This concert was given in response to the Lord Lieutenant’s Appeal for the cathedral’s urgent restoration programme. By way of introduction our President, Admiral Sir Jock Slater GCB LVO DL, explained a little of the band’s history since forming in 2006 and the fact that it comprises mostly very senior musicians with some 1,800 years of musical experience between them!
The band opened appropriately with music from the 1st World War “Take me back to dear old blighty!” quickly followed by Principal Trumpet Jon Yates’s excellent playing of Hamlisch’s “Through the eyes of love” that, like many other pieces played during the evening, sounded perfect in the amazing acoustics that the cathedral offers. Lt Sam Hairsine RM then took up the baton to conduct the combined Military Wives Choirs in a set of songs all superbly arranged.
Their “I’m gonna wash that man right out of my hair!” from South Pacific was a great example with more to come after the interval. Capt Dave Cole then invited the audience to sing along to his arrangement of some of the more memorable 1st World War songs cleverly filtered into a musically scored medley. And then on throughout the remainder of the evening during which the band’s programme was once again many and varied culminating in Sibelius’s wonderful Tone Poem “Finlandia” which, as may be imagined, suited the cathedral’s acoustics perfectly – as did the earlier timpani playing by our brilliant percussionist Helen Saunders in the title track of “Lawrence of Arabia”.
The choirs were once again excellent and their brilliant rendering of “Rhythm of Life” from Sweet Charity was faultless. They completed their performance with Michael Mc Dermott’s arrangement of “Eternal Father” which they sang very powerfully indeed: it was extremely uplifting for all of us particularly the audience – well done Lt Sam Hairsine and those lovely ladies. All in all, another superb concert greatly enjoyed by all who attended this special fundraising evening.