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Prancing at the Proms!

On a windy and it has to be said, cold Sunday evening for the last day in June 2024, the Concert Band of Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth performed a stirring Proms concert programme of music for and on behalf of the RNLI and the Torbay Lifeboat with the proceeds being divided between both organisations.


The concert kicked off with a punchy, naval themed and home grown quick march, The Commander composed by Phil Hayward and Rose Sage. This was followed by the dynamic and interesting overture Lustspiel which features all sections of the band. Then Tenor Sax player Mick Jones performed a moving solo of the James Bond theme from Skyfall, which easily wooed our audience. The band was then joined by local soprano singer, the lovely Donna-Marie Broomfield who sung her first set for the evening with some famous extracts from Mary Poppins. After this, the clarinet section was tested almost to destruction with the exciting and fast moving Clarinet Escapade. Then all hell broke loose as our two first trumpet players, Paddy Macro and Phil Hayward 'rode in' on their inflatable horses to play through the Post Horn Galop! Both the audience and the band had no idea what was about happen as they cavorted around the front of the stage and amongst the audience, oh what fun we had! It was an hilarious moment to be savoured for all time. Once Paddy and Phil had galloped off to put the horses back in their stables, they rejoined us for Dr Who, a great arrangement of this most famous British TV programme, written by our amazing conductor, Colin Crossman.


After the interval, the band opened up to the thrilling 60s/70s TV theme, Stingray featuring our very excitable and loud young percussionist, Ryan Carter. The crowd loved the energy that only drums being played with such vigour and enthusiasm can bring. Then it was the turn of the Big Band to play through that well known jazz piece, The Pink Panther. This paved the way into our next section in the programme which was included as a tribute to the RNLI for 200 years of being in existence, which is a very, very long time. Colin then brought the whole band in with the apt concert march The Padstow Lifeboat, featuring the horn section which sounds like a ship's foghorn in certain phrases throughout the piece. This was then followed by Rod Stewart's Sailing in slow march format and then the Naval Hymn, Eternal Father, which is a beautful arrangement written by former Royal Marines Corps Bandmaster, Dr Mac McDermot. This incorprates the bugle call Sunset which was played very near to the actual time of sunset on the day. Donna-Marie joined us again for the World In Union, a stirring piece made famous as the world rugby theme and orginally sung by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa. Then the concert march The Longest Day delivered us all in time for our finale.


The finale began with Donna-Marie singing through that very well known Proms favourite, Jerusalem and then it was into the Fantasia of British Sea Songs including all the bugle calls at the start and of course, ending with the one and only, Rule Britannia. The finale concluded with Pomp and Circumstance No 1 and Land of Hope and Glory which was topped off with a lovely arrangement of Auld Lang Syne.


To help everyone home, the band played through the Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service march, hoping that the lady who asked for this to be played two years previously, was out there somewhere in the audience! Then last of all and in keeping with Naval tradition, we played the march past of the Royal Navy, Hearts of Oak. Phew, it was one epic blow for everyone and our lips were very tired.


Thanks must go to the Hotel for looking after us, Peter Thorp from the RNLI, Donna-Marie Broomfield and our fantastic deps, Lt Cdr Darren Walton on Trombone, Dave Hankin on Trombone, Olwyn on Clarinet and Steve Herbert on French Horn, thanks guys and girls. Finally, well done the Band!




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