Bill Conti’s heavyweight ‘Fanfare for Rocky’, which made way for the more traditional overture ‘The Magic Flute’.

First of the band’s soloist for the night was Repiano Cornet, Damon Emes playing the theme from the 1981 film ‘Born on the 4th of July’. Not being a feel good film, Damon encapsulates the haunting mood and raises the bar for the soloists to follow.

Stephen Roberts whimsical arrangement of ‘Putting on the Ritz’ provided a light relief for the audience and band alike before euphonium soloists Humphrey Haynes and James Kelloway performed Bizet’s Deep Inside the Sacred Temple from the opera “The Pearl Fishers”. Both soloists blessed with rich beautiful tones complimented each other perfectly and the luscious harmonies just sang as if Domingo and Pavarotti were there in person.

Leading the the way into the interval was the atmospheric epic ‘Barbarian Horde’ from the film Gladiator. Describing the build up to and including the gladiatorial battles of the victorious Roman wars, Hans Zimmer’s score can but make you feel a part of the action.

Following the interval, Kenneth Alford’s ‘Colonel Bogey’ featured in the film ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’ provided a rousing beginning to the second half. It was now back to the operatic stage with Soprano soloist Wayne Filer performing the emotional “Vesti La Guibba” from” I Pagliacci otherwise known as ‘On With the Motley’.

Allowing the audience to compose themselves after Wayne’s pulling of the heart-strings, the band let rip with Goff Richards’ energetic ‘Breezin’ Down Broadway’. Following this tour de force it was time to remember the recent passing of the local hero to many, trumpeter Derek Watkins. Throughout his lengthy career, Derek was the only person to be a part of every James Bond movie, so it was fitting to play a bond theme with Philip Sparke’s new arrangement of the blockbuster ‘Skyfall’.

Final soloist of the evening was trombonist and band chairman Paul MacNeill performing the most recorded song of the 20th century at over 1500 recordings, Hoagy Carmichael’s ‘Stardust’. A somewhat tenuous link to stage & screen, the song featured in the background on a radio in the film ‘The Battle of Britain’. MD Lee Woodward certainly did his homework, or did he make it up? (answers on a five pound note please!)

Time for the finale, and back to the opera. Wagner’s ‘Elsa’s Procession to the Minster’ being a favourite of the band, was the perfect close to the concert. Following a lengthy applause and standing ovation, the Mayor of Wokingham thanked the band for all their hard work and support throughout his tenure as Mayor.

All that was left was to once again let rip with Philip Harper’s arrangement of the TV theme ‘Hawaii 5-0’, complete with mexican waves, a fantastic, entertaining finale if there ever was one.

It was a great performance, especially given limited rehearsal time. The band continues to grow and the soloists are fantastic. Thanks to all members for all your hard work, I’m really proud of you all.
MD Lee Woodward.

A special mention has to go to our deps for the evening, thank you for being a part of the evening and being so brilliant, we wouldn’t have been able to do it with out you.

We have also been told that through the concert and the generous audience, we managed to raise £968. A massive thanks to all who came and ‘dug deep’.

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