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Band History

Saturday and Sunday, 18th and 19th December 2004

On both of these afternoons, at the request of the Regional Office of the National Trust, part of the Band played Carols and other Christmas music at Charlecote Park in Warwickshire.
The house itself at Charlecote has been the home of the Lucy family for over 700 years and the mellow brickwork and great chimneys sum up the very essence of Tudor England. The Park has strong associations with Queen Elizabeth I and William Shakespeare, who knew the house well – he is alleged to have been caught poaching the estate deer, which were in evidence during the Band’s visits.

Sunday, 12th December 2004

In the Methodist Central Hall, the temporary home of the Band and the Coventry City Corps, promptly at 3.00 pm the Band presented Erik Leidzen’s March “Christmas Joy” to accompany a display by the Senior Timbrels. This contribution got the “Centralgrade” Carol Concert for 2004 underway. All the musical sections participated in this temporary replacement for the Belgrade Theatre Carol Concert, which has been presented by the Corps for many years prior its temporary move to the Central Hall.

The Band presented Leroy Anderson’s compilation of well known carols entitled “A Christmas Festival” before a brief interval whilst the stage was set for a presentation of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. This musical arrangement of the music by Richard Phillips, played by the Band, was vividly brought to life with the participation of many members of the Corps representing all of the gifts sent. It seems. however, that either as result of restrictions on the space available or expense with a current Building Scheme, there was only one maid-a-milking and one French hen. There also seemed to be a shortage of Ladies dancing, Lords a-leaping and Pipers piping but the Drummers drumming certainly enjoyed themselves, with their ranks being swelled by some young enthusiasts!

It was a presentation not to be missed and it was the highlight of the afternoon!

Friday, 3rd December 2004

The Band took part in the 29th Christmas Carol Evening at the Spa Centre in Leamington Spa, which had been arranged by the Committee of the AP XXV Club for the benefit of their members, families and guests.

The Band commenced the evening with “The Shining Star”, Peter Graham’s bright up- tempo March compilation of well known Carols. The Band then accompanied the singing of the first group of Carols, for which there was excellent audience participation as is usual at this Concert. Throughout the evening there were another six such contributions, which are always much enjoyed, especially the singing of “The Virgin Mary had a Baby Boy”, which had many of the audience swaying to the rhythm of this Caribbean melody.

Deputy Bandmaster Huw Ellis was then featured in the excellent arrangement of “Who is He?” by Richard Phillips with its Christmas associations as well as its poignant reminder of Easter. This was followed by William Himes’ excellent arrangement of “A White Christmas”, the well known Irving Berlin song made famous by Bing Crosby, which conjured up thoughts of a snow bound scene.

The Band also presented “A Christmas Festival”, a masterly arrangement of Christmas Carols by the great light music composer/arranger, Leroy Anderson.

In addition to the Band, the Central Warwickshire Singers, directed by Sheila Russell, and The Sound of Three Spires, a barber shop group, made festive contributions to the evening. The Reverend Richard Suffern brought a message, which revealed the true meaning of Christmas.

An excellent Christmas Concert, which was very well received by a capacity audience.

Saturday, 27th November 2004

The Band were pleased to be asked to present a Concert in the historic medieval Church of St John the Baptist to conclude the Coventry Brass Festival for 2004. This is the second year that the organisers Ivor and Jean Lee have organised this Brass Festival, which is intended to raise the profile of brass playing and encourage others to take it up as well as listen to brass playing of the highest quality.

The Festival opened with a fanfare from Godiva Brass followed by the playing of traditional Carols in the Upper Precinct. The Bourton Trombone Choir, who are all members of the British Trombone Society, then played a selection of original compositions and arrangements from a wide range of musical styles in the Church. Lunchtime saw a change of musical style and venue with a Jazz presentation in the Coventry Schools Former Pupils’ Association Club by John Ruddick, a recipient of the BBC Outstanding Musician of the Year Award, and the John Patrick Trio. In the afternoon, with a return to the Church, students and staff of the Birmingham Conservatoire presented a variety of brass voicings, which sounded stunning.

The Band commenced their Concert promptly at 6.30 pm to a small but very enthusiastic audience with the Festival March “Montclair Citadel”. An arrangement of “The Londonderry Air” was followed by the well-loved Cornet Duet “Deliverance”, featuring the Deputy Bandmaster Huw Ellis and Bandsman Jonathan Fearn. Gordon Langford’s stirring arrangement of “Men of Harlech” followed, before Bandswoman Helen Fearn delighted the audience with her Soprano Cornet rendition of Leoncavallo’s “On with the Motley” from his well-known opera “Pagliacci”. There was then a complete change of style when the Band presented Barry Gott’s up-beat number “Light Walk”, which featured Bandsman John Parkinson on Flugal Horn. The Bandmaster informed the audience that the Band had first played this music under the composer’s direction during a tour of the United States.

The Band then presented a “first”! Bram Jacobs, who was the Bandmaster of the Band from 1959 to 1972, had composed a March for a competition organised by the Coventry Festival Band. Whilst the composition did not win the prize, the organisers had requested that the March should be featured in this Concert. So Bram conducted the Band in the first public performance of his March “Spirit of the Festival”. An interesting and original composition well presented by the Band and very well received by the audience.

There were then a series of contrasting contributions by the Band. An arrangement of the Spiritual “Angels Watching Over Me”, was followed by Paul Drury’s March “Jubilee”, which was played at unbelievably quick tempo. Ray Steadman Allen’s delightful arrangement of “Poem” by Fibich was followed by Leonard Ballantines’s arrangement of “Shenandoah” before the Band played “The Floral Dance”. An arrangement recorded originally by the Brighouse and Rastrick Band and promoted by Terry Wogan.

The Band Sergeant Stuart Wallis had prepared some thoughts about music based on Psalm 150 but these were read to the audience by the Bandmaster as Stuart had a very hoarse throat. The Band concluded their concert with a thrilling rendition of William Himes’ arrangement of “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral” from Wagner’s opera “Lohengrin”. However, the audience wanted more and the Bandmaster obliged with Leonard Ballantine’s March “Brazil ‘75”, which sent us all home in an exhilarated mood.

