The band paid their very first visit to the splendid new and compact Lights Theatre Andover on Sunday 16th Sept. Clearly the word had got around that the RMACB were coming to town and what a pleasure it was to be greeted by, and to play in front of such an enthusiastic packed house too.
Once again we played a good comprehensive mix of music for all to enjoy and obviously no one left disappointed – if the rapturous applause received after almost every item was anything to go by! The volume increased even more to whistles & shouts for “encore” after we’d played the last note of the concert with A Life on the Ocean Wave !
The programme was carefully planned by our Director of Music, Dave Cole, to include a good selection of film music, musical theatre, marches and a couple of older classics such as Eric Coate’s famous Covent Garden from his London Everyday Suite, and one of Haydn Wood’s most enjoyable nautical rhapsodies, The Seafarer.
One piece that Dave selected was a tribute to the sadly and recently departed Mavin Hamlisch (68), whose compositions for film & stage are legendary. What a tragedy to lose such a brilliant composer so early in his life. His body of work includes the famous adaptation of Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer, Streisand’s The Way We Were, the co-written Bond themes with Carole Bayer Sager, Nobody Does It Better & The Spy Who Loved Me. Who can forget the music of The Chorus Line, Sophie’s Choice and Ordinary People. As well as being such a fine composer Marvin was also a great arranger and renowned conductor. He was one of only two composers, (the other being Richard Rodgers), to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and a Tony award. He also won two Golden Globes and a Pulitzer prize! Needless to say we only had time to play just a few of his most memorable pieces and how the audience showed their appreciation for The Marvin Hamlisch Showcase!
Other highlights of the concert included Purcell’s Trumpet Tune and Air featuring our Principal Trumpet player and former Professor at the RM School of Music, Jon Yates. (See picture above). Jon even discovered that he had a fan attending the concert, who as a former sailor, clearly remembered him playing on board HMS Eagle in the ship’s RM Band !
Another solo given by the brilliant Trombone section leader Dr Paul Coker was a clever arrangement by current serving RM Capt Pete Curtis of “What a Wonderful World” for which Paul received a suitable ovation!
A piece that will generally be guaranteed to “bring the house down”, was Leroy Anderson’s Buglers’ Holiday, expertly performed and at a ferocious pace by 3 of our trumpet section, Jon Yates, Alan Flood and Roger Hammond…” Phew and thanks Dave!” they were heard to say on completion. (At least, we think that’s what they said !?)
After the interval and following our opening piece (Covent Garden) it was the turn of our lead Alto Saxophone player Eric Payne to take centre stage for his beautiful rendition of one of Michel Legrand’s most famous hits, “What are you doing for the rest of your Life?” from the film Happy Ending. Needless to say Eric fully deserved the credit he warmly received from this appreciative audience including the lady whose birthday it was!
Amongst many other pieces in the programme, Dave dedicated the theme from 633 Squadron to those brave airmen of Bomber Command and mentioned that there will also be a big tribute to them at this years annual Armistice Parade at the Royal Albert Hall in November. (Dave is also the musical director for this huge televised event.)
We rounded off the film music with that unforgettable score for “ET”. I’m sure there were one or two tears in the house as the memory of ET being reunited with his spaceship came flooding back! There might even have been some within the band – if any were brave enough to admit it!?
The concert concluded with all of the regimental marches including The Royal Navy’s Hearts of Oak, the RM slow march Preobrajensky, Sarie Marais (the RM Commando’s Quick March) and, of course, the Royal Marines’ A Life on the Ocean Wave !