Earlier in the year, Salvationist composer Major Howard Davies visited Hadleigh to help celebrate 120 years since the founder bought land here. During that visit Major Davies met the corps’ soprano player, Dave Harrison. On returning to Australia, Major Davies learned that David likes the hymn tune Ellan Vannin and offered to write an arrangement of it.
Dave takes up the story:
‘Ellan Vannin is not only a hymn tune but is the unofficial national anthem of the Isle of Man. When I was young I was dead keen on motorcycling and Audrey and I went to the Isle of Man for the TT races as part of our honeymoon.
‘The tune that we use to “From the Heart of Jesus Flowing” became quite familiar to me and as far as I am aware there is no other band arrangement of it. I thought it would be nice to play it as an arrangement. I didn’t think too much of the Major’s interest in my favourite tune; I really expected that he would go home to Australia after a very busy trip to the UK and forget all about it.’
But Major Davies didn’t forget about it. He and Dave kept in contact by email as he prepared to write the piece, with Dave cheekily suggesting on one occasion ‘a nice sop part would be welcome’. But Dave got more than he bargained for. It wasn’t a hymn tune arrangement with a nice sop part, but a proper soprano solo, which came as a surprise to him.
Look out for this piece to be included in a band programme any time soon.