The first practice of 2015 took rather a different format to usual as the band welcomed Dr. Stephen Cobb and Lieut.-Colonel Trevor Davis. Dr. Cobb is head of the Music Ministries Unit at Territorial Headquarters and also bandmaster of the International Staff Band. Col Davis is a retired officer who is a composer, former head of MMU and erstwhile executive officer of the ISB. They are currently involved in the preparation of the tune book to accompany the new Salvation Army Songbook, a massive task involving nearly 1,000 arrangements.
During the evening, the band played through 45 tunes, commencing with 342, ‘Not my own’, and ending with 386, ‘When the mists have rolled away’. It proved a worthwhile exercise, with 12 significant issues identified, including adjustments needed due to wrong notes and incorrect dynamic markings, as well as one where the planned introduction was felt to be too short.
Whilst Dr. Cobb conducted the band, Lt.-Col Davis listened intently, following the music in a score in order to identify any problems.
Dr. Cobb gave an interesting insight into the development process, explaining that General Clifton had felt strongly that the band should continue to be the main means of accompaniment for Salvation Army worship. The Bandmaster also pointed out that several of the new arrangements were set in lower keys than the previous ones, which were felt to be a little high for today’s congregations.
He paid tribute to the work of the Music Editorial Department, which had been entrusted with the task, aiming to complete it in three years, rather than the seven years needed for the previous revision. In addition, acknowledgement was made of the contributions of two major figures in Salvation Army music making who had recently been promoted to glory, Lt.-Col Ray Steadman-Allen and Songster Leader Muriel Yendell.
Lt.-Col Davis led the devotional period.
Here is a video of the band running through Pour Thy Spirit:
report by Peter Bale
pics by Brian Nichols