Young Stars launch 135th Anniversary Celebrations

Sheffield Citadel Band’s 135th Anniversary celebrations got off to a magnificent start with their Young Stars in Concert with SCB event; attended by a capacity congregation and viewed online by an additional audience of several hundred people, it was a great launch to a year of celebrations marking this milestone in the Band’s history.

The Band had invited two of the Salvation Army’s most talented young musicians to share the stage for the evening: Isobel Daws, trombone and Charlie Green, vocal.  Expectations were high & anticipation was great as the congregation gathered at The Citadel but they were certainly not disappointed.

After a rousing start with Leslie Condon’s fitting March ‘Celebration’, followed by Stephen Ponsford’s reflective welsh melody ‘Suo Guan’, Bandmaster Keith Wileman welcomed the congregation to the first of the Band’s many celebrations for 2016, before introducing the guest soloists for the evening: 16 year old Isobel, from Regent Hall, has been studying trombone at The Purcell School of Music for several years and has been a finalist in the BBC’s Young Musician of the Year competition.  Charlie Green, 18, began performing at the age of 3, has sung to dignitaries across the globe and came to the world’s attention when he appeared on television in 2008.

The programme continued with the Band’s playing of ‘Call of the Gospel’ which served as a reminder that Sheffield Citadel Band has been taking the gospel to the people of Sheffield and further afield for 135 years, something which the Band prays will continue long into the future.

Next came the turn of the soloists with Charlie taking the first spot and bringing three secular songs: ‘Feeling Good’, ‘The Rose’ and ‘Stars’ from ‘Les Miserables’.  Charlie clearly loves singing and joy shone through on his face as he delivered not just the words and notes, but a story.  He introduced his own songs and gave helpful & sometimes humorous insights into why he had chosen to sing the particular songs, as well as their impact upon him as a young singer.

Isobel followed with her interpretation of the modern and upbeat piece ‘Brasilia’, written by Robin Dewhurst.  This challenging piece of music tests both a band and the soloist with its Latin American rhythm & harmonies but Isobel made it seem simple as she enthralled the congregation with her accomplished playing, obviously the result of great talent as well as many hours of dedicated practice.

Sheffield Citadel Band brought the first half of the programme to its conclusion with the presentation of William Himes’ classic selection ‘The Chief Musician’, a work which was revolutionary at its inception with its use of choric speaking and singing within a brass band piece of music.  The message to the congregation in the central movement was clear, ‘I bring thee all’.

Kevin Larsson’s lively ‘Fill the World With Glory’ opened the second half of the festival as the congregation made their way back to their seats to the echoes of “We’re going to fill fill fill the world with glory, we’re going to smile smile smile and not frown”, hopefully symbolic of what was still to come!

In her final solo spot Isobel played the classic trombone solo, ‘The Eternal Quest’ written by Ray Steadman Allen.  This is a solo known well within the Salvation Army world and one which is recognised as a challenge for the soloist.  It features the tune “Jesus is looking for thee” as the music portrays the story of the man who, after stumbling through life, comes to Calvary.  Isobel’s rendition showed both her technical capability and her controlled playing, and was deservedly received with great applause.

Charlie then presented three religious songs.  First, with band accompaniment, was an up-tempo version of ‘Now I Belong to Jesus’, a song which had the congregation smiling in their seats as Charlie’s relaxed style gave the words fresh meaning.  This was clearly a young man who thrives on music & who has a faith which he loves to share with others.  His enthusiasm and Christianity was tangible as he then brought his testimony in song with his own arrangement of ‘What a friend we have in Jesus’, an item which was received with appreciative silence.  Finally Charlie presented ‘You Raise Me Up’, a song which has become popular as both a sacred and secular song and has had an impact upon many people.

As the programme moved into a more reflective mood, SCB played a piece of music written by former Sheffield Citadel Bandmaster, Jim Wright, entitled ‘Lost in Thee’.  This beautiful piece of music is based around the song “Sweet will of God, still fold me closer”

Isobel and Charlie then joined together for a beautiful joint rendition of ‘The Prayer’, with Isobel taking her part of the duet on the trombone whilst Charlie sang in English and Italian.  This was truly an item which challenged and blessed all those present.

Bandsman Alistair Mann presented a short scripture reading & message, reminding everyone of the wonder of creation and how significant we are amongst God’s creation because we are crowned with glory and honour, before Isobel brought the time of reflection to an end with her final contribution, the hymn tune ‘Bowes’.  After her earlier playing of such complex and challenging music, her simple portrayal of this tune associated with the words “Jesus Loves me, This I know” brought a stillness to the evening.  Her flawless playing and beautiful tone allowed the message of those words to be clearly portrayed into the hearts of those listening.

Sheffield Citadel Band brought the evening to a conclusion with the playing of their signature march ‘Sheffield Citadel’, written by former Bandmaster Herbert Mountain, sending everyone home with the words associated with the march, ringing in their minds “I’ll stand for Christ, for Christ Alone”, a reminder of the Band’s motto for the year: “SCB 135, Standing for Christ.”

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March 2016
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