Symphony Sounds 2019

International Staff Band and Bellshill Band
Conductors: Stephen Cobb; Yvonne Ferguson
Featuring: United Singing Companies (Paul Sharman); FourHymn
Symphony Hall
Saturday 1st June

Symphony Sounds 2019 featured the International Staff Band and Bellshill Band from Scotland supported by the International Staff Songsters, the male voice quartet FourHymn and a chorus made up of young singers from around the UK. There were also six dancers who contributed their own interpretation to some of the items.


The ISB opened with 'Legacy of Faith', by Nicholas Samuel. This lively piece combined 'Praise My Soul' with the choruses 'In His Time' and 'One Life to Live', with the smooth melodies set against the ostinato accompaniment figures making an interesting contrast.

Bellshill Band played Dean Goffin's demanding 'My Strength, My Tower' for their first contribution. After a rather stiff start they grew in assurance, with first class solo work from Alex Ramsey and Chris Shanks on cornet and euphonium respectively.

Peter Graham's ‘The Dawning’, is a powerful work featuring Joy Webb's 'There will be God' and the gospel song 'My Lord, What a Morning'.

Hearing it afresh one was frequently reminded of the composer's 'Essence of Time', and it was good to see the work getting an outing. The trombones were especially striking when declaiming the narrative line towards the end.

'Toccata Fire', a bright setting of William Booth's 'Send the Fire' by Stephen Ponsford, was the ISB's offering for the second half, incorporating John Larsson's 'Burning, Burning'.


The ISB greeted the audience with 'Standing on the Promises' as they returned after the interval, before they joined heartily in the singing of 'Sound the Battle Cry'.

'Toccata Fire', a bright setting of William Booth's 'Send the Fire' by Stephen Ponsford, was the ISB's offering for the second half, incorporating John Larsson's 'Burning, Burning'.

Bellshill Band featured their soloists once more in Ivor Bosanko's duet 'Time and Eternity', exchanging phrases at the start before joining in harmony together. 'Immeasurable' was written for the band by Andrew Blyth and is the title track on their latest recording. Featuring the tune 'Penlan', the band was joined by the ISB percussion team in an impressive performance.

The vocal contributions added greatly to the success of the evening, and all the forces joined together in a finale based on a selection of songs by Joy Webb.

These included some written for young people, some from the days of the Joystrings and other more recent items. Led by Paul Sharman it concluded with the affirmative 'There will be God'.

Peter Bale

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