On Saturday, 15 September 2018, the South London Fellowship Band (Bandmaster Darrell Scholes) was at William Booth College in support of the South London Division’s Celebration weekend. The celebration, led by General Brian Peddle and Commissioner Rosalie Peddle, was entitled “Be One 2018” and was centered around John 17:21.
A wide variety of activities was available for participants of all ages during the Celebration. Music on Saturday was provided by the South London Fellowship Band, Staines Songsters, Bexleyheath Singing Company, and a worship band.
After a brief opening ceremony at 11:30am in the quad outside the Assembly Hall, the Fellowship Band provided a 75-minute “Bandstand” in the bright sunshine. Wearing their new blue polo shirts, surrounded by people relaxing on the grass, and with several stalls competing for attention, the music played was easy to listen to and enjoy.
Included were the marches Bournemouth Centennial (Norman Bearcroft) and Spirit of Joy (Herbert Rive), the classic selections Songs of Testimony (Norman Bearcroft) and The Firing Line (Leslie Condon), and the suite The Crystal Tide (James Wright). Several song arrangements and settings were also on the program, including ’Mid All the Traffic (Leonard Ballantine), Promised Land (William Broughton), Light Up the Sunshine (Joy Webb, arr. Maurice Ozanne), and Alone Yet Not Alone (Bruce Broughton), the latter from the film of the same title.
Three of the Fellowship Band’s soloists were featured. First was Adrian Horwood (euphonium) who played Brillante (Peter Graham), a fantasy on “Rule Britannia”, with his customary brilliance. Trombone soloist Maurice Horwood featured the salsa rhythms of Blessed Assurance (William Himes). The band also gave its first performance of Morricone’s Melody (Ennio Morricone, arr. Roland Kemen), and arrangement of Gabriel’s Oboe, with Craig Finch as the soloist on flügelhorn.
Following a well-deserved lunch, the Fellowship Band led “The Big Play” in the Assembly Hall. This was a 30-minute rehearsal of Happy, music by Pharrell Williams from the popular animated feature Despicable Me 2. Before the weekend about two dozen brass players had registered with the Division to rehearse and perform this piece in the afternoon Celebration meeting. Unfortunately, only one player appeared on the day. Despite this, the jazz-style music proved to be a big hit in the meeting – the band’s best-received contribution of the day.
The Celebration meeting at 4:00pm was Saturday’s final event. In addition to Happy and accompaniments for some of the songs, the Fellowship Band contributed Martin Cordner’s stirring festival arrangement Call of the Gospel, based on the song from the Gowans/Larsson musical Take-Over Bid. Fittingly, the band closed the day with the festival march Celebration (Leslie Condon).
It was a long day for the Fellowship Band, especially those traveling from the south coast. Since the band was founded, the boundaries of the South London Division have changed considerably, and more than a dozen of the members belong to corps that are within the South East Division (Kent and Sussex). This was the second South London Division event this year directly supported by the Fellowship Band, and it was a very worthwhile, relevant, and God-glorifying occasion. The band expressed gratitude to Major Kevin Stanbury, Mission Enabler on the Divisional Leadership Team, for acting as liasion for the event and assisting the solo cornet section on the day.
South London Fellowship Band web site, original report by John Moye