Busy July for South London Fellowship Band

The South London Fellowship Band (Bandmaster Major George Whittingham) had a busy two weeks in July with engagements at Westminster Abbey, Chelmsford and Eastbourne.

For the third successive year, the Fellowship Band was invited to participate in the summer series of lunchtime concerts organized by the Westminster Abbey authorities. The concert was scheduled to be conducted in the Abbey Gardens but was transferred to St. Margaret’s Church because of the weather. St. Margaret’s is perhaps best known as the “Parish Church of the House of Commons” and is a beautiful building with excellent acoustics. There was a good, but changing audience as people came and went on their lunch hour, with items such as Oliver, Love Changes Everything, Over the Rainbow and Hymns of Praise being particularly well-received.

Ten days later, the Fellowship Band were at the new Salvation Army citadel in Chelmsford with guest euphonium soloist Simon Birkett and the Chelmsford Citadel Songsters under the direction of Joanne McIntosh to present a concert to benefit Cancer Research UK. The Chelmsford Songsters, being on home ground, were very much “at home“ with their choice of contemporary songs, with The Potter’s Hand, Living Fire and Midnight Cry being particularly appreciated by the receptive audience. Simon Birkett displayed not only technical ability, but also a deep sense of musicianship, playing Harlequin, The Song of the Brother and In Christ Alone. This was indeed euphonium performance of the highest order. Items from the Fellowship band included the classical transcriptions Melodies of Dvorak and The Lost Chord, and Salvation Army “classics” The Light of the World and His Guardian Care. The evening, which raised over £1,000 for Cancer Research UK, concluded with the band, songsters and audience joining together in Parry’s Jerusalem.

The festival at Eastbourne Citadel has become a favorite date on the Fellowship Band calendar, and the band always enjoys an opportunity to meet with many longstanding supporters at this annual event. This year was no exception with a capacity audience. Carl Nielsen, the advertised cornet soloist, was unfortunately indisposed, so Fellowship Band principal cornet Alan Moyse stepped in on short notice, playing Clear Skies and Share My Yoke. Band items focused on the Salvation Army Band Journals, including Southern Australia, The Triumph of Peace, Variations on “Laudate Dominum” and The Call.

South London Fellowship Band web site, original report by Roy Horscroft