An excellent evening of music making in a beautiful setting with very good acoustics. What a pity that more were not present to enjoy it!

Friday, 12th November 2004

For a second year, the Band had been invited to participate in a Brass Extravaganza in the Senior Hall at King Henry VIII School with the City of Coventry Brass and their Conductor, Colin Touchin. The two Brass Bands were joined by the “Ten 2 Go” Brass Ensemble (who actually numbered 11 with their percussionist!), the Senior School Brass Ensemble (conducted by Steve Cooper), the Junior School Jazz Band (directed by Chris Lewis) and guest soloist, Angela Whelan, who delighted the audience with her playing of John Iveson’s Trumpet Solo “Charivari”. What a pity that we were only privileged to hear Angela once!

The City of Coventry Brass commenced their part of the programme with Meyerbeer’s “Coronation March” before playing an arrangement of Le Corsair Overture by Hector Berlioz. They then featured Debbie Arscott with her Flugal Horn Solo of the Andrew Lloyd Webber favourite “I don’t know how to love him” before presenting two items in contrast: Schonberg’s “I dreamed a dream” and “South Rampart Street Parade”.

After the interval, it was the turn of the Band, who got off to an excellent start with an Excerpt from Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake”. Bandswoman Catherine Wicker then played Norman Bearcroft’s arrangement of the lovely Scottish melody “My love is like a red, red rose” with which Salvationists associate the words of the well-known hymn “There is a green hill far away”. Martin Cordner’s interesting March “Crossbearers” was followed by Len Ballantines’s superb arrangement of “Shenandoah”. Bandsman Dave Brown then mesmerised the audience with an arrangement of Mozart’s “Rondo al la Turca” as his Xylophone solo before the Band brought their contribution to a conclusion with Keith Wilkinson’s arrangement of the Overture to “Mack and Mabel”.

The two Bands then combined for the concluding part of the Concert. Barry Gott’s “Light Walk” led into Leroy Anderson’s “Buglers’ Holiday”, which featured three cornet soloists from each Band. The final item on the programme was the Finale from Saint-Saens well-known Symphony Number 3, which featured a pupil from the School (Edward Bouckley) as the organ soloist. The excellent arrangement by Philip Wilby of this Symphony enabled the audience to appreciate fully the musical abilities of this remarkable young soloist.

It was an excellent evening of music making and to satisfy the audience’s demand for more music, the massed Bands, under the leadership of Bandmaster Steve Whitmore, “signed off” with a very rendering of Paul Drury’s March “Jubilee”. We all went home feeling that it had been good to share the evening, even if a little long, in music making.

Sunday, 19th September 2004

Once again this year the Band participated in a Service for the Churches in Earlsdon and Chapelfields and Friends of Canley Ford to Give Thanks to God for the Created World. Once again we were able to take advantage of some good September weather.

The Band was conducted by the Deputy Bandmaster as the Bandmaster was assisting the Horn Section for the afternoon.

The Programme for the afternoon thanked the Band for helping them “to sing joyfully our praise to God”. An interesting and pleasant afternoon.

Sunday 5th September 2004

The Band had been invited to participate in a Service of Welcome for the Reverend David Hunter, as he was installed as the new Superintendent Minister of the Coventry Circuit of the Methodist Church. The Service took place at the Methodist Central Hall and was well attended.

The Band accompanied the singing of “To God be the Glory” and the congregation joined in wholeheartedly in Praising the Lord. However, the Band had been invited to provide music before the Service and were conducted by the Deputy Bandmaster, Huw Ellis.

The pre-Service music commenced with Bramwell Coles’ foot-tapping March “Victors Acclaimed”, which was followed by Erik Silfverberg’s interesting arrangement of “Don’t Let the Devil” – a tune written by Graeme Press. The short musical prelude concluded with Peter Graham’s arrangement of Charles Skinner’s Hymn Tune “St Teresa”.

Sunday, 25th July 2004

Over 400 people made their way to Allesley Park to listen to and enjoy the Band in this Bandstand arranged by Coventry City Council. The showers earlier in the day had not deterred them and their confidence was rewarded when the sun broke through the crowds and the afternoon became very pleasant

The Band was a little depleted through holidays, but was assisted by a few “volunteers” whose arms had been twisted by the Bandmaster. However, the reinforced Band made a lively start with Norman Bearcroft’s foot-tapping March “Spirit of Endeavour” before changing the mood with Leonard Ballantine’s delightful arrangement of “Shenandoah”, with which (as the Bandmaster reminded the audience) we associate the words “Mid All the Traffic”.

“Valse Espagna” preceded “Pie Jesu”, arranged as a duet for Soprano Cornet and Cornet. The duettists were the husband and wife team of Bandswoman Helen and Bandsman Jonathan Fearns. This then led into a rousing presentation of “Pastime in Good Company”. Deputy Bandmaster Huw Ellis then presented Erik Leidzen’s arrangement as a Cornet Solo of the old favourite hymn tune “The Old Rugged Cross” before an arrangement of “Men of Harlech” concluded the first part of the Concert..

After the interval, where members of the Band spoke to may of the audience, Fucik’s “Entry of the Gladiators” got the second half of the Concert underway. “I Vow to Thee, My Country” ina an arrangement by Ray Steadman Allen of the music of Gustav Holst preceded a new composition by Howard Evans entitled “Chassidic Dance”, which commences with a trumpet call from First Cornet answered by a muted Baritone echo. After the bustle and excitement of this composition, the band played an arrangement of Joy Webb’s “Angels Watching Over Me”. The old favourite March “Cairo Red Shield” by Stan Raikes was followed by two requests. First, an arrangement of “The Londonderry Air” and, secondly, the Hymn Tune “Rockingham”. “Shine, Jesus, Shine” was then featured before an exciting presentation of “The Floral Dance” had many in the audience participating by clapping. The Concert concluded with Ray Steadman Allen’s very effective arrangement of John Rutter’s “A Gaelic Blessing”

In a letter to the Coventry Evening Telegraph, Irene Wardle of Buckhold Drive at Allesley Park said it had been “a most enjoyable afternoon Concert” and “an afternoon of happy entertainment”. We believe that the Concert was more than entertainment, but it is good to hear that it was enjoyed.

