Bells and Brass II

On Friday, 19 October 2012, the Solent Fellowship Band (Bandmaster John Bird) held its second “Bells and Brass” concert at the Priory Church of St. Mary’s, Hayling Island. This church as been the center of the island community since 1253. However, renovations were needed to restore the interior after the depredations of the Victorian era and also to build a sympathetic extension to provide modern facilities for the congregation and the local community. This concert was in support of these projects.

Four of the band’s soloists were featured during the evening. Martyn Thomas (principal cornet) played Silver Threads (Twitchen) and Dan Redhead (principal euphonium) offered Ransomed (George Marshall). Both Thomas and Redhead were making their debut as soloists with the Fellowship Band. In addition, Callam Carter (principal horn) played Irish Melody (Audoire) and Steve Jones (principal trombone) made substantial contributions to the success of the evening.

The eclectic program, constructed with the audience in mind, started with Fanfare for the Olympics (Martyn Thomas), On Parade (Eilav Herikstad) and Peter Graham’s arrangement of Hine e Hine. Other items included Nimrod (Edward Elgar), Procession to Covenant (William Himes), Soldiers of Christ (George Marshall), Praise Party (Steven Ponsford) and Just As I Am (Wilfred Heaton).

The Fellowship Band played in a packed church to a congregation will in excess of 200 persons, and enjoyed a warm sense of fellowship with the members of St. Mary’s, who have come to regard the band as “their band”. Every item was warmly received, with the final item, Finale from “William Tell Overture”, taken “at the charge”, greeted with cheers and prolonged applause.

Joining the Fellowship Band for the evening was the Hayling Island U3A Handbell Team (leader Derek Dunn). The team played classical excerpts, including Ode to Joy (Beethoven), Cradle Song (Mozart) and an extract from Wine, Women and Song (Strauss). Other items from the Handbell Team included arrangements of Deep Harmony and Rachael (a long-lost, recently discovered hymn from the Welsh valleys). Premiere performances were given of Variations on a C18th Theme (Derek Dunn) and Love’s Descent, written especially for the team by Robert Getz.

The devotional element of the program was led by the Reverend Pennie Paine, Associate Priest at St. Mary’s, with Major Peter Lynch reading from Scripture.

The folk at the church were endlessly helpful in ensuring that everything needed by the band for the concert was immediately on hand, and the band looks forward to a return visit in the future. Together, a fine evening of music and the generosity of the audience led to just in excess of £1,000 being raised in support of the new development at St. Mary’s.

Report submitted by Derek Dunn, press secretary, Solent Fellowship Band