North Western Division Music Councils

Saturday, 21 November 2009, saw Hendon Band (Bandmaster David Rudd) travel up the M6 to Warrington Citadel Corps to take part in the annual Music Councils for the North Western Division.

The hall was full and brimming with anticipation of what the evening festival would entail. The Proclaimers (Kevin Norbury) was the opening number, taken at a brisk tempo by Bandmaster Rudd, giving the concert a fantastic start. This was closely followed by a beautiful arrangement of the tune Nothing But Thy Blood.

Throughout the evening a number of Hendon’s top-quality soloists were featured. Paul Hopkins, Tony Scannell and Nick Tiplady showed off their wonderful talents by playing Fiesta, Euphony and Sweet By and By, respectively.

Cristo Redentor, meaning Christ the Redeemer, was the band’s major work of the evening. While this may not be every “bando’s” ideal major work, it provides the audience with a listenable piece of music in a light-hearted and upbeat manner.

For the second half of the festival, the Hendon Band changed into their world-renowned red, yellow and blue polo shirts and moved into a “big band” formation to provide lighter, easier-listening music for the Warrington Crowd. On Duty, Swingtime Religion, Endless Praise and a premier of O When the Saints were just a few of the light-hearted numbers played during the second half, giving the congregation an entertaining time. Roger Cobb, a member of the International Staff Songsters, gave the audience a break from all the big band tunes with a vocal solo entitled Always There. Roger always selects the right solo for any Hendon Band concert and left a wonderful silence throughout the hall at the conclusion of his performance.

On Sunday morning, 22 November 2009, morning worship was led by Major Paul Hilditch, the Hendon corps officer. During the meeting the Hendon Band provided some sensitive accompaniments and played the arrangement The Lord Is Gracious.

Following the morning services, Dr. Stephen Cobb, Bandmaster of the International Staff Band and Territorial Music Director for the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, provided two workshops. The first concentrated on how he prepares himself and what he looks for and concentrates on when conducting a brass band. Accompanied by the Hendon Band, Dr. Cobb focused on three pieces of music: The Proclaimers (Kevin Norbury), In the Love of Jesus (arr. Kenneth Downie) and Shine As the Light (Peter Graham). He spoke about specific bars and dynamic contrasts he would look for and also the different licenses that each composer gives a bandmaster.

Before the second workshop, Dr. Cobb gave the audience an insight into the Music Ministries department based at Territorial Headquarters in London. He highlighted the importance of music-making in the Salvation Army and the ongoing composition of new music for both the largest and smallest Salvation Army bands.

Dr. Cobb’s second workshop was accompanied by an ensemble from the Hendon Band. He used this workshop to show how to get the best out of a smaller brass group. The ensemble performed a few items from new publications that the Music Ministries department are offering for smaller corps across the country. Although the workshops were not greatly attended, Dr. Cobb gave a professional and in-depth view into his roles as Territorial Music Director and Bandmaster of the International Staff Band.

A praise salvation meeting brought the weekend to a close. Hendon Band commenced the meeting by presenting a short concert ending with Shine As the Light, a fantastic piece of music to conclude an inspiring weekend.

Hendon Band web site, original report by Tom Hopkins

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