Norway – May 2009

Garry AmbroseReports

Thursday 14 May – Oslo

Oslo 3 - Click for larger picture

The day started for most of the band at around 4am apart from the sensible ones who had booked hotels near Gatwick Airport. After battling through the morning traffic, the band met at 7am and made their way through check-in to find something to eat. The flight eventually left at around 9.30 and with it being a fairly empty plane, most of the band spread out to catch up on some well needed sleep.

Once safely back on the ground, we had a short drive from the airport to the Oslo 3 corps where we were shown straight to the dining table where a fabulous spread of ham, cheese, salmon and prawn sandwiches had been provided. Once all refuelled and replenished we donned our festival jackets for a picture on the stage of the hall, just as the band did back in 1975, which was the picture used for the concert poster. There was a brief respite in the afternoon when some of the band went for a walk around Oslo whilst others played pool and table tennis in the basement of the hall. Dinner was again a fine spread and dessert was even better. Once it was all demolished, a quick session on our shoes was needed before the concert.

Walking out into a fairly full hall, the programme began brightly with Battle Ready followed closely by the more peacefull They shall come from the east. Other major works throughout the evening included Beatrice and Benedict, The Present Age, Princethorpe Variations and Quintessence. Soloists Maurice Patterson, Andrew Justice, Andrew Scott and John Starkes all performed well and greatly added to the evening. The concert ended in the usual way with The Red Shield before we all separated and went off to our individual billets for the night.

Tim Hynd

Friday 15 May – Lillehammer

The day started at the Oslo 3 Corp where we all, except one pair of highly polished shoes, said our good-byes and headed off for a short sight seeing tour of Oslo. After a whirlwind 1 hour 30 minute tour we ended up at Holmenkollen overlooking the Oslo fjord. It was at this point the missing shoes turned up. It would be churlish to mention whose they were, as these things happen, but glad you got them back….Maurice! Then we headed north to Lillehammmer.

Lillehammer Church - Click for larger picture

After a quick meal we headed for the church to set up. Lillehammer church was a stunning venue to hold our festival and it was as if they understood the accoustics required for a brass band when it was built in 1882. The brilliance of the accoustic was only surpassed by the audience. The church was packed and this gave a great impetus to the band members, who certainly raised the bar.

The evening started with The Joy Bringer and was immediately followed with David Catherwood’s contrasting Spirit of Life. Then it was time for one of the Army’s classics The Triumph of Peace which was enhanced by Tim Buckle absolutely nailing the soprano part at the end. Now it was time for the solo spot and first up was Andy Scott who brought us Lark in the Clear Air and then followed immediately by Andrew Justice with Rejoice, both of which were very well received by the audience. After this was the last movement of Cry of the Celts (Lord of the dance) and, to finish the first half, Song of the Eternal. From the start the band just seemed to gel with the music and it must rate with some of the best performances the band has given. This was evident by the crowd’s lengthy response. (Editor’s note: The highlight was undoubtedly Andy Scott’s playing of the challenging euphonium solo which was central to creating the atmoshere that this particular piece of music demands.) It was then time for a 15 minute break while the band and audience got their breath back!

The second half started with A Closer Walk to get everybody seated…including the band! Then came The Magic Flute followed by the scintillating hand manoeuvring of Simon Jenkins on the xylophone with Victor’s Palm. Hollywood then came to the fore with I Will Follow Him. The band then presented the finale to Kaleidoscope which was followed in contrast with Light of the World leading us into the scriptures with Colonel Parkhouse and his always insightful and relevant thoughts. Now it was time for the final piece, Quintessence. The band seemed to really get into this piece and held nothing back, which the audience really appreciated judging by the lengthy ovation. When everything had settled Bandmaster Corry lifted the baton for the final time for The Red Shield which saw the audience on their feet again.

Many thanks must go to Fred Granset who organised and looked after us for this leg of the tour which has been memorable in its own right. If you haven’t been to Lillehammer, do. It’s an awesome place.

Andy Scott

Saturday 16 May – Trondheim

The band left Lillehammer at 9.30am for a five hour journey to Trondheim. What fabulous scenery! Certainly a journey that won’t be forgotten by the band for a long time!

The church was packed to capacity for the concert. The band was ‘played in’ by Nidaros band who chose to play music specially written for the occasion by Paul Sharman. It was great for the Enfield bandsmen to make new relationships with the Norwegian Band. The programme began with The Joybringer followed by a spellbinding performance of The Triumph of Peace. Maurice Patterson played a moving rendition of Don’t doubt Him now which left the audience in silence. John Starkes played a brilliant rendition of Everybody should know. Cry of the Celts and Song of the Eternal brought the audience to its feet.

Included in the second half were Beatrice & Benedict, a thrilling performance of the finale from Kaleidoscope, an exciting rendition of Rejoice played by Andrew Justice, a thrilling performance of A Victor’s Palm by Simon Jenkins, a thoughtful rendition of Light of the world and a spellbinding performance of Quintessence which brought the audience to its feet. The band gave two encores and their signature performance of The Red Shield before the audience would let them go!

It was a great and humbling experience to be in such a wonderful venue on such a thrilling occasion

Delia Patterson

Sunday 17 May – Trondheim

A glorious clear blue sky and warm temperatures greeted us on the final full day of our mini-tour, which coincided with Norway’s National Day, an important celebration for the whole country.

National Day Parade, Trondheim - Click for larger picture

The band was privileged to be invited to represent the Salvation Army in Trondheim by taking part in two parades. The first was for children, and the second for adults, and covered over 2 miles in nearly 3 hours of stop-start marching. The band received a tremendous reception from the tens of thousands of local folk lining the streets, many dressed in national costumes. Some very tired feet and lips, but a real sense of having left the people of Trondheim with a positive impression of the Army and the band.

The evening comprised a joint celebration festival with a local church, in which the band featured in a mini concert of our lighter repertoire, and accompanying the singing of national songs. Thus our time in Trondheim drew to an end.

Special thanks are due to Captain Tom Kristiansen, the Trondheim CO, for all his hard work and considerable organisational skills for the success of all the local arrangements on our behalf, and the Salvationists and friends from Norway for their warm welcome and appreciation of our visit.

Andrew Justice

View more photos in the Picture Gallery

View tour programme