Sunday, 11th July 2004

At 3.00 pm promptly, the Band commenced a Bandstand in the Bancroft Gardens at Stratford-upon-Avon. It was a cloudy and overcast day, but fortunately we did not experience a repeat of last year’s cloud burst.

The programme commenced with Paul Drury’s March “Jubilee” with its message in the words: “I love Him (ie Jesus) better every day, close by his side, I love him better every day”. In contrast, the Band then played Ian Feltwell’s Chorus Arrangement “Whisper a Prayer”.

Glenn Miller’s “Moonlight Serenade” followed before the Horn Section were featured. First, Bandswoman Catherine Wicker presented a superb performance of Morris Albert’s popular melody “Feelings”. Then, Catherine was joined by her colleagues, Bandsmen John Parkinson, Mark Street and Paul Bevins, for an arrangement of the Beatles’ hit “Hey Jude”.

Our thoughts turned towards a sunnier clime, when the Band played a March by Leonard Ballantine, entitled Brazil 75. This was followed by Leonard Ballantine’s delightful arrangement of “Shenandoah”, with which Salvationists associate the beautiful words of John Oxenham “’Mid all the traffic of the ways”. In complete contrast, the Band then featured an arrangement of “Bohemian Rhapsody”, probably the best known hit song of the pop group, Queen.

William Himes’ arrangement of Sebastian temple’s “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace” was in contrast to Arthur Gullidge’s March “Liberty”. Deputy Bandmaster Huw Ellis then played the Cornet Solo “The Old Rugged Cross”, in the superb arrangement of Erik Leidzen. The popular modern hymn “Shine Jesus Shine” followed before the Bandstand programme concluded with William Himes’ majestic arrangement of “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral”.

The Band then availed themselves of a very welcome cup of tea, or two, at the local Salvation Army Hall before making our way across to the other side of the River Avon for the Annual Songs of Praise. The Band have taken part for some years and accompany the Songs and provide some music before and afterwards. The event is organised by Maureen Beckett, who each year seeks nominations for the Songs to be sung. Once again, many of the top ten Songs or Hymns were featured. This year the Bandmaster had nominated the modern song “Rejoice! Christ is in you”. Although Maureen Beckett was not familiar with it, all of those present, including the Mayor and Mayoress of Stratford-upon-Avon, joined in heartily.

The weather continued to hold up and the sun actually broke through the clouds during the evening.

Sunday, 20th June 2004

On Sunday, 20th June 2004, the Band presented a Bandstand in Longford Park as substitutes for Bedworth Brass.

The programme commenced with the March “Jubilee” before Bandswoman Helen Fearn played “On with the Motley” as a Soprano Cornet Solo. “Glenn Miller’s “Moonlight Serenade” followed before the Band played the Overture to “The Marriage of Figaro”. “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Whisper a Prayer” took us to the Interval.

Leslie Condon’s fine Concert March “Celebration” was followed by Bandswoman Catherine Wicker with her Tenor Horn Solo “Feelings” before she was joined by the rest of the Horn Section for the Beatles’ hit song “Hey Jude”. Edward Greig’s elegiac melody “The Last Spring” was in contrast to the Sousa March “Stars and Stripes For Ever”. The mood changed again with an arrangement of “Make Me a Channel of your Peace” before the Bandstand concluded with “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral”.

After finishing the Bandstand, the Band hurried back to the City Centre and then headed a procession from the Methodist Central Hall to Upper Well Street for a short Service for the Inauguration of the Site for the New Building of the Coventry City Corps.

Two songs were sung from the “New Buildings “ Section of the Song Book: the first, with words by Albert Orsborn, “ Lord, regard thy people, whose love designs to frame this house of glad remembrance, and here inscribe Thy name”; and the second, with words by Maureen Jarvis, containing the plea “ Make of this place your temple, let all who enter here be one with us in purpose, your love and joy to share”. Major Doris Slinn prayed that God would richly bless the new building. The Reverend Viv Gasteen, from the Methodist Central Hall, joined us on the march and read from the Scriptures during the Inauguration Service. After some words by Major Brian Slinn, the Band played the arrangement of “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace”.

Promises have been made that the building work will be complete by May 2005.

Saturday, 19th June 2004

The Band joined the Songster Brigade in presenting a Concert of the Music of the Sixties and Seventies at the Methodist Central Hall in Coventry.

The Band’s contributions to the Concert included “Bohemian Rhapsody”, “Hey Jude”, the selection from “Mack and Mabel”, “Feelings” and the March “On Parade”, which was the title track of one of the Band’s earlier LPs. However, two of the Band’s contributions were received particularly well. First, there was “The Floral Dance”, which came to the fore when it was recorded by the Brighouse and Rastrick Band and promoted widely by Terry Wogan. Secondly, there was some music from “Superman”, which was accompanied by the appearance of that character himself (alias Bandsman Kelvin Elliott). We understand that Kelvin was also responsible for the choreography!

The Songster Brigade contributed some music from the Beatles (“I want to hold your hand”), “Starlight Express”, Abba (with some “personal” appearances), “The Best of Bond” as well as “Rolling along in Fiery Chariots” and “Come into our World”.

A fairly well attended Concert, which was much enjoyed by those present.

Saturday and Sunday, 5th and 6th June

This Saturday saw the members of the Band travelling by cars to the Somerset Town of Weston-super-Mare to fulfill a Weekend engagement. It was good to join again with Captains Agnes and Keith Wallis, who are the Commanding Officers of that Corps.

After a splendid welcome tea in the new suite of buildings, as we prepared for the Evening Festival of Music, we realised that the Hall was going to be full with extra chairs needing to be brought out of the roof space.

James Curnow’s Festival March “Faith is the Victory” set feet a tapping before the mood changed as we prepared for Bandswoman Helen Fearns’ spoken Prayer with a Chorus Arrangement by Ian Feltwell of “Whisper a Prayer”.

