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events, so please keep in touch through these pages and feel free to contact us at any time
Visitors are always welcome to our rehearsals which are held on the second and fourth Mondays
of each month at the Bromley Temple Salvation Army Hall, Ethelbert Road, Bromley BR1 1HU.
The SLFB is open to mature, competent players who fall into one or more of the following categories-
i) are active, retired or former Salvation Army bandsmen
ii) are members of or regular attenders at other churches
iii) are sympathetic to The Salvation Army’s ethos and are committed to the Christian faith
Visit to Hove
20th October would not be a day in the year you would normally equate with brilliant blue sky and a temperature in the 20’s, however, as the members of the South London Fellowship Band descended on Hove Corps, it made for a very pleasant journey. Mention had been made that the Band was the first visiting section for at least 10 years, which made it even more of a pleasure to support the Corps in this joint concert with the Hove Community Choir.
The Band were greeted by the Corps Officers Doug & Michelle Hayter – instruments and uniforms were dropped by the hall and by the time we came back from parking our cars in an Industrial Unit, everything had been taken inside. Hove is an old-style hall with a downstairs seating up to a hundred and a similar size balcony, with a myriad of ante-rooms on three different levels.
The Band set up for a sound check, which included playing ‘How Sweet the Name’ (French) which would be used in the concert. A rehearsal ensued with the Hove Community Choir for the joint item which was to end the evening – ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. Rehearsal complete, there was a short break before the Buffet Tea – a splendid spread, which quickly disappeared – with the Band, Choir and Supporters enjoying the food and an Army Cup of Tea or Coffee. It was good to enjoy fellowship with each other and also welcome three ‘Deps’ for the evening, Lee, Barry & Wills.
The programme started with what is often regarded as the best Salvation Army march ever, ‘Celebration’ by the peerless Leslie Condon. It was immediately followed by the beautiful Len Ballantyne Arrangement – Mid All the Traffic – which uses the tune Shenandoah, which then led in to the opening prayer.
The Corps Officers then welcomed the Band, Choir and congregation reminding them that as entry was free, they wouldn’t be allowed to leave without donations to the Army’s Community Work! Later in the evening when the collection was taken it was heartening to see the plethora of notes. The band then led the congregation in the singing the recent, more upbeat version of ‘Praise My Soul the King of Heaven’.
So to the programme; which was kicked off with ‘Call of the Gospel’ by Martin Cordner, a favourite of the band, which produced a stirring rendition. The words of the featured chorus – ‘We have a Gospel that matches the hour, We have discovered the true source of power…..’ resonate with me personally about the mission of the band. The next item was the first of the band’s soloists – Maurice Horwood (trombone) playing Blessed Assurance. A modern arrangement with a bluesy/jazz feel to it and, as ever, played well by Maurice.
It’s always good to hear Community Choirs which are often led and hosted by Corps. The Hove Community Choir is made up of local people who enjoy the benefits of meeting and singing together. Their repertoire for this concert was songs from the stage and screen, under the leadership of Margaret Peacock and with Major Marian Parker as accompanist. They sang two numbers, ‘Raindrops Keep Falling on my head’ and the classic from Morecambe & Wise ‘Bring me Sunshine’. Brian Hillyer, the Band Librarian, certainly enjoyed it by putting his hands behind his head just as Morecambe & Wise used to do at the end of their TV shows! The joy of music and singing was certainly evident.
The band’s second soloist of the evening, Craig Finch (flugel horn), then played ‘Morricone’s Melody’ – more commonly known as Gabriel’s Oboe – a sensitive rendition of a great piece of music. Continuing the theme of music from stage and screen, the band played ‘Alone yet not alone’- a staple component of the band’s repertoire this year, it unusually features the baritone played for us by John Clark who, as ever played the opening with great skill. The final number of the first half was ‘Happy’ a brass band arrangement of the Pharrell Williams song of the same name, written for the movie ‘Despicable Me 2’. Not your usual number from a band associated with The Salvation Army, but it seemed to receive the loudest applause – as it did when the Band used it in William Booth Training College a few weeks earlier.
The second half started with a march – ‘Hove 125’ composed by Doug Hayter, who explained the reas
oning behind the choice of melodies used. This is always useful for musicians in understand how a composition came about.
The band’s third and final soloist, Adrian Horwood (euphonium) then played the technically demanding ‘Brillante’, based on Rule Britannia and as always Adrian gave a flawless performance.
It was the Community Choir’s turn next and we were treated to two songs from Abba. ‘Money, Money, Money’ and ‘Super Trouper’. The latter was the most demanding and was extremely well sung. Mention was made that it was some 44 years ago (1974) that Abba won the Eurovision Song Contest down the road in the Brighton Dome. The leader, choir, pianist and backing group should be congratulated for their performance.
