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West Midlands Fellowship Band

The band was formed in 2000 initially to supply music for the West Midlands Divisional Home League Rally. From this grew other invitations, so regular rehearsals began in 2002. The band was officially inaugurated by the Divisional Commander on 27th March 2004. In May 2004, the band made a very successful tour of Norway.

Since its inception, the band has been led by Bandmaster Charles King. Charles was previously Divisional Bandmaster but, as a lifelong Salvationist, has held many Local Officer appointments. He is well known nationally and internationally for his teaching, conducting and performing skills. Above all though, he has a passion for reaching out to those who do not know Christ, seeing music as a way to touch their souls.

The band is unique, in that although part of The Salvation Army, it is open to other Christian musicians who share a faith in Jesus Christ, His life and His teachings. The dedication, enthusiasm, energy, time and miles travelled by those who serve in the band is impressive. The reward is the joy and fellowship shared as we develop musically and spiritually. Ten of the band who toured in 2004 still play with the band. Many more now serve and have served over the years. Whilst many players are retired, we currently have two members in their twenties; there are four women who enhance the fellowship. The band rehearses most Tuesdays at 1:00 p.m. in the Dudley Citadel hall.

Each year, we carry out about a dozen engagements at various Corps, Church and Divisional events often sharing the programme with other musical groups. In 2015, the band gave concerts at Darlaston, Tipton, Longton, Lichfield Cathedral, Cradley Heath, Tenbury Wells and supported the Divisional Adult Family Ministry Rally in Leamington Spa. During December, the band played Christmas music in Dudley, Darlaston, Arley (The Severn Valley Railway), Stratford-upon-Avon, Streetly, Coventry and at the QE Hospital, Birmingham.

In October, the band made a very successful 5 day visit to the Guernsey Corps. Eight concerts were carried out in a variety of locations. Within hours of landing, the band played an open air concert at Waitrose. The following day, was a memorable outdoor concert in the Market Square, St Peter Port, where Deputy Bandmaster and Principal Cornet Eddie Toon thrilled the crowds with the Post Horn Galop performed on a balcony high above the square. The 30 strong band plus 4 timbrelists gave a Saturday evening concert to a packed hall at the Guernsey Salvation Army before leading the Sunday meetings. At the evening Songs of Praise, the band joined with the local corps band to play together. The band’s final activities saw them visit a local Methodist residential home and a special needs school where the band led an assembly and gave workshop demonstrations to small groups of pupils. The band experienced wonderful hospitality shown by the members of Guernsey corps and their officers Majors Jamie and Claire Hill. Lasting friendships have been made and the gospel message was truly uplifted.

Upcoming engagements are at the AFM Rally in Leamington in April, Barrow-upon-Trent in May, Streetly in June, Droitwich in September and Eccleshall in October.
If you are interested in joining the band, booking us for a concert or supporting in any way, please contact the secretary, Trevor Pocock (trevorpocock@hotmail.com).