On Sunday 22nd May the Royal Marines Association Concert Band were reunited once again in concert with the MGC Choir. The mutual fondness and friendship shared over many years between band and choir members was highlighted through the warmth and appreciation each showed for individual choir and band contributions to the concert.
The band’s director of music Major (retd) Tony Smallwood aptly programmed for the band some popular favourites such as an arrangement of the soundtrack from the film ET, a compilation of BBC Sports Themes and a rousing arrangement for band of the classic tone poem, Finlandia by Sibelius. Indeed these choices complimented well the choir’s keenness to embrace some more modern arrangements with band accompaniment such as their Take That pop selection and Snow Patrol’s Run and contrast these with classics like the choral favourite Cantique de Jean Racine and Karl Jenkins’ Benedictus from The Armed Man.
How moving also to experience the rekindling of a further beautiful friendship as the choir welcomed to the stage the German choral ensemble BelCanto with their conductors Hans-Albert and Ingo Jahn. The outstanding quality of this carefully selected choir provided a veritable enrichment to the concert. MGC Choir first hosted a German choir from Bonn in 1977, who on this visit performed at Portsmouth Guildhall with members of the Royal Marines Band.
Having witnessed first hand the strength of friendship and musical unity in future years through several very memorable visits to Germany as a former choir member myself, I, like many, felt privileged and delighted to hear the choirs singing together again today.
As I have written for the choir following many joint concerts in the past; Das Publikum freute sich sehr daran und verlangte eine Zugabe. An encore in the form of a return visit is surely on the cards and the members of the Royal Marines Association Concert Band wish them well in this.