If any of the audience who arrived at the sell-out Verwood Concert Brass Christmas Concert weren’t yet in festive spirit, then it would be hard to imagine them leaving with anything other than feelings of Christmas cheer.
Right from the start the Training Band delighted the audience with alternative arrangements of popular Christmas classics and received a huge round of applause after closing their set with a lively calypso style version of ‘Jingle Bells’.
To ring the changes (pun intended!) our special guests, the Bournemouth Youth Handbell Team, entertained the audience with their skilful and delightful playing as the Verwood Concert Brass Band replaced the Training Band on stage.
As can be expected of our Championship section band, the audience were treated to a wonderfully well played selection of Christmas music and yet probably the biggest round of applause of the evening went to cornet soloist, Archie Musselwhite (age 14), who played ‘The Shepherd’s Song’ by Goff Richards. Archie normally plays in the Verwood Town Band but as has now become tradition, an up and coming player from the Town Band is invited to play a solo with the Verwood Concert Brass Band. What a great performance. Well done Archie!
Opening the second half of the concert, the Town Band’s set included audience participation. Firstly, testing out the audiences singing skills with the carol ‘Deck the Halls’ and then their coordination during the ever popular piece ‘Schneewalzer’. As members of the band stood up at random points during the piece, conductor Emma Button, directed the audience in completing a ‘Mexican Wave’ across the auditorium. It is more usual for the audience to stand up as well but not such a good idea with flip-up seats!
Once again, the Bournemouth Youth Handbell Team played during the band change over but at the start of the Verwood Concert Brass Band set there was not a player in sight. The reason became apparent as gradually the players appeared as they played the wonderful arrangement of ‘Christmas Bolero’ by Darryl Barry which also gradually builds and builds. A further surprise was in store though as conductor, Kevin Smith, then made his appearance in a spectacular Christmas suit. Do take a look at the photos.
Then followed two delightful pieces arranged so that the Handbell Team and the Band could perform together, those being ‘Away in a Manger’ and most fittingly ‘Carol of the Bells’ which really brought an extra festive dimension to the concert.
More fun ensued with ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ whereby percussionist, Jack Musselwhite, ably assisted the audience with the words by holding up signs for each of the days. That was until it got to the fifth day when he discovered his sign for five gold rings had been pinched and was being passed around the band.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and a culmination of another fabulous year of banding for the Verwood Concert Brass organisation – that is apart from a few more Christmas carolling jobs up to Christmas Eve.
From all at Verwood Concert Brass we wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with peace and happiness.