A first for the Solent Fellowship Band (Bandmaster John Bird), an ensemble of about 16 members of the band played at a birthday party. This was a special birthday party, held in the Methodist Church at Waltham Chase to celebrate the 90th birthday of one of the Fellowship Band’s back row cornets, Don Frankham .
The ensemble played South Coast, Amazing Grace, ’Mid All the Traffic, Light Up the Sunshine and Fill the World with Music. Also included were the hymn tunes “Annie Laurie”, “Amazing Grace” and “What a Friend” as family and guests, many from the world of brass bands, gathered to enjoy happy fellowship and pay their respects to a much-loved father, grandfather and great-grandfather. They also expressed gratitude for his lifetime in brass, teaching youngsters at over 28 schools in the private and public sectors and organizing, directing and conducting bands at all levels for far in excess of sixty years.
The centerpiece of the afternoon was “This Is Your Life, Don Frankham!” with music. Guitar and vocal contributions from Frankham’s grandsons were interspersed with music from the ensemble, including All in the April Evening and The Radetsky March. The ensemble had the pleasure of having Frankham conduct the all-time favorite Star Lake.
As a young man, Frankham was conscripted into the military, and the gathering heard how the strength of his faith carried him through many dangerous, life-threatening events in World War II. These ranged from a glider crash when a tow rope unexpectedly severed to being pinned down under accurate sniper fire with many around him being killed.
As teas was served the ensemble played Flow Gently Sweet Afton, Praise Party, The Old Rugged Cross and Finlandia, with Frankham conducting a couple of items to round out the afternoon.
Solent Fellowship Band web site