William Himes’ arrangement of the Overture to “The Marriage of Figaro” was followed by three solos. Deputy Bandmaster Huw Ellis contributed the well-known Cornet Solo “Napoli”, Bandswoman Ruth Slinn (making her final appearance on a Band Programme) sang “When the Time Comes” and Bandsman Christian Marklew presented the Euphonium Solo “The Song of the Brother”. All the soloists’ were well received.

Andrew Mackereth’s Chorus Setting “Fall Afresh” proved a real contrast before the Band concluded the first half of the Festival with an excellent performance of Peter Graham’s Variations on the hymn tune “Theodora” entitled “Blazon”.

After the Interval, when the Band took the opportunity to get to know the audience better, the Concert resumed with Paul Drury’s March “Jubilee”.

Bandswoman Catherine Wicker then presented the Tenor Horn Solo “Feelings” before being joined by Bandsmen John Parkinson, Mark Street and Paul Bevins for the Horn Feature “Hey Jude”.

Bandsman Dave Brown again amazed everyone with his dexterity in the Xylophone Solo “Rondo Alla Turca” and the Band sang Isaac Watts’ wonderful words “When I survey the Wondrous Cross”.

This song provided a fitting introduction to the powerful words of Band Sergeant Stuart Wallis in his comments on the Scripture Reading. The time of challenge and meditation was concluded with Bandsman John Parkinson’s Flugel Horn Solo “I Surrender All” in an arrangement by Andrew Mackereth.

Finally, the Band finished the Concert on a note of triumph with Eric Ball’s Tone Poem “The Kingdom Triumphant”, with its vision of the Second Advent by the use of the melody associated with the words “Lo, He comes with clouds descending”.

An excellent evening enjoyed by all.

Devotional meetings on the Sunday were led by Bandsman Dave Brown and Band Sergeant Stuart Wallis and the Corps Band and Singing Brigade took part. Both of the Meetings were well attended and brought much blessing.

In the afternoon, the Band, conducted by the Deputy Bandmaster, presented a musical Concert in the gardens between Beach Road and the Marine Parade. A good number of people were attracted by the sight and sound of the Band and stopped to listen.

The programme included the marches “Liberty” and “Celebration”, “The Last Spring”, “On with the Motley” (Soprano Cornet Solo), “Celebration Overture”, “An Irish Melody” (Tenor Horn Solo) and concluded with “Elsa’s Procession to the Minster”.

An enjoyable and memorable weekend.

Saturday, 15th May 2004

On this Saturday, the Band presented a Concert entitled Music from the Masters in the Warwick Road United Reformed Church in Coventry as a result of a mistake in venue bookings. However, in spite of the last minute change and an incorrect newspaper announcement about timing, the Concert commenced a little later than scheduled with a good attendance.

John Philip Sousa’s rousing March “Stars and Stripes Forever” got the Concert off to a rousing start and highlighted the Soprano Cornet playing of Bandswoman Helen Fearn. Helen also presented Leoncavallo’s “On with the Motley” as her solo contribution and impressed many of the listeners with her playing.

Glenn Miller’s “Moonlight Serenade” and an arrangement of an excerpt from Act 1 of “Swan Lake” by Tchaikovsky provided two very contrasting items. Bandswoman Catherine Wicker’s Tenor Horn Solo “Feelings” by Morris Albert brought back many memories before the Band presented “Blazon” by Peter Graham. This set of variations on the tune “Theodora” urges us “Blaze His Name abroad”.

The Interval saw the public launch of the Band’s latest CD “To The Highest”, which has been very well received so far. Copies are still available at the special price of £10.00 for Friends.

The world of Pop Music saw the second half of the Concert underway with Freddie Mercury’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Hey Jude” by the Beatles’ duo, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The latter arrangement featured the Horn Section.

Deputy Bandmaster Huw Ellis presented the Cornet Solo “Alleluia” in his own impeccable style before Bandsman Dave Brown thrilled everyone with his xylophone solo “Rondo Alla Turca”. Two contrasting solos featuring the music of Mozart.

Some “Mancini Magic” followed, in an arrangement by Alan Street before the Band presented Brahms’ delightful but simple “Melody in A Flat”. This provided a very fitting prelude to the thought-provoking and challenging words of Band Sergeant Stuart Wallis in commenting on the Scripture Reading he had chosen.

The Concert concluded with the exciting arrangement of the music from Hermann’s “Mack and Mabel”.

Not an evening solely of Classical Masters’ music but an evening that demonstrated clearly the mastery of all the composers, arrangers and performers. Well done!!

Saturday, 27th March 2004

The Band presented a Concert to a capacity audience in the Mill Street Methodist Church in Bedworth.

Paul Drury’s “Jubilee” got the Concert off to a foot-tapping start before the Band presented another excellent performance of the Overture to “The Marriage of Figaro”.

Deputy Bandmaster Huw Ellis was the first of the evening’s soloists with Herman Bellstedt’s “Napoli”. Helen and Jonathan Fearn presented an arrangement of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Pie Jesu” as a Soprano Cornet and Cornet Duet. The other soloists to feature in the Concert were Christian Marklew with the Euphonium Solo “Macushla” and John Parkinson with Andrew Mackereth’s Flugel Horn Solo “I Surrender All”.

The Band presented Glenn Miller’s Moonlight Serenade”, Fucik’s “Entry of the Gladiators” and a selection of familiar tunes from “The King and I”.

Peter Graham’s “The Last Amen” and Eric Ball’s “The Kingdom Triumphant” were the other Band contributions. However, for the first time for some years, the Band sang in a Concert. Their rendition of “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” was very well received.

Band Sergeant Stuart Wallis challenged everyone with his Scripture Reading and comments.

An enjoyable evening of music-making.

Saturday and Sunday, 13th and 14th March 2004

The Band visited the Castleford Corps for this weekend. So far as we know, it was the Band’s first visit to this South Yorkshire Corps.

