Bellshill Band: Diversity

Discussion in ' User Reviews' started by PeterBale, Mar 3, 2010.

  1. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Hadleigh, Essex
    Diversity - Bellshill Band, Bandmaster Ian Dickie

    In addition to accompanying the singing – and, in earlier days, protecting the Salvationists on the march! – one of the aims of Salvation Army bands is to attract people to attend the meetings. In the days before home entertainment such as the television and computer, when the Open Air ministry was more prevalent than it is today, it used to be quite common for people to follow the band as it marched back from the stand to the hall. Bellshill Band has made a conscious effort to bring a new twist to that concept through its cd ministry, releasing recordings that are aimed to have an appeal not only to Salvationists but also to a much wider audience.

    “Diversity” follows on from their previous release, “Musical Aspects”, which concentrated on musical theatre, with an eclectic selection which “does what it says on the can”, encompassing film music, solo items and marches from both the Salvation Army tradition and the world of contesting bands, as well as more extended selections.

    Two marches top and tail the programme, which starts with one of Dean Goffin’s less familiar compositions, “The Path of Glory”, and ends with William Rimmer’s “Punchinello”. There are hymn tune settings old and new, with “Such Love” (Paul Drury), “Amazing Grace” (Bill Himes) and “Ave Verum” (Mozart, arr Jakeway).

    Albert Jakeway is also represented by the fine old selection “Where duty calls”, quite unusual in its day for featuring the bass section with the melodic fragment “I shall go without a murmur”. Leslie Condon’s “Faith Reborn” was written for the band of the Seoul Boys’ Home to play at the 1978 International Congress, and makes reference to the band’s previous incarnation, depicting how they were marched off during the Korean War by the communist forces. No doubt some will recall the moving performances of that band at Wembley, with their collection of British and American instruments, some of which had certainly seen better days! The third and most recent selection included is James Curnow’s “Jubilation!”, featuring several American Spirituals and arranged with all Jim’s customary craft and skill.

    Solo items include Erik Leidzen’s classic “Song of the Brother” (played by Chris Shanks, recently appointed to Kirkintilloch Band) and what is possibly the most lyrical of all the Salvation Army cornet solos, Ray Bowes’ “Rhapsody for cornet and band”. The premiere by Terry Camsey at an Albert Hall concert in aid of Leukaemia Research was particularly poignant, as Terry and his wife had lost their daughter Angela to the disease. Taking as its basis Terry’s own vocal work “A Christmas lullaby” it is given a sensitive reading by Principal Cornet Yvonne Ferguson, and could be said to act as a fitting memorial to the composer, recently promoted to glory.

    “Through it all” was specially written for the band’s flugel player Lynn Shanks by Andrew Blyth, whilst one of the band’s vocalists, Gemma Gunn, turns to world of the movie with her interpretation of “The wind beneath my wings”. Also from the cinema come a band arrangement of “Gabriel’s oboe” and Alan Fernie’s selection from “The Lion King” which, for me, rather overstays its welcome, despite some fine playing from the band – must be my age, I think!!!

    Reflecting on recent correspondence regarding reviews, no-one would claim that Bellshill band is of the standard of a Dyke or Fodens. Having said that, there is some very fine playing here from both band and soloists, and if the programme appeals there is much to enjoy, as the band continues to fulfil its mission by reaching out to the public.
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