The band then quietened the tone for the final part of the evening by playing ‘How Sweet the Name’ (French). This was played for Band Member Roy Payne who was in the congregation following a serious illness. This was his favourite arrangement and I am sure it provided great comfort for him. The scripture reading and thought was then provided by Bev Hudson, reminding us that we should not walk around with ‘Do Not Disturb’ signs. The Christian message is an active one and for the Gospel to be spread we need God’s presence in and through us. This led to the band’s final item ‘In God’s Presence’, a lovely arrangement by Andrew Blyth featuring the song ‘Bow the knee’.
And so to the finale. The choir and band joined together for “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from the 1945 Rodgers & Hammerstein musical Carousel…. and I am sure this went down a treat with any Liverpool fans present. It started with the choir, band and audience singing until the band added to the accompaniment for the rousing ending.
So ended a great evening of music and song.
Long weekend visit to Blackpool and Carlisle
SLFB visit to Blackpool
On Friday 28thSeptember the band visited Blackpool Citadel. It was to be a memorable journey fraught with traffic delays from start to finish. Stuck in the cortege that was the M6 at its worst, it became necessary to rethink our arrival plans, postponing the intended check-in at the hotel until after the evening concert. It was 6.05 when we finally arrived at the Citadel and with the programme scheduled to start at 7.00 we somehow managed to do justice to an excellent meal, unload the coach, get set-up, change into our uniforms and commence playing by 7.20.
We opened-up with the march ‘Lightbringer’ (a coals to Newcastle moment, given the host town was at the peak of its illuminations season) and immediately followed this with ‘Mid all the traffic of the ways’. Though a similarly ironic choice given the travel impediments experienced that day, the calming effects of Len Ballantyne’s arrangement re-focussed the band’s playing for the rest of the evening ahead.
The programme featured solos from Maurice Horwood (Trombone) ‘Blessed Assurance’, Craig Finch (Flugel) ‘Morricone’s Melody’and Adrian Horwood (Euphonium) ‘Brillante’. Adrian also led the band’s Male Voice items ‘Whosoever Heareth’and ‘What will you do with Jesus?’
Though not billed as solo performances, special mention must be made of John Clarke’s rendition of the starkly exposed baritone melody in ‘Alone but not alone’and Roger Gadsden’s tenor horn obbligato in ‘What will you do with Jesus?’, both contributing significantly to the impact of those items.
Our ‘major work’ for the evening was a performance of Dean Goffin’s ‘Symphony of Thanksgiving’. Though full of individual difficulties for every player, the band should be allowed a modicum of self-satisfaction for a fine performance, warmly endorsed by the most appreciative audience.
A moment of reflection was contributed by John Moye, basing his thoughts around some well-chosen verses from Philippians 2.
Other items featured during the evening were ‘The Crystal Tide’, ‘In God’s Presence’and the march ‘Britannia’.
A long but ultimately satisfying day ended, the highest commendation must go to our patient and skilful coach driver, Colin Richardson.
We travel north through the Lake District
At 7:15 am, the sun rose over Blackpool, heralding the beginning of the second day of the South London Fellowship Band’s long-weekend visit to the north west of England. Band Secretary Rowland Little had thoughtfully arranged for all the band and supporters to have (if we wished) a full English breakfast in the Beefeater restaurant, which made for a relaxed and pleasant start to the day.
With Carlisle being just under 100 miles north of Blackpool, it was planned that we would have a relatively leisurely drive up through the Lake District. All we needed was decent weather, which, fortunately, we did have. “Local lad” Rowland gave us a running commentary as we passed through Windermere, Ambleside, Grasmere, Thirlmere, enjoying the beauty of the hills and fells with their distinctive drystone walls and the Lakes. Major Paul Church brought an on-coach devotional thought and prayer and Bev Hudson told us something of the background and story of the Carlisle Corps Officers, Captains Mel and Steve Scoulding.
A lunch stop was taken at the delightful market town of Keswick, with some also taking in a stroll to view nearby Derwent Water.
We arrive in Carlisle
Friday’s frustrating journey up the M6 had meant that we were unable to check into our Blackpool hotel until after the evening programme. So we were all pleased when we arrived at our Carlisle hotel in good time, looking forward to an hour or so’s relaxation. But it was not to be. A mix up by the hotel’s administration meant that none of our keys were ready – and some rooms not prepared. So we were ushered into the adjoining restaurant for a free cup of coffee (much to the annoyance of the restaurant management) whilst this was all sorted out. Rowland remained calmly in control throughout, and eventually we all found our rooms – although some had barely 15 minutes before the coach was scheduled to depart again for the hall.
