Waltham St. Lawrence Silver Band

A great evening's entertainment for Star Wars day

Together with the popular local ladies' a capella vocal group The Barbarettes, Waltham St Lawrence Silver Band put on a great show pegged to May the Fourth - Star Wars Day - at Twyford's Loddon Hall for that  Saturday evening. The hall was full, and the audience joined in with a number of pieces.

Items in the first half from both ensembles were tied, sometimes loosely, to the space theme, starting with Steve Sykes's brass band arrangment of themes from Star Wars. This was followed by short versions of Venus and Mars from Holst's Planets suite.

The first set by the Barberettes started with Skyfall, and other numbers included Aquarius and a "space medley" with an interesting impression of the timpani intro to Also Sprach Zaresthustra (2001 theme).

Next in the band's programme was J.H.Howe's take on Hoagy Carmichael's Star Dust. Marking the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing, a version of Fly Me to the Moon somewhat different from the familiar Sinatra rendering was presented: this arrangement adheres to Bart Howard's original waltz-time rhythm. The first half concluded with highlights from Michael Giacchino's score for the movie Star Trek Into Darkness, a challenging arrangement by Philip Sparke, in which the three-strong percussion team gave a dazzling performance.

The second half consisted of a variety of band and vocal classics and popular pieces, opening with Bandology and concluding with The Floral Dance. The audience were in good na-na-na-naaah voice for Hey Jude, and later got to join in with some numbers from the entertaining Peter Kleine Schaars arrangement of numbers from Mamma Mia, the Musical. The other substantial work in this half was Oregon, a tone poem by Jacob de Haan describing a railroad trip through the US state's territory.

The second set by the Barberettes started with an Andrews Sisters medley, and ended with In The Mood; the band picked up the Miller theme by playing Moonlight Serenade before the applause for the singers had died away.

The published programme rounded off with Instant Concert by Harold Waters, which drew some chuckles from the audience, and Philip Sparke's arrangement of the John Miles classic Music. Responding to cries from the audience of "more!", the band kicked off It's Raining Men, arranged by Frank Bernaerts; the Barberettes ran whooping back to their positions in front of the stage and joined in for the choruses.

The evening also featured the presentation of a new band trophy, Player of the Year, awarded at the sole discretion of the musical director to the person they judge to have made the greatest effort to improvement of the band over the previous year. The cup went to James Cade, 2nd Trombone player, who a couple of years ago decided to move to that instrument from back-row cornet, and has worked very hard to master it.

The concert was judged a great success by all those present, as evident from the enthusiastic applause and the comments left on the blackboard provided near the exit. Several band veterans and others in the audience who have known the band for a long time were very complimentary about the improvement in the standard of playing over the past couple of years.