As part of the Jesmond Community Festival, the Royal Grammar School’s Senior Wind Band took to the stage alongside the Catterick Heavy Cavalry and Cambrai Band.
The concert formed the first night of a two-day musical event at the RGS Performing Arts Centre on Eskdale Terrace in Jesmond.
The evening commenced with performances from the Royal Grammar School Senior Wind Band who were conducted by Tim Rhodes. The wind band entertained the local audience with popular tunes and movie themes alongside more traditional wind and brass pieces.
The six-piece opening set featured violinist Toby Baines of the RGS Orchestra, who performed the only solo of the concert, taking to the stage to wow the audience with his rendition of John Williams’s Theme from Schindler’s List.
The second half of the concert began with a short two-piece set from The Heavy Cavalry and Cambrai Band, conducted by Ian Mitchell. The army band showcased their talent with traditional pieces fit for the season, performing breathtaking renditions of Sheldon’s Art in the Park and Reed’s Hounds of Spring.
The highlight of the evening was when the two bands joined forces and took to the stage to perform two pieces as a mass band under the leadership of Mitchell.
As a combined force the bands formed a breath-taking spectacle, filling the theatre’s entire stage. The two bands performed a rousing rendition of Lavender’s Summon the Heroes, with such unity it was hard to believe that they had only practised together for the first time that afternoon.
The successful concert closed with a grand finale from both bands, performing Curnow’s Where Never Lark Nor Eagle Flew, to rapturous applause from the audience.
The concert was a result of a hard day’s work from the students of RGS, who had only an afternoon to practise the pieces alongside the army musicians.
Mitchell praised the students, telling JesmondLocal: “This is a superb school, and a superb set of musician. They have done extraordinarily well to put together a concert together in just an afternoon.”
Teacher David Key thanked the army band for the expert help and workshop sessions, saying: “There’s no better experience than our students actually playing alongside these professional musicians. The students had a fantastic day working with them.”
The bands look set to perform together again in the near future, as Mitchell told JesmondLocal: “We look forward to hopefully being invited back next year and forming some kind of bond with the school”.
The second night of the festival on Tuesday night saw the RGS Concert Band and Brass Ensemble perform alongside the Northumberland County Senior Wind Band and the Prince Bishops Brass Ensemble.