Forbury Gardens came alive this afternoon to the glorious sound of brass as the Salvation Army Reading Central Band took pride of place in the Bandstand before a gathering of over 200 people. As with each summer Sunday afternoon, the town’s formal gardens play host to a wide variety of musical talent from around the borough from June through to September.
The band’s performance today became a dedication to one of their bandsmen, Rodney Newland, who suddenly passed away last week, having taken extremely ill during band practice at the Corps’ Anstey Road citadel. Rodney, or “Rod” as he was known to his family and friends, joined Reading Central Corps in 1976. He played 2nd Tenor Horn. Pieces played today during the band’s 90-minute performance included “How Great Thou Art”, “I Vow To Thee My Country”; “Love Changes Everything” from the hit Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical Aspects Of Love, and “I Dreamed A Dream” from the classic West End production Les Misérables.
Bandsman Rod Newland,
who passed away recently
Geoff Hawkins, Corps Sergeant Major at Reading Central said: “Rod was a consistent member of the band. He rarely missed a practice save for holidays and family occasions. Rod brought a quiet and thoughtful presence to the Corps through his music ministry, and he will be greatly missed.”
Rod’s dedication to the Salvation Army and his passion for brass music was also echoed by Band Secretary, Steve Atherton. He said: “Rod was an extremely dignified and quiet man. He never let us down and he never complained. He was always at rehearsal and our band schedule can sometimes be quite arduous. His passing during last Thursday’s band rehearsal came as a shock to the band and to the Corps. We asked Rod’s daughters if we should cancel today or whether we should play. Without hesitation, they both told us that we should play. Rod will be very much missed.”
Next Sunday, 22 June 2014, Beatroots Bateria take to the stage to bring their unique blend of percussion to the audience. Full details of the summer schedule of musical performances in Forbury Gardens can be found here.
Folks relaxed in the afternoon sunshine to the sound of Salvation Army brass band music.
Photo: Lynda Bowyer