On the weekend of 16 – 17 May 2009, the Yorkshire Fellowship Band (Bandmaster Norman Short) traveled “down south” for a visit with the South London Fellowship Band (Bandmaster Major George Whittingham). The Gravesend Corps acted as host for the weekend. Just over two years ago, the South London group had visited the Doncaster Corps in Yorkshire, and this weekend was a reciprocal visit.
The venue for the Saturday evening festival was the historic St. George’s Church in Gravesend. Bandmaster Short served as the compère for the evening and well as conducting the Yorkshire Fellowship Band. He took the band through favorites of yesteryear, including Eric Ball’s symphonic variations The Old Wells, Where Duty Calls (Albert Jakeway), and To Realms Above. Light relief was provided by the male voice choir, who sang Rock-a-My-Soul.
Major Whittingham and the South London band provided support throughout the evening. They also contributed two items: the march Able (Turkington, arr. William Himes) and the overture Excelsior (Dudley Bright).
The Sunday activities took place in the Gravesend Corps hall, commencing with a moving Holiness Meeting led by Major Peter Kendall and the Yorkshire Fellowship Band with support from the Gravesend Songsters. A highlight of the meeting was the compelling vocal solo In the Love of Jesus sung by Joan Hotchkiss of the Hemsworth Corps.
On Sunday afternoon, the Yorkshire Fellowship Band presented a program that included established favorites such as Great and Glorious (George Marshall), ’Neath Italian Skies (Ray Steadman-Allen) and Miracles (Erik Silfverberg).
The South London Fellowship Band expressed its great appreciation to the rector of St. George’s Church, Reverend Canon Chris Stone for allowing the use of the church for the Saturday evening festival, and to Captain Harry Stirling and the members of the Gravesend Corps who worked tirelessly to make the weekend a success.
South London Fellowship Band web site, original report by Roy Horscroft