The congregation of Portsmouth Citadel has been exceedingly generous to the Solent Fellowship Band (Bandmaster John Bird) throughout the 16 years of the band’s existence – allowing the use of the main hall and other facilities for rehearsals and the occasional social event. Each autumn, the Fellowship Band gives a Sunday evening concert as a way of saying “Thank you” for this kindness and generosity. This year’s concert was held on 28 October 2012.
Two or three substitute players were needed as a few members of the band were busy with activities in their home corps. In addition, one of the band’s trombone players, Paul Ellis, moved up to the principal trombone seat for the evening, giving a fine performance throughout.
Gently compèred by Bandmaster Bird, the program for the band was a repeat of the concert at Hayling Island on 19 October 2012. However, only two of the band’s soloists performed. Martyn Thomas (cornet) played Silver Threads and Callam Carter (horn) played Irish Melody, both giving sparkling renditions.
The band was comfortable on its “home stage”, playing to a discerning and knowledgeable audience who responded appropriately to the music. The emotive atmosphere created by Elgar’s Nimrod and, in particular, Wilfred Heaton’s meditation Just As I Am, were met with a period of thoughtful reflection. The classic march Soldiers of Christ (George Marshall), the Finale from “William Tell” and other items were all greeted with warm applause.
Bandmaster Bird, when thanking the stand-in players, also commended the outstanding service of Dennis Rudd (cornet), Alex Manning (flügelhorn) and Don Ellwood (horn) who have all been in the Fellowship Band since its inception.
Major Lynn Hills, Portsmouth Citadel corps officer, thanked the Fellowship Band for the concert; and Band Sergeant Derek Smith offered prayer and read from Scripture.
Solent Fellowship Band web site, original report by press secretary Derek Dunn