Bandmaster James Williams concert

Garry AmbroseNews

Saturday 3 February 2018 was an emotional evening for the band as we celebrated the life and music of Bandmaster James Williams MBE. In the fitting setting of the Guards’ Chapel, Birdcage Walk over 60 bandsmen past & present joined together to present a celebratory concert featuring associated with Tottenham and Enfield Citadel bands and their Bandmaster James Williams.

The programme, which can be download here, was compered by former Bandmaster Andrew Blyth. Bandmaster Iain Parkhouse (Croydon Citadel), whose father had been Executive Officer of the band, led the band throughout much of the programme. The band were pleased to welcome back two former principal cornet players for the evening. Keith Hutchinson played the Stephen Bulla solo Crossroad and Bernard Snell who brought his own recollections of his time in the band under James Williams and later a piano solo.

The first half featured two Festival Arrangements of significance for the band. Firstly Call of the Righteous, written for the band as it toured USA & Canada in 1964 and then Shall we Gather which Len Ballantine, the tour leader when the band returned to Canada in 1986 invited the band to play through his recent manuscript arrangement prior to an early concert. This big band arrangement suited James Williams and not featured on that evenings programme but also many others on that tour and thereafter.

The second half opened with Bandmaster Don Jenkins, a long time friend of James Williams and who has led the band through rehearsals and Sunday activities over the past year taking the baton. After the second of two vocal solos from former songster Helen Parker, Bandmaster Andrew Blyth led the band in Guardian of our Way, a regular feature of Sunday evening contributions to worship at Enfield.

Iain Parkhouse returned to the podium for the conclusion of the programme along with many former Tottenham and Enfield bandsmen to form a band of over 60 players as we concluded with Symphony of Thanksgiving. Recognising former Bandmaster Jonatan Corry, who had travelled from Chicago for this event, in the cornet section, Iain Parkhouse invited him to lead the band in the band’s traditional finale of the march Red Shield.

Michelle Mercer, a professional photographer in the North East, has produced a gallery of photo’s which form a fantastic pictorial record of the evening and which can be viewed by following this link. After a short registration you will need to use the password: redshield.

A video recording has been made of the event and we expect this to be available very soon.

The band are indebted to the Guards’ Chapel for use of the premises and with whom we are sharing proceeds. The family of Bandmaster James Williams requested their share proceeds is donated to Enfield Citadel YP Band.