Boscombe Visits South Wales

South Wales was the destination for the Boscombe Band of the Salvation Army (Bandmaster Dr. Howard J. Evans) on the weekend of 3–4 October 2009. The weekend featured a Saturday evening concert at the Waterfront Community Church, Sunday morning meetings at both Swansea Citadel and Morriston Citadel, and a Sunday afternoon festival at Swansea Citadel.

The weekend started with a fine meal at Swansea Citadel on the band’s arrival on Saturday afternoon. The evening concert took place at the Waterfront Community church in the middle of the development area at the waterfront. Unfortunately, the band had arrived late in Swansea, having been delayed by road work on the M5, and did not have the usual opportunity to test the acoustic in the hall before the concert, launching into the opening march, Cairo Red Shield (A. Stanley Raikes) after only a brief warm-up.

Bandmaster Evans quickly established a good rapport with the audience in his native land. One young man became the proud owner of a Boscombe Band CD when he volunteered the information that, at six years old, this was his first brass band concert! The first half of the concert included some fine singing from the audience of “Soldiers of Christ, Arise. Soloists included Craig Snell (cornet) who played Jubilance (William Himes) and Barney Lawrence (horn) who offered Leonard Ballantine’s arrangement of His Eye Is on the Sparrow. Band items included All to Jesus (Eilav Herikstad) and Leslie Condon’s The Present Age, which concluded the first half.

The second half of the Saturday evening concert commenced with Bandmaster Evans’ composition Chassidic Dance. Euphonium soloist John Starkes gave a performance of ’Neath Dublin Skies (Paul Lovatt-Cooper) and the trombone section was featured in Goff Richards’ arrangement of I Will Follow Him. A Scripture reading by Band Sergeant Brian Wright was bracketed by Kenneth Downie’s arrangement of Myfanwy and the selection Gift for His Altar (Leslie Condon). The concert concluded with Paul Lovatt-Cooper’s popular Vitae Aeternum. Following the benediction, the band sent the audience home with God Be with You> (William Gordon).

On Sunday morning, the band split into two nearly equal parts and conducted the Holiness meetings at both Swansea Citadel and Morriston Citadel. This was much appreciated by both corps. The featured band item at both locations was Dorothy Gates’ Breathe, which provided a beautiful time of contemplation. At both corps, the band was ably supported by the local Singing Company.

The final meeting of the weekend, an afternoon festival at Swansea Citadel, was slightly delayed because of the soprano cornet being “mislaid”. Following an excellent contribution from the Swansea Songsters, the band was again at full strength and commenced what has become the usual format for their ministry on such weekends, taking the theme “I Tell You a Mystery!” Band items during the festival included Paean (Dudley Bright), Where Eagles Sing (Paul Lovatt-Cooper), Vitae Lux (Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen), I’ll Walk with God (arr. Goff Richards) and Shine as the Light )(Peter Graham). The band also sang The Calvary Track (arr. Norman Bearcroft) and Trevor Smith (trombone) presented The Word of Grace (Norman Bearcroft). The band concluded their time in Swansea with The Irish Blessing (arr. Stephen Bradnum).

Boscombe Band web site, original report by George McConnell

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