The 250th anniversary of the birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (27 January 2006) was the date for the “Five Minute New Year Concert”, held at the Upper Norwood Salvation Army hall. The concert featured the South London Fellowship Band and South London Youth Band, totaling 70 musicians ranging in age from 12 to 84. Special guests for the concert were Nicholas Lester and Kerry Sampson, originally of the Norwood Corps in South Australia and now soldiering at Regent Hall in London. Lester and Sampson are classically trained opera singers. The concert, featuring no items longer than five minutes, was ably controlled by the Upper Norwood corps officer, Major Mark Herbert, who served as compére.
The Youth Band began the evening with William Himes’ exciting march Motivation, conducted by Paul Graham. Other contributions from the Youth Band during the concert included contemporary items such as Praise Party and Shine Down.
Contrasting with the contemporary sounds of the Youth Band was the Fellowship Band, presenting items in a classical vein, including a rendition of the Rondo from Mozart’s Horn Concert in Eb presented by three members of the Fellowship Band horn section and items by Lehar and Gounod. A featured item was retired corps sergeant-major Godfrey Carter, playing Vilia from “The Merry Widow” as a baritone solo. The band was also challenged with Bandmaster George Whittingham’s choice of the Finale from the ballet Faust.
Songs from West End musicals are rarely performed in Salvation Army halls, and this evening featured items from four of them, including Guys and Dolls, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misables, and Annie Get Your Gun, performed by Lester and Sampson, the special guests.
Major Herbert gave devotional thoughts during a period of reflection, drawing a contrast between earthly success and true success with a relationship with Christ, using contemporary newspaper reports as well as Scripture from 1 Corinthians. This was followed by a contemplative euphonium duet, I’ll Not Turn Back (Ivor Bosanko), performed by two young soloists, Stephen Kane and Matthew Ingram.
The evening was truly All Things Bright and Beautiful (the John Rutter arrangement of this song was played by the Fellowship Band), and audience was appreciative, including four young people from a teenager’s hostel who were attending their first event ever at a Salvation Army hall. Proceeds from the offering for the evening were for the benefit of the Upper Norwood corps.
South London Fellowship Band web site