Monthly Archives: June 2019

Visit to Gravesend 2019

The South London Fellowships Band’s annual visit to Gravesend is always an anticipated event and this year is no different.  Gravesend holds a special place with the SLFB and more so this year as Brian Hillier – a founder member of the band – recently celebrated his 90th birthday.

 So, once again the band gave a fantastic evening of worship and music at Gravesend – this year presenting A Musical Extravaganza (under the leadership of Musical Director Darrell Scholes) in support of The Big Collection.  

 The band provided a varied and delightful programme of music, which commenced with the band’s opening march ‘Solid Rock’ (Paul Sharman); a new piece in the band’s repertoire which set the concert off in spectacular fashion.    This was closely followed by ‘A Special Moment’ (Steven Ponsford), which quickly switched the moods to one of reflection as we were reminded of the words “This is God’s moment, God’s moment for you”, taking us into an opening prayer.  

 Following a welcome by the Corps Officer, Major Bryn Hargreaves, the congregation were inviting to sing ‘Love Divine’ to a contemporary brass arrangement from the Spiritual Based Songs series.

 With little respite, the band was put into immediate action with Howard Davies’s “Songs of Australia”, a selection of local folksongs such as “Botany Bay” and “Waltzing Matilda”.   

 This year the band was supported by vocal soloist Lisa Davis (Chatham Citadel) – a longstanding friend of the band.  Lisa brought Songs from the Shows, with her first set presented delightfully, captivating the audience with My Favourite Things (The Sound of Music) and Over the Rainbow (Wizard of Oz).

 In a slight twist in expectation, the band played Yesterday’ (arranged by Goff Richards) – a fantastic brass arrangement of Paul McCartney’s classic track that was first released on the Beatles’ Help! album in August 1965.

 For the major work of the evening, the band played Albert Jakeway’s excerpts from Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in “Gems from Beethoven”.

 Adrian Horwood conducted Leslie Condon’s reflective male voice setting of ‘When Jesus Looked O’er Galilee’, allowing the listener to reflect on Easter, occurring just a few weeks ago.  This led reflectively into the Scripture thought by John Moye, focusing on Mark 16: v14–20 where Jesus appeared to his disciples –particularly pertinent as we approach Ascension.  John linked his thought into the brief story of Charlotte Elliot (1789-1871), who – despite her debilitating illness in later life – penned over 150 hymns, with one of her more prominent hymns ‘Just as I am, without one plea’.  The band responded with Wilfred Heaton’s dramatic tone poem of the same title – which resulted in some of the band’s finest playing of the evening.

This set the scene for Corps Officer Major Bryn Hargreaves to make an appeal on behalf of the corps for a collection in support of the Salvation Army’s Big Collection and resulted in just over £200 being raised for the cause.

 The second half of the evening took the form of a short Last Night at the Proms.  Once Brain Hillyer had handed out numerous British flags to the audience, they were quickly warmed up with Hubert Parry’s ‘Jerusalem’ (arr. Jakeway) and Holst’s ‘I Vow To Thee My Country’ (arr. Ray Steadman-Allen) – with lyrics prepared and presented by the band’s audio-visual technician Major Graham Kinsley.

 Lisa Davis sang the contemplative ‘Bring Him Home’ (Les Miserables) with sensitive band accompaniment and ‘Wouldn’t It Be Lovely (My Fair Lady) to bring her very pleasurable contribution to a conclusion.


The audience were encouraged again to sing ‘The Sailor’s Hornpipe’, ‘Thine is the Glory’ and ‘Rule Britannia’ – excerpts from ‘Fantasia on British Sea Songs’ (Henry Woods, arr Denis Wright) and rounded off with ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ from Pomp and Circumstance – all of which was sung with much vigour.

 And for the final treat –the birthday boy, Brian Hillyer, gave a commanding performance as guest conductor for the final piece of the evening, the March ‘Beaumont’ (GH Dickens).



The band’s annual visit to Gravesend has yet again delivered a great evening of music; we very much look forward to next year!