On the weekend of 27 – 28 September 2014, the South London Fellowship Band (Bandmaster Darrell Scholes) celebrated its 20th anniversary. The weekend festivities were held at Bromley Temple Corps in front of an audience made up of former members and friends made over the last twenty years.
Saturday, 27 September 2014
The Saturday evening program was led by the Fellowship Band’s founder, Major George Whittingham. The concert gave a full representation of the band’s musical ability with a range of items, such as the march Pakefield, Eric Ball’s classic The Triumph of Peace (Bandmaster Scholes’ musicianly performance of the solo cornet line “Peace in Our Time, O Lord” in this piece was a delight to hear) and Crown of Gold.
Before the concert all of the current members of the band received a special label badge commemorating the event. During the evening, all of the former members who were present also received a badge, a number of them commenting how proud and privileged they were to receive this memento of a special occasion.
The band’s depth of soloist talent was evident in the items featured during the evening. Alan Moyes showed that age does not place a barrier on tone as be played the cornet solo Clear Skies (Eric Ball). The euphonium skills of Adrian Horwood are legendary and he did not disappoint as he gave a stunning performance of The Better World (Norman Bearcroft).
A cornet trio consisting of three founding members of the band – Andy Stewart, Eric Rapp and Brian Hillyer – was introduced as having over 200 years of combined playing experience. They romped through the aptly named trio The Veterans. The trombone section was featured in an arrangement of Over the Rainbow and Les Swift sang A Different Man.
The evening had commenced with the march Roll Call, during which a multimedia presentation listing the names of all present and former members of the band was shown. Later in the evening, following a Bible message by Roger Gadsden about fellowship, the band played I’ll Walk with God as a fitting choice to back another presentation listing those members of the band who had been promoted to Glory.
A regular feature of the band’s programs is the band singing. After the opening march, the band sang The Lord’s Prayer which made a tremendous impact on those present and set the standard for the rest of the evening. Other vocal items during the concert included Sound the Battle Cry and Rock of Ages.
Former bass trombonist Roy Horscroft spoke about his 18 years in the band, including a recounting of the time that he arranged for the band to play for the Archbishop of Southwark by the bishop’s request.
Towards the end of the evening, Major Whittingham spoke some well-chosen words concerning the beginning of the band and the intervening years, before handing the baton over to Bandmaster Scholes, who conducted the band in the final item of the evening, My Comfort and Strength (Brian Bowen).
Sunday, 28 September 2014
On Sunday, the band led the morning meeting at Bromley Temple, during which they played I Know a Fount, I Know Thou Art Mine and By Love Compelled, which lead into Major Whittingham’s message on “Eternal Love”. Local sections were represented by the Bromley Singing Company.
In the afternoon, the band once again presented a varied program led by Bandmaster Scholes. Items included The Golden West, Music Maker, On the Road and Guardian of My Soul. Solo items in the afternoon included In This Quiet Moment (Stuart Gilbert, baritone), He Wipes the Tear (John Rogers, tuba), Harbour Light (Adrian Horwood, euphonium). The trombone section was featured in The Cleansing Stream.
Phil Edwards, a founding member and currently in the E♭ bass section, gave his reminiscences of the early days of the band. Bromley Songster Brigade represented the local corps during the afternoon, singing items that included A Midnight Cry and Hush Now.
Stuart Gilbert, on his last official engagement with the band, gave the message from God’s Word before the band brought the weekend to a close by playing God Be with You.
South London Fellowship Band web site, original report by publicity officer Maurice Horwood