A much-appreciated hot meal awaited the band in the Carlisle hall, and we were soon on the platform presenting our Saturday evening programme to a good-sized audience.
Our conductor, Darrell Scholes, had put together a basic programme format to cover both Friday and Saturday evenings, with the option to change a few items on the Saturday. So our Carlisle audience were able to enjoy some items not heard in Blackpool: the festival march Celebration(Condon), All the world is waiting(arr Sharman) and another festival march Britannia (Smith).
Principal cornet Alan Moyse played with sensitivity Lord, show me what I need(Bowes).Our other soloists – Maurice Horwood (Trombone), Craig Finch (Flugel Horn) and Adrian Horwood (Euphonium) – again “did us proud”
Bev Hudson brought some thoughts from the Word of God (John 6), with the Male Voices singing, soon after, What will you do with Jesus?(arr Bearcroft).
The major work was again Dean Goffin’s Symphony of Thanksgiving, which the band had first performed the previous evening. Published in 1952, this SA brass classic still “comes up fresh”, challenging conductors and players alike and thrilling listeners.
We share in Harvest Sunday
A little before 10:00 am, the band and the Corps gathered together to commit the day to God in prayer, led by Adrian Horwood. Adrian had prepared a song sheet for all, so that each prayer topic voiced by a member of the band was reflected in a sung verse.
Bridging the very short interval between the prayer meeting and morning worship, the band played an arrangement of the song Take my life and let it beby Kenneth Downie, entitled All for thee.
At the outset of Harvest Festival Sunday morning worship, Major Paul Church challenged his listeners with “What are you expecting from today?” reassuring all that “his blessing will be among us”. Major Paul later expertly “directed traffic” for the Carlisle Corps Harvest Altar Service – calmly coping with a song and tune mismatch!
In giving his personal testimony, Rowland Little said that he left Carlisle (his home town) 53 years ago, whilst Tracy Wood (Chatham) demonstrated her skills as a YP and youth worker when she roped in three Carlisle young people to help her in an illustration involving some (very messy!) sandwich making.
Carlisle Songsters (Songster Leader Ian Johnstone) sang Tom Fettke’s arrangement of Bow the knee,which brought much blessing – and demonstrated that quality singing is achievable when using a backing track. For its contribution to Sunday worship, the Band played Steven Ponsford’s A special moment. Published in April this year, this sensitive arrangement is based on the John Larsson melody God’s Moment.
Roger Gadsden gave the bible message, based on Habakkuk 3 and Acts 14 (which John Rodgers had read earlier), affirming that, whether or not there is a harvest, we must “rejoice in the Lord” and “be joyful in God my Saviour”, who is sovereign and in control.
A final “blow” – then push for home
The need to get back on the road to London meant that it was not possible to schedule a second meeting/programme in Carlisle – but we did manage to squeeze in a Salvation Praise Wind Up. The band’s two contributions were Songs of Testimony(Bearcroft) and Music Maker(Graham). Carlisle Band (Bandmaster Gordon Hiscox) gave a crisp rendition of the March Medley Good Old Army(Simmons-Smith) from the American Band Journal, with the weekend concluding with both bands uniting in a golden oldie from 1934: Montreal Citadel (Audoire).
A hasty buffet lunch then, at 1:45 pm, back on the coach for the long journey home from Carlisle. Apart from one minor delay on the M6, the return journey was without incident, with Brian Hillier taking the opportunity to pay tribute to former Fellowship Bandsman (and Gravesend colleague) Bill Davis, who was promoted to glory on the Friday morning when we left for Blackpool. (The sad news was conveyed to the band by the Gravesend CO when the coach called in there.) Our coach returned to Gravesend around 10:15 pm, finally arriving back at Tunbridge Wells an hour later.
Throughout the whole trip, the band had been in the safe hands of our coach driver, Colin Richardson. A round trip in excess of 750 miles, with Colin fitting in playing 1st Cornet in between driving duties. Many, many thanks Colin.
SLFB latest CD
A South London Celebration
For full details and how to obtain your copy (£12.95 each), please click here
We have now added a Photo Gallery to our website which you can open by clicking on the button at the top of this page. If you view these as a slide show, you will get the benefit of seeing the images in full screen
- October 2018
- September 2018
- July 2018
- April 2018
- March 2018
- December 2017
- November 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- March 2017
- December 2016
- April 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- October 2015
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- June 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- October 2014
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- March 2014
- November 2013
- September 2013
- July 2013
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- May 2013
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- February 2013
- November 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- June 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012