mwc-Winchester

Central Band to be joined by Winchester Military Wives Choir in Chichester

The Central Band will be joined for the first time by Winchester Military Wives Choir for a spectacular summer concert in Chichester on 3 June.

The programme will feature well known favourites, marches, instrumental solos and David Cole’s spectacular arrangement of James Bond movie themes. The Military Wives’ will include performances of now famous ‘Wherever You Are’ and ‘Stronger Together’.

A concert not to be missed and at £10 + £7 U16s and OAPs it’s a steal, so book early!

 

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St George’s Day Concert – St George’s Hanover Square – Wednesday 26th April

To mark St George’s Day what better place to be than back in this beautiful central London church (Handel’s church when in London)?    

Soak up the atmosphere and enjoy a few glasses of wine and nibbles in the church before the concert and then listen to music from the choir of St George’s as well as The Central Band of The Royal British Legion, interspersed with readings given by our guest readers including Dame Barbara Windsor and Robert Powell – all with an English theme of course!   Doors open at 6.30 pm, the concert starts at 7.15 pm and ends at 8.45 pm.   Tickets £40.

There is disabled access to the church but please note that the lavatories are accessed by ancient steep stairs.

Windsor Castle Concerts

Central Band Windsor Castle Concerts raise £30,000 for Legion

Two nights of uplifting summer concerts by The Legion’s own Central Band, in the spectacular and historic surroundings of St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, have raised over £30,000 for the Royal British Legion.

The concerts on the evenings of 1 and 2 June, were kindly sponsored by Sir Donald Gosling and featured a wide range of popular music from marches, to The Beatles, John Williams, Sea Songs, Richard Rogers and two opera arias, beautifully sung by guest bass/baritone Tristan Hambleton.

The Central Band continues its busy summer with concerts at Nye Hall Dover on Saturday 18 June, followed by appearances at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships finals at Wimbledon in July, before heading down to Sussex for a week of concerts playing to the summer crowds at the famous Eastbourne Bandstand.

Central Band at Southwark Cathedral 2014

The Central Band of The Royal British Legion appeared before a packed and appreciative crowd at Southwark Cathedral on Friday 3 October. The concert was entitled ‘Magnificent Musicals’ and featured arrangements from Oklahoma, Cole Porter, Gershwin and concluded with David Cole’s own arrangement of Phantom of The Opera.

Here’s Jack Foley with the Central Band singing Anthem from Chess.

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Christmas Celebration 2013

A festive spirit was in the air at London’s Guildhall on Tuesday and Wednesday night as the Central Band’s brass group joined a glittering lineup for The Royal British Legion’s Christmas Celebration. The two nights of seasonal music and readings in mid-December have fast become an unmissable part of The Legion’s yearly events programme.

Leading the singing were the scintillating Bach Choir who performed a number of carols including the enchanting ‘Balulalow’ and lively ‘Holly and the Ivy’. Also taking to the stage were classical girl group All Angels with their take on ‘Infant Holy’ and ‘Ding, dong! merrily on high’.
The music was interspersed by readings and lessons. These were performed over the two evenings by Frank Gardner, Tamsin Grieg, Susan Jameson, Michael Jayston, Sir Timothy Ackroyd, Sarah Badel, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Alastair Stewart.

The Central Band brass group added a touch of the upbeat and modern. ‘Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer’, ‘I’ll be home for Christmas’ and ‘Frosty the snowman’ all featured in Captain David Cole’s two arrangements … and, to the delight of the audience, Captain Cole himself featured on percussion!

The Bach Choir, the Central Band and Organ combined to lead the audience in a number of carols before a rousing rendition of ‘We wish you a merry Christmas’ reminded all present that it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

 

The Military Wives Choir

Festival of Remembrance 2012

The fanfare trumpet team of the Central Band were once again honoured to be invited to perform in the prestigious Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.  The Royal British Legion’s annual Festival commemorates and honours all those who have lost their lives in conflict and is both a moving and emotional occasion.  The Festival is broadcast on BBC1 and attended by the Queen, members of the Royal Family, the Prime Minister and other senior members of the Government.

The Fanfare Team in rehearsalsThe Central Band’s very own Captain David Cole is also the Festival’s Musical Director and was responsible for shaping the musical features; this year featured Rod Stewart performing Auld Lang Syne and Sailing, X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke and Russell Watson, the Military Wives Choir, the Massed Bands of the Household Division, the RAF Squadronaires and vocal harmony group the Overtones.

The Central Band’s fanfare team, joined by the fanfare team of the Guards, had the privilege of opening the Festival with a specially composed fanfare by Captain David Cole.  This was rapturously received and paved the way for a spectacular show, full of variety and a real sense of occasion.  It is always heartening to see the Chelsea Pensioners (with a combined age of 1,428!) and war widows receive a spontaneous standing ovation during their entrance, as well as hearing some of the moving stories from servicemen and women projected on to large screens around the Albert Hall.

This year’s Festival incorporated a special tribute to the servicemen of RAF Bomber Command.  The arena of the Albert Hall was cleverly transformed into a projection of a Lancaster Bomber flying through the clouds as 7 original members of Bomber Command took their respective crew positions.  Between them, these remarkably brave men flew 246 missions during World War II.

The traditional muster and Act of Remembrance was led by classical vocal group Amore singing Elgar’s Nimrod, followed by Laura Wright – who previously joined the Central Band at Southwark Cathedral – singing a beautiful arrangement of Laurence Binyon’s poem, For the Fallen.

The Central Band’s fanfare team reappeared for the finale to provide an uplifting contribution to the hymns as part of the service that concludes Festival.

As usual, it was a very long day and a huge amount of effort to stitch together such an important production for the two performances.  The smoothness of the day was facilitated by two further members of the Central Band who did a sterling job running around behind the scenes as part of the production team to make sure everyone was in the right place at the right time.

Everyone involved is immensely proud to have been part of The Royal British Legion’s Festival of Remembrance 2012.

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Wimbledon Championships 2012

We were there! …when Andy Murray might have won Wimbledon…

The Wimbledon finals weekend has become a favourite fixture for the band, but I think we all had to admit there was something a bit special about being there for the 1 year in 74 when we had a Brit in the men’s final.

We played in the crowds as the gates opened and they surged in, all a bit more excited than usual.  Not sure who’s idea it was to start with Indiana Jones for this, but it seemed weirdly fitting!

We played our morning set in promenade area, between the Pimms bar and the strawberries and cream stall.  Captive audience!  We spied many a tennis fan discoing their way through the rain from one to the other to the strains of Abba Gold, and cha-cha-ing to Tea for Two.

After that, a quick chance to dry off, a glimpse of Andy Murray, who for some reason chose to share a dressing room with the band boys, and it was off to Centre Court.

‘Scotland the Brave ‘, hastily dug out of the music store the day before, went down a storm, and ‘Rule Britannia’ certainly had the desired rousing effect on the crowd.

Then we had to drink an awful lot of champagne to catch up with the rest of the spectators, just in time to find ourselves a spot to watch the final on Henman Hill (or whatever it’s called these days).

We’ll be back again next year. When Andy Murray will definitely win.

Central Band at The Brewery 2012

The Central Band of the Royal British Legion enjoyed playing at the Old Brewery Chiswell Street in the City on Friday for a St George’s lunch with speakers Mike Gatting and Will Greenwood.  The funniest person was the MC (who was he?) whose intro did raise a laugh!

Next gig is Epsom Playhouse, Sunday 29 April at 3pm.