Celebration Overture (2000)
A celebration of new life in Christ

Festival Series 575 (publ. 2002)
Duration: approx. 8:30 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come!”
(2 Cor 5:17)


Celebration Overture was written for the ISB at the request of Staff Bandmaster Stephen Cobb.  He felt the band needed a new selection of contemporary tunes for its programme and I was very pleased to supply this piece. 

A particularly quirky memory of this piece is being part of the ISB when the band played the piece at Regent Hall SA in London (around March 2000). I remember the audience breaking into laughter at the end of the first song (it ends in a light-hearted manner - but not that light-hearted!). Then, during sensitive playing of the second song - a reflective song - one of the audio technicians on duty that day came on to the platform (stage) in front of the band and proceeded to move microphone stands around. It was like a scene from Morecambe and Wise!

Anyhow, as you probably know, overtures are musical preludes to operas, acts of operas, ballets and other dramatic works. The idea of the overture is to familiarise the audience with the music within the opera or ballet they are about to see or hear. Themes and motifs from arias, choruses and duets are communicated through the overture before the production commences.

Clip by the
Amsterdam Staff Band
from their Album
Rejoice, the Lord is King! (2004)

Celebration Overture clip (ASB).mp3


 Sample score pages
(right-click to download or 
open in a new window)  

Celebration Overture p16-17.pdf Celebration Overture p16-17.pdf
Size : 79.391 Kb
Type : pdf

In the same manner, this overture seeks, through contemporary Christian songs, to promote themes and ideas associated with the life-changing transformation that is becoming a Christian. 

The first chorus, I am a new creation is a song of conversion – accepting God’s grace and forgiveness. The new Christian is born again.

I am a new creation, no more in condemnation, 
Here in the grace of God I stand. 
My heart is overflowing, 
My love just keeps on growing, 
Here in the grace of God I stand.

And I will praise You Lord, 
Yes I will praise You Lord, 
And I will sing of all that You have done. 
A joy that knows no limit, 
A lightness in my spirit, 
Here in the grace of God I stand. 

Dave Bilbrough
© 1983 Kingsway's Thankyou Music.

As he continues in his walk, the new Christian testifies that There is a Redeemer – Christ has saved him from sin. He gives thanks for what God has done for him and for the work God will do through him in the future.

There is a redeemer, Jesus, God's own Son,
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah,
Holy One.

Thank You, O my Father,
For giving us Your Son,
And leaving Your Spirit-
Till the work on earth is done.

Melody Green 
© 1982 Birdwing Music/BMGSongs/EMIChristian Music Publishing/Adm. by CopyCare.

Yet the experience of the Christian cannot cease at conversion. The third chorus is a challenge to the new Christian; to Let your light so shine.   This chorus refers to Jesus’ words found in Matthew 5:16  (NIV) -

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good deeds, and praise your Father in heaven.”

Let your light so shine that the darkness flies away,
Darkness flies away,
Yes, the darkness flies away.
Let your light so shine that the darkness flies away,
Yes, the darkness flies away.

For when a lamp is lit is not hidden,
But held up high where it gives out light to all.
Yes, when a lamp is lit is not hidden,
But held up high to give out light to all.

Let your light so shine...

Matt. 5:14-16 arr. Terry Camsey
Happiness & Harmony no. 38


As the Christian seeks to illuminate Christ through his daily living he is reminded in the fourth song All Heaven Declares, that the glory of the risen Lord Jesus Christ is the ultimate manifestation of new, resurrected life.

All heaven declares
The glory of the risen Lord.
Who can compare
With the beauty of the Lord?
Forever He will be
The Lamb upon the throne.
I gladly bow the knee
And worship Him alone.

Noel and Tricia Richards
© 1987 Kingsway's Thankyou Music.

A two bar glockenspiel solo is a reference to a popular school Christmas song by Valerie Collison, and invites the listener to Come and join the celebration...

The last song, We celebrate You (publ. 1999 in 'Sing to the Lord' vol. 6 part 2), was written by Lieut-Colonels Robert and Gwyneth Redhead for the centenary of Penge Songsters in 1998 (It is thought that Penge were the first ever SA singing group to be commissioned as songsters). The song celebrates God as Father, Son and Spirit and acknowledges that the world needs God. 

With this, the new Christian asks God to “help … bring the good news”, his plea to God that the world might be influenced by the strong, personal testimony of the new Christian. Thus the final movement reveals that the ultimate celebration of the Christian is not about himself, but about God.


------------------------------------------------- Other recordings ---------------------------------------------------

A Celebration (2003)
Impact Brass 

A Journey Through Time (2005)
Proclaim! (year?)
Newfoundland & Labrador East Divisional Youth Band
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