A gloriously bright summer’s day dawned for the Royal Marines Association Concert Band’s visit to the Alexandra Theatre on the seafront in Bognor on Sunday 6th September. This concert, definitively billed as a Last Night of the Proms spectacular, opened with some nautical favourites contrasted by well-chosen classical masterpieces. These included the beautifully lyrical Ave Maria by Caccini played as an oboe solo by Sian Brace, a full band version of Greensleeves, and the mighty and majestic symphonic poem, Finlandia by Sibelius, as the closing number for the first half.
Special mention, however, should be given to two further soloists: Steve Tanner impressed the audience with his swift finger work and unmistakeably powerful piccolo sound in The Shanghai Sailor, and Amanda Goldthorpe-Hall showed her impressive versatility, leading the audience in a wonderful reminiscence in Songs That Won the War then later filling the packed auditorium with her rendition of Nessun Dorma, sensitively accompanied by the band.
And as for fitting the bill…well, the finale certainly did not disappoint. Opening this last part of the concert with a locally patriotic number, Sussex by the Sea, the band launched into their own version of Fantasia on British Sea Songs before being re-joined by Amanda in Jerusalem. Following some time for reflection in Prelude and Sunset, she returned again to lead in Land of Hope and Glory, the central theme of the band’s Britannic Salute arrangement.