Band of HM Royal Marines, Norwich

MICHAEL DRAKE If you can't have them marching and playing on the square the next best is to see a Royal Marine band in concert.

MICHAEL DRAKE

If you can't have them marching and playing on the square the next best is to see a Royal Marine band in concert and last evening the versatility of the Portsmouth Band, directed by Bandmaster Chris Gould, assisted by WO Ian Monnery, was put on show at St Andrew's Hall in a programme of some of their favourite pieces.

Quick march time plus the precision of a quintet from the Corps of Drums in all the finery of their traditional uniform, followed the opening up-beat and brassy Bach Toccata (without the Fugue) in D minor and the wide ranging programme also included some stunning oboe, euphonium and xylophone solos.

The overture from Russlan and Ludmilla, pacy and with impressive woodwind, an evocative Orient Express ride and swinging big band feature were highlights before a rousing finale of traditional maritime and patriotic music which included in contrast John Williams' Hymn to the Fallen, poignantly played in an oasis of reflection.

And these first class musicians, including some from Norfolk and Suffolk, giving first class entertainment were also right on cue for St Patrick's Day with a lively and exciting Riverdance.

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