Coventry City Band Opens Season at St. Mary's

The Coventry City Band of The Salvation Army (Bandmaster Huw Ellis) commenced its 2007–2008 season with a concert at St. Mary’s Church, Walsgrave, on 22 September 2007. New repertoire was featured, along with items prepared for the 125th anniversary celebrations and for the band’s latest recording, In Christ Alone.

The program opened with Robert Redhead’s Fanfare of Praise. Following the congregational song “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah” the band presented the festival march Able. Members of the congregation were recruited as extra percussionists for the next item, Dean Jones’ Latin American style El Es el Señor (He Is the Lord).

Deputy Bandmaster Johnathan Fearn provided the first solo item of the new season, playing Harold Burgmayer’s Intrada on a Song of Praise. This was followed by the timbrels, as ever popular with the congregation, with a drill set to Army of the Nile. After William Himes’ reflective arrangement of the hymn tune Nicea, the first half of the concert ended with Make His Praise Glorious.

The second half of the program began in a somewhat unusual fashion, with former Coventry City bandsman Barry Walker, by special request, joining the band in the march Montreal Citadel, with an old-fashioned drumming display. This proved to be a big hit with Barry’s fellow members of the congregation. This was followed by the congregation’s heartfelt singing of “Lord, I Come To You”, bracketed by Fanfare and Chorale – Laudes Domini and A Time for Peace, the latter featuring soloist Catherine Wallis.

In introducing Philip Sparke’s arrangement of the John Miles song Music, Bandmaster Ellis reminded all present that, although the lyrics of the song say “Music is my first love”, as a Salvation Army band, for the Coventry City musicians Jesus is the first love. He challenged the audience to consider what their first love was. This was followed by the classic march The Canadian and Dorothy Gates’ beautiful setting of the contemporary Christian song Breathe.

Coventry City Band’s first concert of the season concluded with Edward Gregson’s Variations on “Laudate Dominum”, leaving the audience with no doubt that the band had presented a concert to “Worship the Lord, all glorious above.”

Coventry City Band web site (Original report by Catherine Wallis)

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