Which we certainly did. For 30 years members of the Armadale City Concert Band have been meeting once a week to rehearse and prepare music for performances throughout the year. For 30 years we've entertained audiences, competed (sometimes even won) and just have a really good time. For 30 years. And to honour that, this year our annual concert was a celebration of those 30 years. And what better way than performing pieces that have been loved by all the different band members since the beginning?
Every piece we performed had been previously performed by the band and was being played by request (requested by us of course!). As a result so many of the pieces were loved. The honour of show opener was given to Paradiso. Starting simply with a single note from the percussion section, it slowly builds until the whole ensemble has joined in. For some of us, our first note of the evening didn't come from our instruments but rather our mouths (yes we were singing. And I have to say, we didn't sound too bad. Strength in numbers!). Add in the lit stage, the audience in darkness apart from fairy lights strung along the side of the hall and the whole effect was enough to give you goose bumps (mind you I had the exact same thing when we were rehearsing the piece under fluorescent lights, in our Wednesday night rehearsal attire which is geared away from fashion and leans alarmingly towards warmth. Still, goose bumps. And not from the cold).
Then onto what I'm going to call our musical bracket, with On My Own and Selections from The Phantom of the Opera. Both very popular pieces and always a joy to play. Though it must be noted the latter had one heart stopping moment when there was a scream solo (you read that right) from the flute section (thank you Natasha). Even though you know it's coming, it still makes you jump. And it must be noted that there was much discussion in rehearsal about the best place (musically of course) for it to start and finish. It was a very serious discussion. Pencils were involved.
We were then joined onstage by our conductor of 28 years (you also read that right) who lifted the baton for us once more and lead us in Bricusse & Newley on Broadway. An energetic piece filled with beautiful moments and it was good to have Don back with us once more.
The baton was then handed to our Associate Conductor, Chris for The Typewriter. This featured a very important solo part as play by Rene from the percussion section on an actual typewriter. Amusingly enough, it's not the most bizarre thing he has played over the years. And now we all know it is possible to play a typewriter. And it actually sounds pretty cool.
With Amanda back members of the trumpet section then took centre stage with The Bugler's Holiday. May I just say, we were all very impressed so well done to Andrew, David and Sandesh. Who knew it was actually possible to fit that many notes onto one musical score?
Oblivion and Chris was back again but this time with a clarinet solo which showed off his skill. He then took to the baton again for Just a Closer Walk with Thee, which has sections of Dixie land jazz. While Chris was busy conducting, other Chris took on the solo clarinet. Amanda was then back for the final piece in the first half, I Will Survive, since we've done exactly that for 30 years. And who doesn't love 80s pop? (If you don't, we don't want to know).
During the interval there was plenty of time to have some refreshments and have a bit of a chat with whomever stood still long enough. That is there was plenty of time unless you were a member of our Brass Quintet or ASQ! who did a fantastic job of keeping the music going during the interval. It must also be noted that pre-concert music was provided by David from the percussion section so our audience was greeted with music from the off, instead of a cold, quiet hall.
The second half opened with The Dam Busters, a lively march featured in the film of the same name (obviously!) that we all enjoy playing and that audiences love. This was followed by Three Extraordinary Journeys, the test piece from Tasmania. While new to us this year, it is now part of our history and despite being a test piece, we have come to love it. Which wasn't that hard because it really is fantastic.
Slap bang in the middle of the second half was African Symphony which I think everyone must love (at any rate, we all want to blast out our parts. And if that's not love, I don't know what is). Kayla and James from the sax section defected to percussion for this piece (as soon as you know you need more percussion, you know it's going to be awesome) as did Wendi (who wasn't actually playing her bass clarinet despite being our fabulous concert manager simply because it's really hard to play when you've recently has should surgery) who did a great job with her one available hand. They all looked like they were having a great time up the back (not that I was looking!) and thanks Kayla for making sure there was more cowbell.
The evening was rounded off with Danzon No. 2 featuring David from percussion on the keyboard, followed by A Little Salsa Music. And officially that was it but there's always time for an encore. And when the encore is Morning Train, we're playing it even if no one requested it. Fortunately the audience was enthusiastic and it was very well received and why wouldn't they be? It was Morning Train after all.
So musically that was it. It must be said that throughout the night we had several members of the band who spoke about what it meant to them in addition to a couple of guest speakers. It was really interesting to hear about the history of the band and the history that people have with each other. Also at the back of the hall was a photo display. In some case it was astonishing to see just how long standing some of our long standing players are. And I think that says a lot about an organisation. If that many people are willing to come back again and again for years, then you definitely have something very special.
It really was a wonderful night and a huge thank you to everyone that made this evening possible and contributed in whatever way. And thank you to our audience who came out despite the cold. Trust us, it was freezing (freezing enough that some places in WA had snowfall. Another thing that you've read right). And of course to Amanda, who whips us into shape every week while making jokes. It's not easy but she does it and more than earnt the spontaneous standing ovation she received from us (actions really do speak louder than words).
Here's to the next 30 years!