Most who experienced the truly remarkable concert featuring the Royal Marines Association Concert Band and the mighty James Morrison at the Assembly Hall, Worthing on Sunday 26th June will surely proclaim the evening a landmark event in the history of this forward-thinking band!
Indeed if you were unfortunate in missing this spectacle, then you passed up a breathtaking treat which will remain in the hearts and minds of many a player and spectator for years to come.
The band’s director of music, Major (Retd.) Tony Smallwood programmed a robust, military-themed opening celebrating bravery and triumph over land and sea. Joined by the Corps of Drums from the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Collingwood, the programme included Sir Vivian Dunn’s marches, Soldiers of the Sea and Famous Songs of the British Isles, which led aptly into the immediately recognisable Suppé overture, Light Cavalry.
To this point matching the quality and expectation of regular RMA Concert Band supporters, hereafter the audience was transported to even greater heights. The introduction to the mighty James Morrison revealed a taste of his astonishing instrumental mastery as he joined the RMA trumpeters in Fanfare for the Common Man and then the full concert band in Johnson’s arrangement of Symphonic Animation. Yet if you amazed at the astonishing skill and musicality of this world-renowned artist as he moved effortlessly from trumpet to soprano saxophone for his solo spots within this arrangement, so too will your breath have been taken away by the rhythm and style of the whole band, perhaps as you have never heard it before.
And so to the second half… yet more variety and contrast from the musical treats to come. Now backed by the Royal Marines Association Big Band, James Morrison showed true magic in the smoothness of his trombone playing and the lyrical purity of a euphonium, which he borrowed ad hoc before our very eyes!
Audience and band were then treated to the full brilliance of James Morrison as a jazz musician and all round entertainer. Joined on stage by his sons William and Harry, he combined his passion and impact on music education by revealing to the audience a musical journey through features of his own formative years and development. Equally at home on keys as well as the hitherto featured brass and wind instruments, the whole theatre was transported into what could have been any one of the world’s most stylish jazz clubs!
So how should a concert of this uniqueness and quality finish? How else than in true classic and ceremonial style; the Sir Vivian Dunn march, Cockleshell Heroes followed by Prelude and Sunset, Rule Britannia and, of course, A Life on the
The Royal Marines Association Concert Band is currently recording a new CD – Soldiers of the Sea. Look out for this latest release coming soon!