Maidstone Citadel Corps was the venue for the eagerly awaited “Evening with Lt.-Colonel Ray Steadman-Allen O.F.”, which took place on 17 September 2011, the eve of his 89th birthday. Featured guests included Brett Baker (principal trombone, Black Dyke Band), Chatham Songsters (Songster Leader Adrian Horwood) and the South London Fellowship Band (Bandmaster Major George Whittingham).
Brett Baker’s solo contributions to the evening included Concert Piece, My Story and Song, The Eternal Quest and (the only non-Steadman-Allen piece of the night) Share My Yoke. The varied nature of these solos revealed his exceptional command of the trombone and amazed the audience with his ability to change from precise fast-flowing movements to slow melodies while retaining fullness of tone over the entire range of the instrument. Baker also joined the Fellowship Band trombone section for a spirited rendition of Wonders Begin When the Lord Comes In.
The Chatham Songsters contributed a variety of Lt.-Col. Steadman-Allen’s compositions. This variety was indicated right from the start with the though-provoking Vesper which was followed, in total contrast, by Marching Along. Other items presented by the Songsters included After the Rain, Whosoever Will, This Age of Rockets, God of All Wonders and What a Friend.
The Fellowship Band also showed the variety of style which the composer has used over many years in their contributions for the evening, which included Crown of Conquest, Lord of the Sea, ’Neath Italian Skies and His Guardian Care.
Lt.-Colonel Joy Steadman-Allen has, over many years, built a fellowship for sufferers of Parkinson’s illness in various forms, and the proceeds of the evening’s collection were donated to help her continue this work.
South London Fellowship Band web site