Weekend in Sunderland for Bellshill Band

On the weekend of 1 – 2 November 2014, the Bellshill Band (Bandmaster Yvonne Ferguson) visited Sunderland Monkwearmouth. The theme for the weekend, “God’s Promises”, was carried through the music and testimonies of the Bellshill musicians during a Saturday evening festival, Sunday morning worship and a Sunday afternoon praise meeting.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

The first event of the weekend got off to a great start as the band played the festival march Milestone (William Himes), followed by an arrangement of the devotional song Take Time to Be Holy.

Several of the band’s soloists were featured during the festival. Daniel McMillan brought the vocal solo He Will Carry You. The cornet solo Clear Skies (Eric Ball) was excellently played by Alex Ramsay. Euphonium soloist Chris Shanks gave a brillant performance of Euphony (Robert Redhead). Finally, Lynn Shanks played her testimony on flügelhorn with Through It All, a solo especially written for her by Andrew Blyth. Also, Christopher Keane gave a word of testimony during the festival, speaking of “God’s Promises”, which was the band’s theme for the weekend.

Bellshill Band at Sunderland Monkwearmouth Corps

Bellshill Band at Sunderland Monkwearmouth Corps

The band played well throughout the Saturday festival, but there were some items which stood out as highlights. The first was Wilfred Heaton’s Salvation Army classic, My Treasure, which the band played with great sensitivity. The second highlight was Fusion (Martin Cordner), which rounded off the first half of the program. The final highlight was the tone poem Faith Reborn (Leslie Condon), which tells the highly emotional story of the Seoul Boys’ Home Band, reflected in the band’s performance.

The band was supported by the Sunderland Monkwearmouth Songsters, who sang an item during the festival.

During the time of reflection, led by David Kendall, the band played Guardian of My Soul (Darren Shaw), which has become a favorite of the band and reflected the theme for the weekend, “God’s Promises”.

The concert came to a conclusion with the festival march Celebration (Leslie Condon) and then The Prayer as a benediction.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Continuing the theme for the weekend, the band started Sunday morning worship with In the Love of Jesus. The theme was then picked up in a testimony from Michelle Addie and also in the the children’s spot presented by Claire Ferguson. During the meeting, the band played The Light of the World (Dean Goffin) with great sensitivity, leading into to the Bible message which was given by David Kendall. The meeting also featured the ladies’ voices singing In This Very Room and Chris Shanks playing the beautiful euphonium solo, Written in Red.

The final event of the weekend, a Sunday afternoon praise meeting, started with the Bellshill Band playing the fanfare, Hail the Risen Lord. The highlight of the afternoon was another Salvation Army classic, The Kingdom Triumphant (Eric Ball). The silence which followed the conclusion of this piece gave a clear indication that the music had challenged, and hopefully inspired, those present.

Soloists in the afternoon included Jim Pentney, who sang It’s a Wonderful Day, and Melvyn Shanks (tenor horn), who played You Love Me. In additions, Joshua Harvey gave a word of testimony, again echoing the weekend’s theme of “God’s Promises”.

A testimony time was led by retired Band Sergeant Sam Ritchie, who had traveled to Sunderland with the band. The time of reflection was again led by David Kendall and the band concluded this time with Paul Drury’s beautiful arrangement of Such Love.

In the afternoon, the Bellshill Band was supported by the Sunderland Monkwearmouth Band and Songsters, with both sections providing items in the afternoon meeting. A fantastic weekend of music and worship came to a conclusion as the two bands combined to play the march Rousseau and then Bellshill Band playing The Lord Is Gracious as a benediction.

Bellshill Band web site, original report by Dorothy Neil