Concert at The Royal Marines Museum Southsea

The band played their second concert of the year at their spiritual home on the evening of Thursday 20th Sept. Normally the Mountbatten Suite on a Thursday night is strictly reserved for the band as it's their weekly rehearsal night.

However, twice a year we open the doors to the general public for a special night of music for all to enjoy, and the packed audience certainly did that on this warm September evening judging by the smiles on peoples faces and the applause we received on completion.

The evening was made particularly special by two VIP guests. Firstly we had the Band's President and former First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jock Slater GCB LVO DL RN who was accompanied by the Deputy Commandant General Royal Marines, Brigadier Bill Dunham OBE RM. Both gentlemen were greeted and escorted by the Band's own Chairman, Major Paddy Dunn RM and wife Annie.

Dave Cole had slightly tweaked the music programme from our concert on Sunday 16th Sept at Andover, to suit our audience and the venue and it proved to be a very wise selection indeed.

The concert opened with a tribute to the First Sea Lord which is a short piece aptly entitled "A Fanfare for the First Sea Lord" written by our Dir of Music Dave Cole some time ago when he was a serving officer. I'm sure that Sir Jock enjoyed that one, even if it did come as a complete surprise. (We purposely did not mention it in the programmes!)

After the National Anthem, we opened the show with that most famous of famous marches, Entry of the Gladiators by Fucik to get the feet tapping!

This was followed by the Marvin Hamlisch Showcase once again. (See details of this in our Andover report!) It had the desired effect as the applause reflected. Then when Paul Coker came in to perform his Trombone solo with What a Wonderful World the decibels of applause rose still further. Well done Paul. A truly great performance and performer!

Much praise is also due to Eric Payne (Alto Sax) who almost made his instrument speak with a super rendition of that famous and wonderful, haunting melody Aranjuez by Rodrigo. Our thanks to serving RM Capt Pete Curtis for such brilliant solo arrangements for both musicians.

A good arrangement is key to making a good melody sound even better. How fortunate we are then to have so many excellent arrangers for the band - both via the RM serving personnel and within our band too. Dave Cole himself is a renowned musical arranger for a host of wind bands across the nation. Not everyone knows however that Dave is also themusical director and arranger for all of the music we hear at the Annual BBCTV Armistice Parade from the Royal Albert Hall!

Within our ranks we also have Colin Campbell (Baritone Sax) who has already completed 3 or 4 arrangements for the band and this night saw yet another example of his clever writing with a jazz version of High Society that brought the house down!

I won't list every single piece in the programme, but the stand out pieces for certain seemed to be the film score to Lawrence of Arabia (dedicated to Trumpet Player Greg Morgan's Mum whose birthday it was and who was in the audience!) The ABBA sing along is always going to be a popular choice, and who could not like the wonderful John Williams ET film music? Barely a dry eye in the house by the time we'd finished! Still, I think we sent everyone home happy when we played out with a real big "Hoe Down" and where we could all let our hair down and give it some "wellie" with Hootenanny!! This piece featured every section of the band in one form or another. Great stuff and we all enjoyed playing it too!

Altogether a great night and rounded off with all of the RN and RM Regimental Marches!

Next up is a long trip to Margate on Sun Oct 7th!

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