"Wow!” was clearly heard after Colum O’Shea sang ‘Ave Maria’ when Newark and Sherwood Concert Band performed at Newark Twinning Association’s Last Night of the Proms on Saturday 27 February. I think this word aptly sums up the whole evening!
The programme was light and varied starting with ‘Amparito Roca’ by Spanish composer Jaime Teixidor before moving on to ‘The Light Cavalry Overture’ by Franz von Suppe. We then moved on to a bassoon solo, ‘Lucy Long’, performed by the band’s first bassoonist Richard Williams which was performed at the very first First Night of the Proms in 1895 conducted by none other than Sir Henry Wood. It’s been something of a journey for Richard who only joined the band in 2014 when he picked the bassoon up for the first time since he was at school over 30 years ago. He commented afterwards, “I feel such a sense of achievement. It does not seem possible that when I started playing again it was with the help of ‘Tune a Day’ and I am sure there were some people at the time wondering what on earth I was doing!”.
The programme also included well known favourites such as ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’, excerpts from ‘Mary Poppins’, ‘Nimrod’ and ‘The Floral Dance’. The first half ended with a rousing rendition of Paul Lovatt Cooper’s ‘Fire in the Blood’ which was originally a piece composed for the Salvation Army’s bands.
As with all Proms concerts, the second half was more traditional and culminated in the band playing traditional Proms classics including ‘Fantasia on British Sea Songs’ (which included a brilliantly played original cadenza by band member, Alan Walker), ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Pomp and Circumstance’. The audience were on their feet, singing at the tops of their voices and begging for more!
The evening was a resounding success in every respect and every member of the band was thrilled to be part of it. We have already been asked to perform at next year’s event and all we can say, without hesitation, is that we’d be delighted!
We have been inundated with positive testimonials from our Proms evening - here is just one of the many:
My Welsh family have asked that I pass on their thanks to all the band. They all had a fantastic night. They thought 'Ave Maria' and 'David of the white rock' was fantastic and it had a very profound effect bringing tears to their eyes!!!! You have a fab voice Colum!!!! The sexy Lucy number on the bassoon they were amazed at and it made them laugh! They couldn't believe you could make an instrument talk so much. They thoroughly enjoyed themselves so much and were amazed at the professional quality that they have decided they will come again next year so we have already sold 12 tickets!!!! Thankyou to you all!
You can find photos of the evening here and video on the Twinning Association website here