Originally published on Run of the Millfield, a hyperlocal website focused on the Millfield suburb of Sunderland, on March 14th 2013.
Sunderland Millfield Salvation Army are hosting a weekend of music and worship as brass band Fanfara come to town.
The band will play two shows on Saturday night and Sunday evening and band manager Neil Lacey says: “We are very much looking forward to the weekend, the band is well rehearsed and so hope that the concert audiences will enjoy what we have to offer.”
‘Fanfara’ is Italian for ‘brass band’ and the group were formed in July 2007. They are made up of either current but mainly former Salvation Army bandsman.
Members come from across the North West, from places like Blackpool and North Wales, and there are a couple of players who travel from the Midlands too.
Mr Lacey said: “A few of us discussed the fact that we missed playing our instruments and wondered what it would be like to start playing again.
“We formed Fanfara, with the help of some current army bandsman who we knew could keep the band going in case those who hadn’t played in a while had no lips or stamina!”
“Nearly 5 years later, we have almost the same personnel as we invited to our first rehearsal, with just a few changes and additions over the years.”
The group rehearse once a month at Liverpool Walton Salvation Army hall on a Friday evening and have played in a variety of venues over the last 5 years, performing at charity concerts, Christmas services, Salvation Army concerts, and this year they will be playing at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.
“Our weekend at Sunderland Millfield Salvation Army,” Mr Lacey says, “is a first for Fanfara, as we have not yet visited a Salvation Army corps for a full weekend.
“Most of the band members have, however, at some point been part of a band that has carried out such a weekend visit, so everyone is really looking forward to this new challenge for the band.
“In preparing for our visit to Sunderland we have, for the last 3 months, been rehearsing fortnightly which has enabled us to tackle more challenging music to present to the audience in Sunderland.
“The program of music will be largely Salvation Army brass band music, with a few non-Salvation Army pieces in the mix.
“We will also be featuring some soloists from the band, namely our principal cornet player Glyn Griffiths who originates from Millfield, who will be presenting a trumpet solo, along with our Flugel Horn soloist Richard Lacey, Euphonium soloist Murray Cook and Tenor Horn Soloist Claire Marriot-Lodge.”
Fanfara will play some Salvation Amy classics such as ‘Faith Is The Victory’ (which can be viewed below, performed by Amsterdam Staff Band), ‘The Ambassadors’ and ‘Ransomed’.
In addition, there will be recent compositions like ‘Purpose’, ‘Soli Deo Gloria’ and ‘South Shields Celebration’. They will also feature some classical works such as ‘Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral’ by Wagner as some “more reflective music”, Mr Lacey says, “to give the listeners a variety of sounds throughout the concerts”.
The Salvation Army does some incredible work in Millfield and across the world and, asmembers of the Millfield Salvation Army have told RotM, this weekend is a chance for Christians to get together and share worship, as well as – hopefully – invite newcomers to the church.
Mr Lacey says: “Although we are not officially a Salvation Army band, we are linked to the Salvation Army and do encourage a message of Christianity throughout the band.
“We are therefore hoping that we will be able to share that Christian message with those who listen to us, especially on Sunday when we will be presenting a Sunday morning church service to the members of the Salvation Army corps at Sunderland Millfield.”
Tickets for the Millfield Band Weekend are priced at £4 for adults while under 16s go free. Details of the event can be found on Facebook or by contacting Brian Thompson. Fanfara can be found on YouTube and on Facebook.
Both concerts will take place at the Rutland Street base in Millfield. The Saturday concert begins at 7pm, while the Sunday equivalent begins at 4pm.