The Band left the Central Hall promptly at 1.30 pm and arrived in good time. We then enjoyed one of the best welcome teas that anyone could remember. Castleford Corps was rebuilt on its original site a year or so ago, after archaeological excavations to see what Roman remains were there.

The Saturday Festival was well attended and the Band played well. The Festival commenced with James Curnow’s “Faith is the Victory”. After a congregational song and prayer, the Band presented Bandmaster William Himes’ excellent arrangement of “The Overture to the Marriage of Figaro”.

Huw Ellis’ performance of Herman Bellstedt’s Cornet Solo “Napoli” was well received, as were Christian Marklew’s presentation of the Euphonium Solo “Home on the Range” and Dave Brown’s demonstration of his xylophone skills in “Joyous Rhythm”. From a conversation with someone attending the Festival we now know something of the background to this composition by George Grainger.

The programme also included Andrew Mackereth’s “Fall Afresh”, Paul Drury’s “circus” March “Jubilee”, and “I Dreamed a Dream”.

The Band also presented “Mobilize” by Ian Feltwell, who is a Bandsman from the Nuneaton Corps.

The Castleford Songster Brigade contributed a numbers of songs to the Festival. They were well presented and it is very apparent that they deserve the reputation as one of the best Brigades.

The Band Sergeant, Stuart Wallis presented a challenging scriptural presentation before John Parkinson played an arrangement of “I Surrender All” as a Flugel Horn Solo.

The major works from the Band were Peter Graham’s “The Last Amen” and Eric Ball’s “The Kingdom Triumphant, which proved a fitting climax to the Festival

The Holiness Meeting was led by John Parkinson and a number of members of the Band took part, as well as the Castleford Singing Company. The Band’s musical contribution to the Meeting was Richard Phillips’ arrangement of “Who is He?”. A very frank Testimony by Paul Ellis provided us with much to think about before John’s challenging address.

The Sunday afternoon Festival featured Catherine Wicker and Gemma Potter, contributed “An Irish Melody” and “Swing Low” respectively. The Band played a Festival March “Southern Spirit” and Peter Graham’s “Blazon” was a central feature. The Castleford Songster Brigade and Young Peoples Sections all made excellent contributions. The Deputy Bandmaster, Huw Ellis, presented “The Old Rugged Cross as a Cornet Solo, which led seamlessly into the Salvation Meeting led by Paul Bevins. Members of the Band again took part and the Deputy Bandmaster told us about how his faith had helped him through recent changes in his professional life.

Another excellent and memorable weekend for the Band!

December 2003

The Band was busy in the lead-up to Christmas. This was no exception, as the period of Advent is usually somewhat hectic.

On Friday, 5th December the Band participated in the 28th Christmas Carol Evening organised by the Automotive Products XXV Club at the Spa Centre in Leamington Spa. The Evening was compered by the Bandmaster, Steve Whitmore, and included most of the well-known Carols. The Band presented Leroy Anderson’s “A Christmas Festival” and “Christmas at Last”, as well as providing the accompaniment for a timbrel display.

The following morning, the Band was carol playing in the Precinct for two hours as they did on the next two Saturdays. Carols were also played there on two Sunday lunchtimes during December.

On Saturday, 13th December the Band had been invited to by the Coventry Philharmonic Choir to participate in Christmas Concert at the Methodist Central Hall. The Choir, which is conducted by Steven Russell, has been making music in Coventry since 1943. It was a very enjoyable evening. The Choir presented a wide variety of vocal music from composers such as Bach, Vaughan Williams and Vivaldi. After the interval, the Choir sang some extracts from Handel’s “Messiah” concluding with the Hallelujah Chorus. The Band’s contributions to the evening’s music making were Erik Leidzen’s March “Christmas Joy” for a Timbrel Display, “Christmas at Last”, Eric Ball’s “The Kingdom Triumphant and “A Christmas Festival”. David Brown demonstrated his xylophone wizardry in an item called “Snowflakes.

The Band participated in the Centralgrade Carol Concert at the Methodist Central Hall. This Concert replaced the Carol Concert held for many years in the Belgrade Theatre. The Band Band attended the Kenilworth Lions Carol Service in the grounds of the ruined Kenilworth Castle and played at Coventry Railway Station and the Central 6 Shopping Park in the immediate run up to Christmas Day. Groups from the Band also brought the Christmas message in music to residents in Quinton Lodge and Youell Court, to persons attending a Carol Concert at Holyhead Road United Reform Church and to two groups of people in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Saturday and Sunday, 29th and 30th November 2003

The Band visited the Sunderland Millfield Corps for this weekend.

The Band left the Central Hall promptly at 12.30 pm but we were a little late in arriving. However, that was soon forgotten when we sat down to a good welcome tea.

The Saturday Festival was well attended and the Band played well. The Festival commenced with James Curnow’s “Faith is the Victory”. After a congregational song and prayer, the Band presented the first major work of the evening – Peter Graham’s “Ad Optimum”. The other was a more recent Peter Graham publication entitled “The Last Amen”. Huw Ellis’ performance of “Napoli” was well received, as were the vocal solo from Ruth Slinn and Christian Marklew’s presentation of “Home on the Range”. David Brown enthralled the congregation with xylophone skills in “Joyous Rhythm”.

The programme also included “Fall Afresh”, “Jubilee”, the Overture to “The Marriage of Figaro”, “I Dreamed a Dream”, “Les Toreadors” and “Who is He?”.

The powerful Scripture message was presented by Paul Whitmore, using notes prepared by his Wife, Claire, who was unfortunately indisposed.

On the Sunday morning, the Band visited the local Hospital and had the opportunity to play to the patients and staff. Whilst there, the Band played its first Carol of the Christmas season!!

The Holiness Meeting was led by Gemma Potter and a number of members of the Band took part, as well as the Millfield Singing Company. The Band’s musical contribution to the Meeting Dean Goffin’s Selection “The Light of the World” provided a fitting introduction to Gemma’s very challenging address.

The Sunday afternoon Festival commenced with Peter Graham’s mambo style arrangement of “Ask”. Catherine Wicker and Gemma Potter contributed “An Irish Melody” and “Swing Low” respectively. The Band played “Songs of the Morning” and a transcription of “The Power of his Love” before concluding with the March “Liberty”.

