A grand finale for ‘The Art of Flight’

We may have seen something of a record here at St George’s on Sunday evening, as we played host to a ‘super’ brass band of some 90-plus players and over 150 singers. The reason? Our grand finale for ‘The Art of Flight’, the culmination not just of a weekend of events, but almost a year of concerts (and the rest) celebrating the magic of flight.  The final word in Sunday evening’s performance went to composer Liz Lane, who was commissioned by Festival of Ideas/Bristol800/St George’s to create a brand new piece of music.

The result is ‘Innovation 216’, an immersive, memorable and moving love letter to Bristol’s aviation story, with musical nods to some of the city’s most famous aircraft. From the ill-fated ‘Britannia’ and the ‘Beaufort’, to the mighty ‘Brabazon’ and the iconic ‘Concorde’, each was given its moment of glory, with stunning brass writing and impactful words by Jennifer Henderson and others derived from past and present members of the industry.

The sound in the hall was exhilarating as brass and voices united; it’s a wonder the roof itself didn’t lift off.  Spirits did soar, though, and we are delighted with the music Liz composed.  Let’s hope more audiences get to hear ‘Innovation 216’ again in the not too distant future…

Innovation 216 – Texts

Blenheim Light Bomber, Beaufort, Beaufighter

Swept on the airflow

leaving the land below.


Shuddering, juddering to the skies:

murmuring, purring the metal giant flies.


Rise and away on mounting wing,

whispering giant her song to sing.


Bird that sailed above the cloud

and boomed a song aloud.

Words by Jennifer Henderson

Additional Texts

air to air refuelling’…. ‘automation’….

‘3D printed aerostructures’…. ‘drones….

‘safer, greener, faster, cleaner, quieter, cleverer, lighter, smarter’…. ‘quieter and quieter’…. ‘space’….

‘supersonic in the future – Concorde legacy’….

Words by past and present members of Bristol’s aerospace industry


The Art of Flight was supported by

AoF Logo Banner2

Photographs courtesy of Lydbrook Band/Mark Lythaby