Last night it was my pleasure to attend the launch of Musical Aspects... the new CD from the Bellshill Salvation Army Band.
The event was held at the local High School. Over 400 people came to hear the Band with the other Bellshill sections (Songsters / Young People's Band and Singing Company) launch the album with tracks from it. Of these 400 people... 200 or so, including local councilors and the MSP, did not have an "Army" background.
The concept is to tie in the "spiritual" songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber with the songs of Larrson & Gowans from the Salvation Army. At first I thought the idea was a compromise... I'm not a fan of Webber's work and I thought it watered down the wonderful music of the Army musicals. After last night I have change my mind... Using Webber's work opens the door to people who do not know or can not relate to Army music. Webber's work is popular in our society and it draws people... because they are familiar with the song and the musical from which the song came from. This is used to great effect on the CD and live... and reminds me of what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (NIV):
Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.The band play Webber in order to reach people who connect / appreciate Webber. Simple. Effective.
In addition, I think the use of Webber's work demonstrates the power and additional meaning of the Army's musicals such as Spirit, Jesus Folk, and Blood of the Lamb. It shows the work as on a par, if not stronger.
The solos on the CD are first class... Lynn Shanks plays fluegal horn on the song I don't know how to love Him from Jesus Christ Superstar. I'm not a big fan of the song... but Lynn makes it her own... and takes it to another... higher... level.
Yvonne Ferguson plays cornet on the track Someone Cares from the Army musical Take-Over Bid. A song I am not familiar with... but one I am beginning to love.
Gemma Gunn's vocal solo, from The Phantom of the Opera... Wishing you were somehow here again... is on a level with the best of Webber. The next Elaine Paige??? I think so.
The last soloist is someone very close to my heart... my wee wifey... Olwyn Mathie whose rendition of Burning, Burning from the Army musical Spirit was something very precious and simply wonderful. I am biased... but I don't care. She sealed the night with a song that speaks of the power of the Holy Spirit.
Burning, burning, brightly burning.Wow. Her song was a great contrast from the big sound of Webber... it was simple... stripped back... vulnerable... open... with accompaniment from Yvonne Ferguson on piano. The song made my night... and I believe I wasn't alone.
Brightly burning Fire divine.
Satisfy my spirit's yearning.
Fill this empty soul of mine.
Burning, burning, brightly burning.
Holy Spirit stay with me;
To your will my will is turning
What you will I want to be.
Great effort from the Band and the soloists. They made me proud. Ian Dickie, pictured above, should be congratulated for this. His vision is appreciated by me!
You can buy the CD on Amazon or from World of Brass. All profits will go to our building fund.
Check it out.