Composers Edition takes a look back at a very special occasion
A year ago, on 15 February 2020, Liz Lane’s Innovation 216 was performed under the wings of Concorde to a sell out audience at Aerospace Bristol. It was the last live concert many of the participants were able to take part in and involved around 280 musicians aged 7-70 in a celebration of more than 100 years of aerospace engineering in Bristol.
Since then the world has been turned upside down with the limitations to travelling making those images of easy and frequent flights seem like a nostalgic memory to some of us. We thought this could be a good moment to look back at that amazing performance of Innovation 216 under the wings of Concorde and consider the power of music which take us to different times and places, at anytime.
Liz Lane’s Innovation 216 was inspired by the iconic Concorde 216, last ever built and the final one assembled and flown at Bristol Filton Airport, and the last ever to fly, returning to Filton from Heathrow Airport on 26 November 2003. The piece was commissioned by Bristol Cultural Development Partnership and traces Bristol’s aerospace history through the reminiscences and memories of past and present workers in the industry.
You can watch an excerpt from the rehearsal of Innovation 216 featuring one of the Concorde themes in Liz Lane’s Youtube channel:
To capture what it meant to those present, here are just some of heartfelt comments from participants in that memorable event:
No matter where in the world we have travelled, or what we have done, we will have a musical memory of that experience .. music and aviation come together to help realise our dreams; bring friends, families and colleagues closer and provide lasting memories. I will never forget the bands and the choirs performing Liz Lane’s amazing Innovation 216 under the wings of Concorde . For me that was the pinnacle of aviation and music coming together to commemorate aviation history and help relive all those unforgettable moments I have had with Concorde and aviation – brilliant!Iain Gray, Chair, Aerospace Bristol
‘I never achieved my ambition to fly on Concorde but to share the stage with her and 300 committed and enthusiastic musicians has to be one of the great highlights of my musical career. I undoubtedly had the best seat in the house, although ‘directing the traffic’ in that cavernous space was at times a challenge. All who were involved should be very proud of their tribute to this fine lady and to the tremendous role that Bristol has played in the history of aviation. More please!’Ian Holmes, conductor, massed bands and choirs
To play under the wings of Concorde was one of the highlights of my 63 years of banding – it was simply Super – Sonic!Robert Morgan, Secretary Lydbrook Band, conductor Lydbrook Training Band
Lydbrook Band, a committed and proficient group of friends and musicians from the Forest of Dean. Joined by three vibrant, enthusiastic youth bands, and a balcony full of local choirs. Plus an appreciative sell out audience. All sharing the stage with Concorde? An awe-inspiring opportunity that nobody will forget. The music of Liz Lane is always magical and to have her at the event, explaining her imaginative creation only adds to the moment. A very special evening that nobody realised would be quite so poignant as we all looked up at this iconic aircraft.Trevor Moss, Chairman, Lydbrook Band
‘Being part of a wonderful musical occasion was truly memorable. Having worked on the Concorde project in the Seventies, Innovation 216 transported me back to many good memories. I suppose that’s the positive power of good music. The concert venue under Concordes wings was inspired. The musical sounds created by the composer, the use of brass and voices, the involvement of young players – just wonderful.’Kevin Ford, conductor, Lydney Training Band
Standing beneath and around Concorde, making this really powerful music was extraordinary . As ever when singing with a choir, it transported us and the audience to a place, in our minds and hearts, of joy and delight. You’ll remember it was a really stormy night and that added to the atmosphere and the sense that we were doing something uniquely exciting.Liz Cunningham, Chair, City of Bristol Choir
To step aboard Concorde and hear the echos of an already bygone era of the glamorous days of aviation and then sing at the tip of her nose, imagining her cracking through the air at Mach 2 while we mark the important part Bristol played in the development of these and other majestic birds was a beautiful tribute.Jez Wilde, Bristol Man Chorus
Singing and hearing the brass band making the fascinating sounds of an iconic aircraft in front of that very aircraft, in the presence of Liz Lane, was an amazing experiencePhilippa Rowe, Airbus Filton Workplace Choir
‘It was really exciting playing in the Concert. I’ve never been on an aeroplane before, and to see a real Concorde was breathtaking. Performing underneath it felt very special. The main piece, Innovation 216, was incredible to play and powerful. It was very clever to hear how all the different sounds were for all the different aircraft. I will remember it forever!’Bertie Barzillia, age 7, Lydbrook Training Band
Tags: Aerospace Bristol, Airbus Filton Workplace Choir, Bristol MAN Chorus, City of Bristol Choir, City of Bristol Learning Band, Concorde, Concorde 216, Gurt Lush Choir, Ian Holmes, Innovation 216, Liz Lane, Lydbrook Band, Lydbrook Training Band, Lydney Training Band, members of Royal Mail Choir, members of UWE Singers