The second concert in Regent Hall’s Friday Bandstand Series, 1 November 2013, featured the London Central Fellowship Band (LCFB) (Bandmaster Julian Bright). The brainchild of Professor Stephen Maw, a former member of Regent Hall Band’s bass section, the Friday Bandstand series is intended to provide performance and ministry opportunities to Salvation Army bands. Special features of the concerts include printing words to all of the songs used in the items presented in the program and an interval where people can mix and meet old and new friends, with the Coffee Shop located in the Regent Hall facility open.
The Solent Fellowship Band presented a well-received concert as the first of the series in October. Thus, it was with some apprehension that the London Central Fellowship Band followed on with their program in November. Although it was a dark, damp and cold evening, by the time that newly-appointed Bandmaster Julian Bright brought the baton down, the ground floor was full, prompting late-comers to be ushered into the hitherto out of bounds balcony.
Bandmaster Bright’s program strategy is to take the listener on a journey, essentially entertaining, but none the less expressing the principal tenets of the Christian faith. The concert opened with a sedate and firm presentation of Torchbearers (Eric Ball), followed by a setting of the contemporary gospel song Shine on Us (Michael W. Smith, arr. James Wright, adapted Andrew Mackereth).
The first soloist of the evening was the band’s principal cornet, Dave Thomas, who presented Rhapsody for Cornet and Band (Ray Bowes). This fine lyrical solo was originally written for Terry Camsey. Thomas gave a confident performance, not least in the opening a capella section.
Dudley Bright is a man of many talents – principal trombone of the London Symphony Orchestra, member of the Regent Hall Band and brother of the LCFB’s bandmaster. His work Paean was written as he regained his physical and spiritual health following major heart surgery some years ago. Soli Deo Gloria (William Himes) is proving to be a favorite with Salvation Army bands, with its juxtaposition of Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring coupled with the contemporary song Jesus, Name Above All Names.
The familiar Gallop from the Wiliam Tell Overture (Rossini, arr. Dean Goffin) brought a change in mood, with the audience encouraged to provide hand claps at appropriate times. In contrast, the band presented Steven Ponsford’s take on the gospel song Now I Belong to Jesus. Building on the words “We have a gospel that matches the hour”, The Call of the Gospel (Martin Cordner) is an exciting festival arrangement written for the LCFB’s recording Bandology. All good things need to be tempered and what better to balance the sound of brass than Caroline Seredynski at the piano; her choice for the evening, some Liszt, was beautifully played.
The first half closed with the profound sounds of Eric Ball’s The Kingdom Triumphant. The powerful message of the three sections of this masterful piece, (1) The Vision of Judgment, (2) The First Advent and (3) The Vision of the Second Advent, were enhanced by program notes and Bandmaster Bright’s introductory comments.
Following the interval, the band jumped back into the program with Shoeburyness (Eilav Herikstad). Written as a tribute to Clarence Adoo, this is a foot-tapping festival march in Herikstad’s typical style. This was followed by an uplifting congregational song.
Much has been written recently about David Daws’ re-emergence on the brass band scene as a soloist, now on euphonium. The London Central Fellowship Band benefited from his leadership for several years. On this occasion he was back in a red jacket and played the solo The Better World (Norman Bearcroft). This was followed by There Is a Green Hill (arr. Roy Newsome) and the powerful Procession to Covenant (William Himes).
After some words of thanks and a blessing, the concert ended. The band played out with The Florentine March (Julius Fucik, arr. Frank Renton). Encouraged and far from brassed off, the band and audience braved the inclement weather as they made their way home.
Report submitted by Melvyn James, photos by Matt James