For many people, the onset of Easter means huge, oversized chocolate cakes. However, here at Imperial College, it can only mean one thing, the Easter lunchtime concert of the Imperial Windband.
Held in the Great Hall yesterday, once again this free forty-five minutes of lively music passed most students by, but to their loss I say. As the musicians filed out in their trademark, brightly coloured shirts and jumpers, it was good to see that they had opted to set up on stage rather than on the floor of the Hall. This improvement from last Christmas concert allowed the audience a much greater view of this band.
Once again conducted by Duncan Beat, the concert began with “Royal Stuart March”, a piece written by none other than himself! This fast paced, drum bashing march, greatly contrasted with the next piece, “Music of Gershwin”. As the title suggests it was effectively a compilation of the wonderfully smooth music of American composer George Gershwin. With snippets of many famous pieces such as “I’ve got Rhythm” and, of course, “Rhapsody in Blue”, this arrangement by Pryce certainly gave the concert a relaxing feel.
The next were two movements from “Suite in B flat” by Gordon Jacob, who wrote many pieces specifically for windbands. Taking the second movement first “Solemn Music”, before playing the more jovial “March”, this formed the centrepiece of this concert.
The customary lighthearted piece came next in the form of “Cha Cha Cha for Children” by Duncan Beat. The delight of this one came from the interwoven nursery rhymes tunes within the music, This left many of the audience straining both ear and brain to pick up as many as possible of these half forgotten tunes, such as “Jack and Jill” and “Three Blind Mice”. The final piece was London Medley, arranged by Payne, unsurprisingly based on London tunes!
The end of the concert saw the announcement by Duncan Beat that he is retiring as director of the Imperial College Windband as of this term. He was presented with a much-deserved gift by Richard Dickins, the current conductor of Imperial College Symphony Orchestra, of which the Windband is a little known branch. It has to be said that this announcement seemed to be as much a surprise to most of the musicians as it was to the audience. In particular, questions must be asked as to its future without a conductor.
So yet another cheery, enthusiastically played concert from the Windband. Let’s hope there will be another next Christmas!