The Band Sergeant, Stuart Wallis, then challenged everyone in his leadership of the Salvation Meeting. The Millfield Songster Brigade sang and the Band contributed “Knowing You, Jesus”.

Another excellent and memorable weekend for the Band!

Saturday, 2nd November 2003

The Band presented the latest in their series of Concerts in aid of the Corps New Building Scheme. On this occasion, the Concert was held in the Methodist Central Hall. It was uncertain how the change of location would affect the attendance, but any concerns were soon allayed, as a goodly number of people were able to attend. It is unfortunate, however, that what would have seen our own Hall fairly well filled looked a little sparse in the Central Hall.

The Concert commenced with William Himes’ arrangement of Mozart’s Overture to “The Marriage of Figaro”. It was clearly apparent that the band was in good form and we were going to be in for a very enjoyable evening.

The March “Liberty” by Arthur Gullidge provided a complete contrast to the music of the Overture and provided a suitable introduction to the four soloists featured before the Interval. David Brown mesmerised the audience with his dexterity in the Xylophone Solo “Joyous Rhythm”, Deputy Bandmaster Huw Ellis treated us to some excellent Cornet playing in his rendering of “Napoli” by Herman Bellstedt, Ruth Slinn contributed a vocal solo and Christian Marklew presented another memorable performance of Erik Leidzen’s classic Euphonium Solo “Home of the Range”.

Before the interval, the Band played Eric Ball’s Air Varie “Songs of the Morning”. This was a fitting tribute to this legendary composer, whose birth in 1903 was celebrated last year.

On returning from a welcome cup of tea, our feet were set tapping to the music of Paul Drury’s Quick March “Jubilee”.

Catherine Wicker gave an outstanding performance of Norman Audoire’s Tenor Horn Solo “An Irish Melody” before the Band gave an excellent performance of Darrol Barry’s arrangement of “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical “Les Miserables”. Then Gemma Potter, appropriately attired to celebrate the success of the England Rugby Team in the World Cup, delighted us with Andrew Mackereth’s Bass Trombone Solo “Swing Low”.

After Keith Manners’ arrangement of “Les Toreadors” from Georges Bizet’s Carmen Suite No 1, the Band reminded us of the approach of the Christmas season with the superb arrangement by Richard Phillips of “Who is He?” before the Band Sergeant Stuart Wallis presented some appropriate verses of Scripture and gave us his thoughts on them.

The Concert concluded with the playing of Peter Graham’s recently published work “The Last Amen”. This was the Band’s first public performance of this composition, and we would like to hear it again before passing any judgement.

Friday 10th October 2003

Brass Extravaganza was the title given to a Concert presented by the Band and the City of Coventry Brass on 10th October 2003 in the Hall of King Henry VIII School. The Concert was presented by the School Parents’ Association.

The first half of the Programme was presented by the Band. James Curnow’s Festival March “Faith is the Victory” proved to be an excellent choice to commence the evening, as everyone’s feet were tapping immediately. Gemma Potter then stepped forward and played Andrew Mackereth’s Bass Trombone Solo “Swing Low” as well as we have heard her, before the Band played William Himes’ arrangement of the Overture to “The Marriage of Figaro”.

Peter Graham’s arrangement of “Ask” was presented in total contrast before Christian Marklew gave an excellent rendition of Erik Leidzen’s Euphonium Solo “Home on the Range”. Again in contrast, the Band played Darrol Barry’s arrangement of the popular melody “I Dreamed a Dream” before the Band concluded the first half of the Programme with a a good performance of Peter Graham’s “Ad Optimum”.

The City of Coventry Brass opened the second half with Bob Geldard’s arrangement of Cy Oliver’s “Opus 1” before presenting a good performance of Eric Ball’s “Festival Music”.

The City of Coventry Brass were then joined by a Jazz Trumpeter, Eddie Severn, who presented an arrangement of the traditional Mexican melody “La Virgen de la Macarena”. The City of Coventry Brass then played Peter Graham’s “Gaelforce”.

The two Bands them combined with students from the School to conclude the Programme.

First we had Stephen Roberts’ arrangement of “Pastime with Good Company”, a melody attributed to King Henry VIII – a very appropriate choice for the evening!

Then Deputy Bandmaster Huw Ellis and Chris Lewis, one of the Teachers at the School, combined to give an excellent rendition of Phil Catelinet’s Cornet Duet “Deliverance” before the evening concluded with William Himes’ arrangement of “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral”.

An excellent evening of music making, which was very well supported with a near capacity audience.

Sunday 14th September 2003

The Band participated in a Service of Praise and Thanksgiving at Canley Ford Meadow in Coventry. The Service, which had been arranged by the Churches in Earlsdon and Chapelfields and the Friends of Canley Ford was well supported.

The Service included hymns, both old and new, readings, prayers and some talks. It proved to be a very helpful and blessed occasion, enhanced by the warm sunshine.

Whilst most of the Band were at Canley Ford, a small party, led by the Bandmaster, participated in a Service at St Annes and All Saints Church in Strathmore Avenue, Coventry

Sunday 13th July 2003

The Band presented its final Bandstand of the year at Allesley Park in Coventry.

The Overture to “The Marriage of Figaro” opened the afternoon and the two soloists Catherine Wicker (“An Irish Melody”) and Christian Marklew (“Home on the Range”) were both in fine form. A number of song arrangements followed before the Band played “The Entry of the Gladiators”.

After a short interval, Gemma Potter featured “Swing Low” before the Band played Festival March “Celebration”. Some more song arrangements followed and then “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral” before the afternoon concluded with the March “Marching Onward”.

Sunday, 22nd June 2003

The Band presented a similar programme of music to that presented on 19th June 2003 but this time in the Bancroft Gardens at Stratford-upon-Avon. Unfortunately, this was terminated by a sudden cloudburst.

That same evening, an Ecumenical Songs of Praise in the Bandstand was accompanied by the Band. The favourite Hymns had all been chosen by the casting of votes. In spite of the inclement weather there was a good attendance.

