The welcome return visit of the Salvation Army Symphonic Wind Ensemble (SASWE) to WORTHING marked its own 25th anniversary and the 135th of the home corps band. As the opening piece stated, it was a ‘Cause for Celebration’. However, there was from the start no doubt that it was Jesus who was celebrated throughout the weekend.
The Saturday evening festival was compered by the SASWE co-founder and bandmaster Andrew Mackereth in his inimitable user-friendly style. He had immediate rapport with the audience which included some who came simply because of a mention in the local paper. The music comprised compositions and arrangements by present and former SASWE members Alan Laken, Michael Babb, Kevin Horner and the bandmaster, and included thought-provoking reflection from flautist Lieutenant Kate Gregory and three gospel songs from the corps songsters.
Five members of Worthing Band were among the SASWE instrumentalists – six if you include corps officer Major Marian Parker who sat in with the percussion on the Sunday. The morning worship took as its theme ‘There is Room’, the title of a new piece by Bandmaster Mackereth based on the song ‘Thou didst leave thy throne’. Percussionist Mark Hamilton and clarinettist Rachel Frost testified, and SASWE chaplain and saxophonist Peter Bale gave the Bible message. The band played again after the benediction, and when the bandmaster turned to the congregation with the remark ‘Do you want another?’ the immediate and enthusiastic response was evidence of the attractiveness and effectiveness of the SASWE mission.