Members of Newark and Sherwood Concert Band were delighted to be back on stage at the Palace Theatre, Newark, on Saturday 2nd October 2021.
The band opened the concert with George and Ira Gershwin's, Strike Up the Band, an apt choice for their first concert in over 600 days. This was followed by Jacob de Haan's Oregon, a fantasy piece that tells the story of the state of Oregon and its vast landscape.
In the first half of the concert, musical director Colum J. O'Shea took the audience on a journey through Lockdown. During the pandemic, NSCB recorded 33 virtual videos, including a musical Advent calendar, in the run-up to Christmas 2020.
In March 2020, following the Prime Ministers announcement to stay home and only go out for essential items, the band recorded its first virtual video, an arrangement of The Bare Necessities. A joint video with Stadtmusik Emmendingen of Abba's Thank you for the Music swiftly followed.
The first soloist for the evening was Sarah MacNish, principal clarinet, who chose to play the 'unofficial anthem of the NHS', Over the Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz.
One unforgettable 'hero' of the pandemic was Captain Sir Tom Moore, who raised over £32 million for the NHS by walking 100 lengths of his garden. On his 100th birthday, he achieved number 1 in the UK charts with Michael Ball, recording You'll Never Walk Alone and featuring the NHS Voices of Care Choir and Moore's spoken words.
The penultimate piece of the first half touched on the England football teams success at the European Championships, and the audience sang along to Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline.
An abridged version of Variations on 'Laudate Dominum' finished the first half. The band played the piece in full at the National Concert Band Festival in 2018, which earned it a platinum award.
The second half opened with the theme from the 2012 film The Avengers before introducing the second soloist of the evening Shelby Sutton.
Shelby is the bands solo euphonium player and chose to play Music of the Night from the hit musical Phantom of the Opera, the first of a trio of music from the west end.
Made famous by Barbra Streisand, the next piece was Don't Rain on My Parade from the 1964 musical Funny Girl, followed by Bring Him Home featuring trumpeter Glenn Brailsford on the Flugelhorn, from the musical Les Misérables.
As the evening drew to a close, the band performed Jeff Wayne's Eve of the War before slowing down to play the beautiful Welsh melody Dafydd y Garreg Wen (David of the White Rock).
The final item on the programme was Prince in Concert, which finished with an outstanding drum solo by the band's new young drummer Fin Brown, aged 9. Fin takes over the drum chair from Alex Daubney, who has recently moved to Leeds to study at the Leeds College of Music.
The evening finished with an encore of Bring Me Sunshine which featured surprise vocals from the Maestro himself, Colum O'Shea. The band's members were ecstatic to have performed to a live audience once again and whilst taking bows, the audience gave a standing ovation to show its appreciation.
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