Thursday, 19th June 2003

The Band presented a Summer Bandstand in the War Memorial Park in Coventry. This was something of a first – an experiment by the City Council to ascertain the interest in a weeknight Bandstand. There was a reasonable amount of interest but nothing like that the large crowds attracted on a Sunday afternoon.

The timing of the event meant that all of the Band were not able to be present. The programme presented included James Anderson’s popular march “Gold Crest”, the “Overture to the Magic Flute”, “Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral” and “Entry of the Gladiators”. Catherine Wicker presented “Green Hill” in an excellent fashion, in spite of some problems to her music caused by the strong breeze. The remaining items were Song Arrangements including “Now thank we all our God”, “Shine Jesus Shine”, “Light up the Sunshine”, “Ask” and “Angels watching over me”.

Saturday, 10th May 2003

The Band presented “Classic Popular and Popular Classic”, the latest in a series of Festivals in aid of the Corps New Building Scheme. These Festivals have proved very popular and this latest one was well attended.

The Festival saw the launch of the Friends’ Scheme and this Scheme has attracted a great deal of interest. In fact, the initial membership target has now been exceeded and new Friends are still being registered.

As the Festival Programme suggests there was something for everyone’s taste and we were not disappointed by the Band’s presentation.

The Programme commenced with Fucik’s “Entry of the Gladiators” before a complete change of mood in a Selection from the musical show “The King and I”. Certainly the melodies of this Selection were very familiar to us all.

Next, two of the band’s soloists were in the spotlight. Soprano Cornetist John Parkinson presented an arrangement by Ray Farr of Leoncavallo’s “On with the Motley” and Christian Marklew produced a memorable performance of Erik Leidzen’s “Home on the Range”.

Familiar themes were then heard in “A Disney Fantasy”, which contrasted with the peace and calm of “Poem” by Zdenek Fibich. We, as Salvationists, associate this lovely melody with the words “God of all Wonders”, written by Lieut-Colonel Ray Steadman-Allen.

Before the interval and light refreshments the Band played “Die Fleidermaus” by Johann Strauss.

An exciting solo Timbrel Display to Peter Graham’s “Ask” by Bandswoman Jenny Cuthbert proved a lively start to the second half of the Festival before the mood changed for an arrangement of Glenn Miller’s Moonlight Serenade.

A setting of the hymn tune “Onward Christian Soldiers” A setting of the hymn tune “Onward Christian Soldiers” preceded a tenor horn solo “My love is like a red, red rose” by Bandswoman Catherine Wicker and Michael Kenyon’s arrangement of the Overture to “The Magic Flute”.

After some thought provoking comments and Scripture Reading by Bandsman Mark Street, the Band played “I dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables and concluded the Festival with an arrangement of Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Dance of the Tumblers” by Brian Bowen.

Monday 14th April 2003

Along with the other musical Sections of the Corps, the Band participated in a programme of Music entitled “A Prelude to Easter”.

Catherine Wicker was featured in a Tenor Horn Solo by Norman Bearcroft entitled “Green Hill”. The tune of “My Love is like a red, red rose” had been linked to Cecil Frances Alexander’s well known words “There is a green hill far away, outside a city wall, where the dear Lord was crucified who died to save us all” – hence the title “Green Hill”.

The Band also played Eric Ball’s masterpiece “Resurgam”. This music is very moving as it allows the listener to contemplate the fact that what may appear to be pain and loss is often gain and victory in a spititual sense. Even from death “I shall rise again”.

The Band’s final contribution to the time of worship was an arrangement of “God so loved the world” from Sir John Stainer’s “”Crucifixion”.

22nd March 2003

The Band visited the Chesterton Corps for this Saturday evening Festival. It was almost 32 years since the Band’s previous visit on 17th April 1971. Numerous “supporters” accompanied the band, and this ensured a capacity audience, whose feet were soon tapping to the strains of the Festival March “Faith is the Victory” (James Curnow).

The main contributions by the Band were “Celebration Overture” (Martin Cordner), Ad Optimum (Peter Graham) and “Praise to the Lord”, the latest composition of Andrew Mackereth. The six soloists featured during the evening were David Brown (xylophone), Deputy Bandmaster Huw Ellis (cornet), Catherine Wicker (Tenor Horn), Jenny Cuthbert (Timbrel), Christian Marklew (Euphonium) and Gemma Potter (Bass Trombone). Their solos were respectively Joyous Rhythm (G Grainger), Flashback (Brian Bowen), Green Hill (arranged Norman Bearcroft), Ask (Peter Graham), Home on the Range (Erik Leidzen) and Swing Low (Andrew Mackereth).

The ladies in the Band presented a vocal setting of the words “You are always there”, which proved very thought provoking. Band Sergeant Stuart Wallis shared some very challenging thoughts, which led into the Band’s presentation of Richard Phillips’ setting of the Song “Who is He?”.

The final item was the Band playing Norman Bearcroft’s March “Temple 85” as a request for someone present. The evening ended, as it had begun, on a marching note!

15th February 2003

On the occasion of the 125th Anniversary of the opening of Coventry City Corps, the Band participated in a Service, held in the Upper Precinct in Coventry, to unveil a plaque on the site of the first Salvation Army meeting place in the City.

The plaque was unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Coventry, Councillor Ken Taylor, and he was accompanied by the Lady Mayoress, Mrs Taylor. The Divisional Commander, Major William Heeley, conducted the short Service, following some introductions by the Corps Officer, Major Brian Slinn.

The impressive March of Witness to and from the Upper Precinct was headed by a number of Standard Bearers, and included not only the Band but also representatives of the Songsters and other members of the Corps. Many members of the public were attracted by and expressed interest in the overall witness in the City Centre on a Saturday lunchtime.

That same evening, the Band, along with the other musical sections, participated in a musical Festival to celebrate the 125th Anniversary of the opening of the Coventry City Corps. The Festival was presided over by the Divisional Commander in his own inimitable style.

