Bellshill Band in Northern Ireland

The Bellshill Band, under the direction of Bandmaster Ian Dickie, journeyed by ferry across the North Channel on 9 October 2004 for a weekend visit to Belfast Citadel. Arriving at noon, the band enjoyed a meal at the Wellington Park Hotel. The band’s work in Belfast began at 3:00 pm with a March of Witness. Joined by members of the Belfast Citadel Band, the route went through the city center, ending at City Hall.

At the City Hall, the Bellshill Band was greeted by the High Sheriff, Councillor Ruth Patterson, after a short concert on the grounds. The band was afforded the opportunity to play under the rotunda of the historic building. Councillor Patterson presented the band with a plaque bearing the Belfast Coat of Arms during a civic reception at the City Hall and led the band on a tour of the structure.

The Saturday evening festival was held at 7:30 pm at the Cooke Centenary Church. Bandmaster Dickie chose to open the concert with a classic march, Emblem of the Army, followed by the Maori folk song Hine e Hine. Following an invocation, congregational song, and introductions, Yvonne Ferguson began a series of solo items with the cornet solo Clear Skies. A vocal solo, Born Again, was sung by Olwyn Mathie. Lynn Shanks contributed the jazz-flavored flügelhorn solo So Glad. This was followed by the Bellshill corps officer, Captain Gary Robb, featured in William Himes’ tribute to second horn players everywhere, Solo Secondo.

The second half of the program began with a trombone ensemble, Peter, James and John, featuring Jim Pentney, Ian Anderson, Olwyn Mathie, and Trevor Martin. Following more audience participation in the form of a congregational song, the band presented Leslie Condon’s masterpiece, The Call of the Righteous. Another feature of the second half was a timbrel item, with several women from the band forming a brigade under the leadership of Lesley Ann Ferguson. A devotional period, featuring Scripture and words from Band Sergeant Sam Ritchie, followed, with the band playing Procession to Covenant and Gemma Gunn singing Love Can Build a Bridge. The festive air was restored with the march Salvation’s Song, followed by a benediction from Alex Burrow. The concert ended on a triumphant note, with the flags from both Bellshill and Belfast Citadel marched to the front of the hall as the band played another Condon favorite, Celebration.

Bellshill corps officer Captain Gary Robb presided over the Sunday worship services, starting with a prayer meeting and leading into the morning meeting. The meeting was conducted mainly by the visiting musicians, with the support of the Belfast Citadel Singing Company and Songsters. After the noon meal, the Bellshill band presented a varied program in a praise meeting format, opening with Fanfare Hymn and Thanksgiving. Solo and special items include Through It All sung by vocal soloist Gemma Gunn, Yvonne Ferguson performing Ray Bowes’ elegant Rhapsody for Cornet and Band, the horn solo Swiss Melodies played by Sarah Allen, the vocal solo Love Changes Everything sung by Jim Pentney, and Deputy Bandmaster Melvyn Shanks and Joanne Pentney presenting the cornet duet The Crusaders. Another feature was the vocal quartet Written in Red, featuring Gemma Gunn, Olwyn Mathie, Jim Pentney, and Alex Burrow. The major band work of the afternoon was King of Kings. The meeting ended with the march Danforth Citadel. Following the meeting both the Bellshill and Belfast Citadel bands assembled on the steps of the Citadel, playing several marches in a massed band formation.

The final event of the weekend was the evening service, held at the Belfast Citadel hall commencing at 6:00 pm. During this meeting, Olwyn Mathie contributed another vocal item, How Could You Say No?. The band played Amazing Grace and set a devotional mood prior to the message of the evening with Dean Goffin’s beautiful and moving selection The Light of the World.

Sources:
Bellshill Band web site
Belfast Citadel Corps web site