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Exercise Tiger 80th Anniversary Concert - The Flavel Arts Centre, Dartmouth

A concert was held at the Flavel Arts Centre, Dartmouth to mark the 80th Anniversary of Operation Tiger, the ill-fated Allied full dress rehearsal for the D-Day landings on Utah Beach, Normandy in June 1944. Over the Thursday/Friday of 27th/28th April 1944 hundreds of American Troops were killed on Slapton Sands (used because of its similarity to Utah Beach) and in Lyme Bay, when German E-Boats, which had been on a routine patrol, fired torpedoes on the convoy. The concert was not intended to be a detailed historical protrayal of these events but was more an acknowledgment and reflection of their great significance.

The concert was organised and lead by former Flavel Trustee, Mrs Helen Deakin with distinguished guests including The High Sheriff of Devon, Commodore Jake Moores OBE DL, Royal Navy, The Captain of BRNC, Captain Andre Bray, Royal Navy, US Naval Laison Officer BRNC, Lieutenant Arielle Shoap-Hall, United States Navy and The Mayoress of Dartmouth, Donna Wells. The concert was performed by The Celtic Male Ensemble, Soprano Singer Donna-Marie Broomfield and three soloists from the Concert Band of BRNC including Rose Sage on Flute, Mark Norley on Clarinet and Phil Hayward on Trumpet and Military Side Drum.

The Celtic Ensemble was formed in 2014 by their Music Director, Alastair Taylor and it has performed all over Cornwall with this performance being their first outside of the county. They are an award winning choir having won several titles at various competitions including, Best Cornish Choir, Best UK Choir Overall and Best UK Choir in their category. Their sound is full and their attention to detail was obvious including intonation, tuning, dynamics and expression. They were superb performers and just a great bunch of people. I think they will be back!

Donna-Marie Broomfield is a regular performer with the Band having performed with us on numerous occasions before at Proms concerts across South Devon. Donna was shortlisted for the BBC Radio 2 Dame Kiri Opera Prize and has performed as a soloist in venues such as The Bahrain Grand Prix, International Marebella Film Fesitival and Gibraltar Boat Show and locally at the RNLI Proms and for the Exeter Chiefs. She is a bubbly character and a genuinely nice person who has a proud Royal Naval connection through her Dad, a former Royal Naval Chief Petty Officer who served at BRNC in the 80s.

Rose Sage is the Band's principal Flautist and performed the beautiful, evocative Celtic piece of music, Ashokan Farewell, Rose also accompanied the Choir with Tell My Father which is a dramatic song which brings the reality of war into strikingly personal terms as a young soldier sings of his father and his own mortality.Mark Norley is our principal Clarinettist and performed the well known theme Band of Brothers from the TV series about the wartime history of the 1st Airborne Division of the US Army. This is a beautiful piece of music that again, evokes so many poignant feelings in so many of us. Phil Hayward is our First Trumpet and he performed The Last Post as a solo piece which lead into a trumpet introduction to The Mansions of the Lord which was originally written for the 2002 film 'We Were Soldiers' and was performed by the United States Military Academy Glee Club.

The hymn also served as the recessional in the 2004 funeral of President Ronald Reagan andwas sung by the Armed Forces Chorus with the United States Marine Chamber Orchestra. Phil also performed in a Trio with Donna-Marie and Alastair Taylor on the Grand Piano, playing the military side drum for The World in Union. This piece was made famous by New Zealand operatic soprano Dame Kiri Te Kanawa who recorded the first version for the 1991 Rugby World Cup.

This superb concert was a sell out and was a huge success. Proceeds from the concert go to the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal and The Flavel Centre.


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