Eynsford Concert Band celebrates 50 remarkable years

Vivienne Astall

Sunday 24th April 2022 was an eagerly anticipated return for Eynsford Concert Band who kicked off their 50th Anniversary celebrations by performing their first indoor concert since December 2019 at The SPACE, Sevenoaks.

In celebration, guest compère, Andy Barclay entertained the audience with his lively humour, as he reflected on 50 years of Eynsford Concert Band. Andy took the audience back to 1972 when it all started with Robin O’Connell at the Anthony Roper School where the band still rehearses.

Tonight’s concert programme was a mix of serious and fun pieces and is what defines the band today. Opening with a rousing ceremonial piece, Othello – Mvt 4:  Entrance of the Court by Alfred Reed, gave the audience a hint of the inspiring pieces to come. 

Eynsford Concert Band has been fortunate to work with some impressive musical directors over the years, some returning to conduct at this special concert. Steve Aitken, Assistant Musical Director, since 2012, led the band through some catchy and dramatic melodic themes from the stage musical, Miss Saigon by Claude-Michel Schönberg. Themes which are very familiar to Steve as he had previously performed in the pit orchestra for the show for the entirety of its inaugural 10 year run. 

This was followed by Ronald Binge’s tranquil piece, The Watermill, performed beautifully by oboe soloist, Jo Chapman. Jo originally performed this piece in 2002 on Maltese TV and remains our most ‘liked’ YouTube video

Next up, three pieces composed by the band’s honorary patron, Nigel Clarke. Heritage Suite (What Hope Saw) tells the story of the Kent town of West Malling.  This was led by John Hutchins, Conductor Laureate, who had originally conducted the band at the world premiere of this incredible piece in 2009.  This was followed by a moment of calm with Hymn – Mvt. 6 from The Cries of London by Martin Ellerby. 

Mike Smith, the well-respected Musical Director for the last 10 years took to the podium for The British Grenadiers, a traditional march and a nod to the joint concerts performed previously with Mike and The Band of the Grenadier Guards

Eynsford Concert Band has a tradition of commissioning new works and tonight, a piece by David Hackbridge-Johnson received its premier performance. The band was delighted to perform Eynsford Invictus, which took the band out of their comfort zone and into something a little different from their normal repertoire. 

Chris Mowat, Musical Director between 1995 – 2001 conducted three pieces by Percy Grainger including a satirical arrangement of Country Gardens

The Ringmaster’s March, a boisterous but fun piece by John Mackay, showing off the fabulous percussion players.   This was followed by the audience being treated to a unique virtual screen show where the band performed alongside a video of Bond.. James Bond arranged by Stephen Buller.  This video was made for fun during lockdown when the band couldn’t meet or play together. 

Mike is the bands 14thconductor, so it was fitting to end the concert with Enigma Variations Mvt. 14 (E.D.U) Finale, a beloved masterwork by Edward Elgar.

Read the Programme for this concert

Celebrate our 50th Anniversary with us..

“Unseen Wings” – A Churchill Portrait
A Premier Concert & Talk

The SPACE – Sevenoaks Performing Arts Centre 
7:00pm, Saturday 9th July 2022 
Tickets: £12 available from: [email protected]

Fireworks Concert
Swanley Park

From 6:00pm, Friday 26th August 2022 
Tickets: Free Entry

Summer Concert and Garden Party 
Lullingstone Castle, Eynsford

Afternoon, Sunday 18th September 2022 
Tickets: £14  (incl. entry to The World Garden)

Christmas Traditions
The SPACE – Sevenoaks Performing Arts Centre 
7:00pm, Saturday 17th December 2022 
Tickets: £12 available from: [email protected]