The classic March “Soldiers of Christ” by George Marshall got the evening of to a fine start and later in the evening the very recently published “Celebration Overture” by Martin Cordner proved to be a very fitting and suitable choice. The Band also featured under his conductorship a composition by a former Bandmaster, Bram Jacobs, “The Fighting 35th”. This interesting piece of music was composed some years previously and, before the Band presented it, Bram explained something of what he intended the music to portray.

Extracts from 'The Band with a name.'

In early January 1878, William Booth, the founder of the Christian Mission (as the Salvation Army was then called) decided to open its 35th station at Coventry.
Two women - Caroline Reynolds and Honor Burell were appointed to commence the work with no money or accomodation.
The work progressed well and later that year William and Catherine Booth visited the corps, presenting Coventry with the very first official Salvation Army flag.
In the early years the Salvation Army's open air services were often disrupted by rowdy and often violent crowds and musicians were gradually brought in to help drown out some of the heckling and to accompany the singing.

By 1886 Coventry's musical ensemble had formed into an all brass group - "Whether any of the bandsmen had anything but basic knowledge of music is open to discussion. Initially, the services of a professional musician who led the Coventry Opera House orchestra were obtained and he taught the basic method of playing and elementary music theory. The first leader of the band, or bandmaster, was a local musician called Rainbow. It is very doubtful whether he was commissioned, or even the following ones, Bandmasters Dan Barr or Mortiboys."

"The early stage of the band's history was punctuated by the development of the Army itself, from the enthusiastic mass of the seventies to a more disciplined form of the late eighties.
The early leaders of the band, Rainbow, Barr and Mortiboys had to contend with severe problems, poor equipment, lack of money and virtually no trained or competent bandsmen."

"....in 1893 the band was in the most serious state since its inception 11 years previously.It had scarcely improved....The corps itself was struggling after the heady days of the late seventies and early eighties.....The situation in the corps had become so bad that the founder, William Booth, expressed serious doubts as to its future."

"Arthur Attenborough, a Coventry Bandsman, wrote in a 1900 edition of the Local Officer regarding the band as it was in 1895.
"The instruments were old, out of tune and in a bad state of repair. The music was ill sorted and there was no practise room. Myriads of other difficulties were magnified by the fact the band had no cash or any real income on which to depend." He also stated; "The music was not at all what the public desired."

Things began to happen.

Old instruments were replaced by new, later music took the place of the old material and a marked advance took place in every respect."

...when 1900 came, the band because of the gradual ability of the ordinary people to travel, was able to spread its wings both locally and nationally."
"It was asked to make the first of five tours to Scotland in 1903."

"In 1907, the Coventry Band, an unknown combination from the provinces or Centre of England, whichever you prefer, was asked to spend a weekend in London."

"The band travelled to The Farm for its first major London Festival. Bandmaster Punchard himself wrote the critique on the saturday festival, in the Bandsman and Songster.
'Giving praise and encouragement and constructive criticism, basically apart from some untunefulness, the playing all round was good and there was ample evidence of careful working out of pieces though this distracted from the spirit needed to be put into them....."

" 1912 was the year of the Founder's promotion to glory. The band travelled to London to take part in a vast funeral procession through the streets of the city of London."

"By the end of the (First World) War the band became huge with the influx of returning servicemen adding to the many war workers who stayed on after hostilities.
It reached its zenith in numbers by the early twenties when the band numbered approximately 72."

On the 9th January 1926, the band took part in a massed festival at Northampton with Kettering and Northampton Central Bands and the Central Songsters.
Apparently, apart from some overblowing amongst the middle of the band, the band's rendition of "Scottish Melodies" and "Gems from Mozart" was played by a beautiful ensemble!!

A rather unique event occurred on the 8th July 1936, when General Evangeline Booth on a countrywide motorcade, reminiscent of her father's, passed through Coventry. The ISB and the band supported the General in her meeting at the Central Hall playing as a Massed Band.

The regulation at the time stated that bandsmen were not allowed to attend football matches and cinemas. Some bandsmen said whilst they complied with all regulations to the full, they admitted the aforementioned transgressions. The Midland Evening Telegraph (later the Coventry Evening Telegraph) reported on Thursday 9th March 1939:

"Coventry City Salvation Army band is facing crisis".
It went on to state that a Chief Official from Salvation Army headquarters was visiting Coventry that evening to resolve the crisis. The report stated the salient sticking points and it went on to add that the results of the controversy would affect several well known Salvation Army bands.
..Major was given untill 3rd April to back down, and on Sunday evening, 2nd, he offered his resignation to Major Gough, the Commander Officer and in writing to Divisional Commander Neave.
On Wednesday, 5th April , Band Secretary Murray also resigned.
A band meeting was held on Thursday 6th April, regarding the situation. Twenty-nine bandsmen resigned; between them they had accrued 400 years in Army banding. The majority of those who resigned wished to remain salvationists.
To bring up the terrible gaps in the ranks, YP band members almost at transfering ages (16 1/2 - 17 years of age) and veterans from the band reserve were drafted in. By July 1939 the band was 35 strong - a remarkable achievement.

At the outbreak of war all building projects were suspended, and because the old hall had been sold, temporary accommodation had to be found, firstly in the Corn Exchange, then in a temporary wooden building in Spon Street on the new site. The corps remained at the latter until the present suite of buildings was erected in 1959 in Upper Well St.

The new bandmaster (James Greig) was to lead the band through its most trying experiences in its history. The band had been torn asunder, then just as things were beginning to settle down , suffered the loss of many of the younger bandsmen for service in the Armed Forces.

On the commencement of the war, younger bandsmen were called to the colours, other bandsmen entered on the endless grind of war work, normal life was suspended almost immediately. Because of the "blackout", Sunday evening and other weeknight meetings were suspended, cottage meetings were held by comrades in the corps.

The following stories were reported in war time newsletters which kept the servicemen 'au fait' with corps activities and particularly the band.

Bandsman Reggie Kemp told the story how he tore the seat of his band trousers on the band's visit to Cheltenham and Malvern. Bandsmen Tom Mortiboys kindly assisted in the repairs and mangaed to sew his trousers to his shirt and underpants. What happened that night we leave to imagination.