Friends and family from near and far gathered at the Temple to mark the retirement of Ken Hillson who had served for 27 years as Bandmaster. Present were many who had played in the band during that period, and the evening was in the safe hands of former Divisional Commander David Phillips, who had also acted as Corps Officer and Band Executive Officer.
The programme, which was conducted by Ken, included many favourites from his time with the band, from the opening march “Praise” and Air Varie “The Old Wells” through to “The Light of the World” and “The Kingdom Triumphant”.
Ken loved to feature the band singing, and “The Infant King” provided a contrast from the sound of brass, whilst the entry of the flag towards the end of the march “Celebration” was very effective. Soloists taking part were Young People’s Bandleader Christopher Carter (“The Conqueror”), Deputy Bandmaster Alex Campbell (“It is well with my Soul”) and Deputy Bandmaster Keith Johnston, whose refined rendition of “Rhapsody for Cornet and Band” was a highlight of the evening.
Various anecdotes were shared as the evening progressed, with reference being made to tributes received from the Music Ministries Unit and elsewhere. Speaking on behalf of the band Roger Styles looked back at Ken’s tenure, presenting him with a picture that had been signed by each member. Unfortunately, technical issues prevented the planned pictorial montage from being shown, although it was running at the close of the meeting.
After Ken had handed the baton to Marion, band members moved out into the hall to play “The Irish Blessing”.
Report by Peter Bale
Pics by Brian Nichols