Saturday, 3 October 2015 was the date of the last concert of a very busy season for the South London Fellowship Band (Bandmaster Darrell Scholes). The setting was the Salvation Army hall in Horsham, which, although small, gave ample opportunity for the Fellowship Band to display its versatility and control in style and substance.
The band’s attributes were fully displayed at the beginning of the concert with the festival march Celebration (Leslie Condon), a scintillating start. Keen to inject some levity into the program, Bandmaster Scholes included Fantasia for Children (James Wright), bringing back childhood memories enhanced by the enthusiastic offering of bells and whistles from percussionist Steve Woods. The evening was also enhanced by the presentation of cornet, euphonium, and vocal solos from Keith Hutchinson, Adrian Horwood, and Leslie Swift, respectively.
Hutchinson, an outstanding soloist for many years, has lost little of his melodic sound and alacrity of technique. He presented three contrasting solos, Crossroad (Stephen Bulla), a soulful rendition of Beautiful Christ (Erik Leidzén), and an exhilarting and breathtaking performance of Goedicke’s Concert Etude. Horwood’s offering of The Better World (Norman Bearcroft) displayed similar virtues, as he delighted the audience with his usual energetic yet sensitive performance.
Vocal items are a regular feature of the Fellowship Band’s programs. The whole band presented I Know Thee Who Thou Art. Leslie Swift, accompanied on piano by Marjory Spicer, delighted with his sympathetic performance of You Raise Me Up.
The highlight of the items presented by the Fellowship Band was a new composition by Steven Ponsford, Music of a Legacy, which contains many challenging passages well-handled by the players. The piece features quotes from significant compositions by Salvationist musicians during the 150 years that the Salvation Army has been in existing.
An enjoyable evening was brought to a close in the same scintillating fashion as it opened, with the festival march Light-Bringer.
South London Fellowship Band web site, original report by Keith Thomas