Tuesday 13th December 2016
Polbeth Harwood Church
West Calder Public Band has had an incredibly busy 2016 celebrating 150 years of the band. With the hugely successful anniversary concert having taken place in October and numerous other engagements following, the band finally got the chance to breathe and turn their attention to West Calder’s own Christmas concert.
The event got underway with the fanfare style opening of Christmas Praise, which was swiftly followed by John Barry's Born Free. Musical Director John Cunningham went on to lead the band in When a Child is Born, a flugelhorn solo played by Maria Brett. The festive atmosphere continued with Walking in the Air, the theme from the flying scene in the animated adaptation of Raymond Briggs' The Snowman.
No West Calder Public Band Christmas concert would be complete without some audience participation and the next part of the evening saw audience members choose their favourite carols to sing along to.
John Blanken's arrangement of the Pharrell Williams hit single Happy went down particularly well with younger members of the audience - some were even dancing in the aisle! - before two young children took the microphone to sing It Was on a Starry Night alongside Victoria Robb and accompanied by the band bringing the first half of the concert to a close.
Just in case anyone had lost some of their festive cheer during the interval, the second half of the evening kicked off with Jingle Bells before the pace was slowed down with the main theme from Disney's The Lion King featuring Can You Feel the Love Tonight. Vocal soloist Victoria Robb then delighted the audience with a swing rendition of The Christmas Song, perhaps better known as Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.
Then it was time for some more audience participation as the concert goers all got well into the spirit of carol singing. Irish Tune from County Derry and Michael Buble's Haven't Met You Yet proved popular before the evening was rounded off with the almost obligatory performance of Christmas Crackers and brought to an end with the raucous classic Christmas hit Fairytale of New York.
Overall, this was a successful concert that got the band and audience alike into the festive spirit.