The concert opened in style with a rousing "Fanfare for Christmas" before moving on to more gentle music from "The Snowman" and keeping with the wintry theme, some highlights from the Disney film "Frozen". A new piece "Good Swing Wenceslas" (the Good King was the first king of swing according to Colum!) went, as would be expected, swingingly and after some audience involvement (aka carol singing), Rebekah Ackroyd narrated "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" which had the audience in fits of laughter as the band provided musical accompaniment to the tale.
The second half opened with "Stars and Stripes for Christmas" and further audience singing. A new piece for the band "Minor Alternations" was performed with all sections having their chance to shine in various solo opportunities. Further audience participation was needed for "The Twelve Days of Christmas" with some even undertaking actions as directed!
Colum surprised the band during the second half by presenting some awards.
The first award was for the most improved player of 2014 which was presented to a surprised and very delighted Richard Williams, bassoon. Richard only joined the band in February and then only because while dropping his daughter (Victoria, flute) for rehearsal he mentioned that many years ago, whilst at school, he played the bassoon. He has now ended a 30 year "retirement" although he commented, "it is still a matter of work in progress with much, much more to do!"
Band person of 2014 was awarded to Tina Pointing for the unstinting efforts she has put in, cajoling players for the numerous concerts performed during the year and in getting equipment to where it should be, when it should be!
Finally, the Unsung Heroes of 2014 Award was presented to Caroline Walker and Bob Weall. Bob is the band's librarian and has a garage full of music and organising this to keep Colum happy is no mean feat! Caroline is the band's secretary and has continued to undertake, as she has for some years, much of the backroom organising.
The concert closed to rapturous applause following a rousing rendition of "William Tell" and an encore, "Christmas Festival".
Next year's concert has already been booked...