Bell Canto and Solent Fellowship Band in Concert

On Friday 31st October 2014, the Solent Fellowship Band (Bandmaster John Bird) and Bell Canto Hayling Island U3A handbell team (Conductor Derek Dunn) presented the third in a series of Bells and Brass concerts, held bi-annually in St. Mary’s Church, Hayling Island.

The concert commenced with a march, South Coast (Martyn Thomas) and then, in contrast, A Little Prayer (Evelyn Glennie, arr. Robert Childs). Following a welcome from Church Warden Alan Hoad, a congregational song and a prayer, the band played Jubilation! (James Curnow).

Individual items were contributed by principal tenor horn Callam Carter who played the Rondo from Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 4 (arr. Derek Jordan) and principal trombone Steve Jones who played Count Your Blessings (Brindley Boon). The cornet section was featured in Vivaldi’s Double Trumpet Concerto (arr. Simon Kerwin), which was conducted by Assistant Conductor David Samuels. He also conducted Myfanwy (Joseph Parry, arr. Kenneth Downie). Further band items included Tritsch-Tratsch (Johann Strauss, arr. Alan Fernie) and The Liberty Bell (John Philip Sousa).

The Fellowship Band was delighted to share this concert with Bell Canto, who presented their items in two sets. The first set was a group of classical excerpts, including Ode to Joy (Ludwig van Beethoven), an arrangement of a traditional French song, Cradle Song (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) and an excerpt from Johann Strauss’ Wine, Women and Song.

The handbell team’s second set was devoted to a poignant narration of the story of Denis Eagar, Sue Humphrey’s uncle who was killed in the First World War while still a teenager. While he was still in school, age 16, Eagar wrote several pieces of music, including War Hymn. It works beautifully when arranged for bells, and was played twice before Humphrey narrated the story of how Eagar, a quiet, sensitive youngster, budding poet and musician growing up in military family, had ambitions towards the Church as a vocation. Sadly, before realizing his ambition he became one of the legions of young subalterns lost in the carnage of war. After the story was told, the bell team returned to the hymn, playing very gently and quietly in a hushed church before the band brought the commemorative period to an end with Nimrod (Edward Elgar, arr. Dean Goffin).

Included in a time of reflection were words of Scripture and comment by Major Derek Smith. The band sang When Jesus Looked o’er Galilee (Catherine Baird/Ernest Fewster, arr. Leslie Condon) and played The Light of the World (Dean Goffin).

Following the Radetsky March (Johann Strauss, arr. Pat Ryan), the band played, as a benediction, the second section of Eric Ball’s suite The Pilgrim Way, associated with the words “God be in my head, and in my understanding”. Finally, Bandmaster Bird, who had compèred the program for an appreciative audience, concluded the concert with a foot-tapping rendition of the Finale from the W“William Tell” Overture (Rossini, arr. Dean Goffin).

The concert raised £1,000 for the St. Mary’s Community Room appeal. Alan Hoad expressed his appreciation for the evening’s activities.

Original report submitted by Band Secretary Tony Unwin