After many months of prayer, planning and preparations, “The Sage Event”, hosted by Sunderland Millfield Corps at Sage Gateshead, on 22 March 2014, was a great success. Special guests, The King's Singers and Philip Cobb, principal trumpet of the London Symphony Orchestra, gave memorable performances as well as spiritual encouragement to an audience numbering in excess of 600. Guest of honor Clarence Adoo, who was the compère, provided insightful and knowledgeable comments which added much to the success of a memorable evening. The Sunderland Millfield Band provided superb support throughout the concert.
The King’s Singers quickly endeared themselves to northeasterners with the inclusion of the traditional song, “When the boat comes in!” in their first set. A time of special blessing arrived with the group sang a selection of Salvation Army vocal music, selected from their three recordings of Salvation Army devotional songs. This set included The Quiet Heart, Don’t Doubt Him Now and Reflections.
The versatility of the Singers was demonstrated to full effect in Masterpiece, sung in the varying styles of numerous classical composers of the past 400 years. Having brought a selection of songs from their Great American Songbook album, the group, accompanied by the band, sang Leonard Ballantine’s arrangement of Amazing Grace as an encore.
There are insufficient words in the English language to express the emotions evoked by Philip Cobb’s playing. Although his reputation as a fine trumpeter is well known, those hearing him live for the first time were “blown away” by his tone, range and dexterity.
Solos from Cobb ranged from the energetic fluidity of the trumpet solo Viruosity to Andrew Mackereth’s flügelhorn gem I Surrender All and from The Glorious Fountain to Share My Yoke, both played on the cornet. These solos, along with Concerto for Trumpet (Harry James) were accompanied by the band. One detail of note was that Cobb donned his Salvation Army uniform for the second half of the concert – a silent but very effective witness.
In addition to serving as accompaniment for Cobb’s solos, the band also contributed several items, including Salvation’s Song, ’Mid All the Traffic and Goff Richards’ arrangement of I Will Follow Him. The King’s Singers joined in on percussion and Philip Cobb on trumpet for an enhanced presentation of El Es El Senor.
“The Sage Event” will remain in the memory of all who attended. Not only was musical talent of the highest quality demonstrated, but, more importantly, it brought the Gospel message to many who perhaps had never been exposed to it before.
“Millfield Matters” newsletter, 23rd edition