Review: Band of the Grenadier Guards

Category: Music

Variety is the spice of life (or so they say) and one of the key objectives for the Marlborough College Concert Series is to provide just that, both within the series as a whole and within the individual concerts themselves.

The concert given by The Band of the Grenadier Guards on Friday 4th November, conducted by Bandmaster Sarah Marinescu, and Musical Director Major Philip Stredwick, was a classic example of that objective: a colourful and varied programme and a huge contrast to the other concerts in the 2016/17 series.

The programme opened with a rousing fanfare and the national anthem performed by a select group of Guardsmen in full regalia including their impressive bear skins, which very much set the scene for what was to follow. Alongside the expected military marches, where the Grenadier Guards were perhaps (not surprisingly) at their very best, were some persuasive solo performances, with lead clarinettist David Wong's eloquent and stylish performance an absolute highlight. It was interesting to note that David visited the College two years ago to perform as Principal Clarinettist in the College's professional orchestra-in-partnership, Southbank Sinfonia, and this was certainly a very welcome and impressive return.

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Other highlights included a trip down memory lane with the Guardsman beginning the second half in original 18th-century costume, a swashbuckling performance of Shostakovich's Festive Overture, and the Grenadier Elegy and Regimental March bringing the concert to a classy conclusion. A packed audience witnessed an evening of tremendous energy, and with the proceeds for this concert being donated to the Royal British Legion (which amounted to several thousand pounds) this was an evening in which there was much to savour and celebrate.

Philip Dukes
Artistic Director

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