THE flag was flying for St George when music lovers packed the Victoria Hall for a patriotic gala concert.

Smithills School bands performed to a capacity audience, with the multi-award winning Senior Brass Band performing Kenneth Alfor’s march, Army of The Nile, and the Mary Poppins music to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Disney film.

Guests, including the Mayor and Mayoress of Bolton, Cllr Colin Shaw and his wife Dee, and headteacher Alec Cottrill enjoyed a rendition by singer John Kearns of Til I Hear You Sing, from Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s musical, Love Never Dies .

The Community Choir, accompanied by the Senior Brass Band, also sang the Vera Lynn favourites, White Cliffs of Dover and We’ll Meet Again.

Highlights of a packed programme, which also included performances by the Community Wind Band, included both bands performing the March Medley 1914 as members of the armed forces and uniformed organisations paraded into the hall in remembrance of World War One.

The uplifting Land of Hope and Glory and Jerusalem were performed by the choir, as was Psalm 23, The Lord Is My Shepherd, which some people would recognise as the theme tune to the television comedy The Vicar of Dibley.

All the musicians and singers then performed Rule Britannia and the National Anthem.

Assistant headteacher Chris Wormald said: “The evening concluded with an encore of Land of Hope And Glory, which brought the concert to a rousing conclusion.

“Everything had certainly worked to perfection throughout the evening and the whole audience spontaneously stood up at the conclusion to give the 200-plus performers a heartfelt and extended standing ovation.

“The concert was yet another huge success for everyone at Smithills and for everyone who had participated in the evening.”

The concert was held in aid of Rotary charities — bringing in more than £3,000 for Help for Heroes and Bolton Hospice, but the audience also donated at total of £3,000 for Smithills Senior Brass Band’s 2014 America tour fund.