Throughout 2011, the Concerts in Cathedrals series is celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Royal British Legion. Over 40 cathedrals in England and Wales will host concerts, with the Central Band performing five of them.
The Norman church of Rochester Cathedral was the final venue as the Central Band finished off their contribution to the Legion’s 90th Anniversary celebrations in style. It was the perfect location for a concert that combined celebration, remembrance and patriotism.
The Central Band’s fifth concert was a “greatest hits” from the previous four in the series. After the National Anthem (including Gordon Jacob’s Coronation fanfare) had finished ringing round the ancient cathedral, the Central Band began the proceedings with Sir Vivian Dunn’s march ‘Cockleshell Heroes’.
An all-singing, toe-tapping first half followed with ‘Dixieland Jamboree’, popular songs from World War II, famous tunes from Glenn Miller and Captain David Cole’s awesome arrangement of Lennon and McCartney classics.
The second half was dedicated to commemorating the sacrifice of those who have given their lives in the service of Queen and country. Soprano Margaret Threadgold joined Phil Willans on soprano saxophone and the rest of the Central Band to perform Karl Jenkins’ ‘Benedictus’. A simple act of remembrance followed and everyone in the cathedral stood in silence as the ‘Last Post’ and ‘Reveille’ were sounded.
The trumpet calls of Sir Henry Wood’s ‘Fantasia on British Sea Songs’ signalled the start of the flag-waving finale with Margaret Threadgold returning to the stage to lead the audience in the singing of ‘Rule Britannia’, ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Land of Hope and Glory’.
With the concert over, the audience were in for a final treat as they departed to the march of The Royal British Legion. A fitting end to a fantastic series of concerts to celebrate the Legion’s 90th year.
As part of the Concerts in Cathedrals series, the Central Band have already played at: