ISB Weekend at Scarborough

Bandmaster Stephen Cobb and the International Staff Band journeyed to the North Yorkshire seaside town of Scarborough on the weekend of 23 – 24 September. The venue for the Saturday evening festival was the Grand Hall at the Spa Centre, recently under refurbishment. After setting up on the stage, the band gathered for tea and a welcome from Councillor Herbert Tindall, Mayor of Scarborough.

Being the first concert performance of a new season, the programme featured several items new to the ISB repertoire. The festival began with Kenneth Downie's tribute to Wilfred Heaton, Praise Tribute. This led into a devotional work, Thy Will to See (James Wright). The contrasting items included contemporary melodies in the brass idiom, represented by Kergyma (Steven Ponsford), which contains three popular worship songs, “He Is Lord”, “He Is Risen” and “Once Again I Thank You”. Classics of Salvation Army brass band literature were well-represented by Leslie Condon's The Present Age.

Two solo items were presented in the first half. Kevin Ashman played Song of Exultation (Norman Bearcroft) and Derick Kane performed Canaan's Land, based on the familiar gospel song “Bound for Canaan's Shore” and written especially for Derick by Peter Graham. Following his performance, Bandmaster Cobb presented Derick with a recognition of his 30 years of service with the ISB. The band concluded the first half of the festival with a new piece, Psalm 91, by Stuart Watson.

Continuing after the interval, the band presented Righteousness, Peace and Joy (Paul Sharman). This was followed by a trumpet solo, Virtuosity, played by Philip Cobb. Three more items followed: El est el Señor (Dean Jones), This Is My Story (William Himes) and a new composition by Andrew Mackereth, Amazing Race.

The program took on a devotional attitude as first baritone Gary Rose took up a trombone to provide a fourth player for the trombone feature There Is a Redeemer (Ralph Pearce). Gary then performed a vocal solo, As My Own, featuring his own melody and lyrics authored by his wife, Suzanne. Lt.-Colonel Trevor Davis provided a short devotional thought.

The festival concluded with another recent work by Kenneth Downie, King of Heaven, premiered by the ISB at the 2005 Gospel Arts Concert. The band used Ray Farr's arrangement of J. S. Bach's Toccata in D minor as a postlude.

On Sunday morning, inclement weather forced the cancellation of a planned open air meeting and march. The band took the opportunity for an extended visit with the bandmaster of the host corps, who personally prepared tea and biscuits. The band participated in the morning worship service, along with vocal items provided by the local Singing Company, playing Grace Alone (arr. Craig Woodland) and Shekinah (arr. Kenneth Downie). The message was again brought by Lt.-Colonel Davis.

The Sunday afternoon program was a departure from the normal fare, featuring a number of items from the late 1960s and 1970s (described by Bandmaster Cobb as a “Golden Age” in Salvation Army music). Presentations included Rolling Along (William Himes), Kaleidoscope (Rimsky-Korsakoff, arr. Brian Bowen), Hosea (Bruce Broughton) and Even Me (Kenneth Downie). Soloists included Gary Fountain (soprano cornet), who played The Lord's Prayer (Mallotte, arr. Philip Wilby) and Andrew Justice (trombone), who played Song of Exuberance (Leslie Condon). Kevin Ashman and Philip Cobb combined for the scintillating cornet duet Quicksilver (Peter Graham).

Despite the excellent playing of the ISB and soloists, the biggest ovation of the afternoon was reserved for the host corps' YP Band, under the direction of Mark Sephton, who presented Thank You, Father (Erik Silfverberg), featuring Jerry Penrose on cornet and Leanne Barker on trombone. Following a testimony from Gary Fountain and words from Lt.-Colonel Davis, the weekend concluded with a new work by Dean Jones, Supremacy.

International Staff Band web site

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