Fisherman's Walk Bandstand



Ever eager to find new avenues for band service, Band Secretary Percy Cutler and the CO Major Baker, approached Bournemouth Council in 1946 for permission to use the Fisherman's Walk bandstand. Undaunted by refusal Major Baker later returned to the Park entertainments officials, armed with the Band scores of the Unfinished Symphony and Memories of the Masters. Once convinced that the band did feature this type of music in their festivals a trial programme was arranged and the band duly played at Fisherman's Walk during the August Bank holiday.

A short season of about 4 bandstand programmes was also given in 1947, but the real breakthough came in 1948 when the Band was invited by the council to give a series of 10. Each programme commenced at 7pm lasted 90 minutes and featured music from a repertoire totalling 50 pieces. With marches, selections, meditations, hymn tune arrangements etc., the full range of Army music was demonstrated and the three soloists of that time were regularly featured. Harold Walker, even in his late forties, never failed to thrill with his cornet solos, which, included Happy all the Day, Cheerful Voices, Tucker, At the Fountain and A Happy Day. YP Band Leader Reg Tubbs, who had been the band soprano player since 1936, became a regular soloist at Fishermans Walk. To Maoriland, which he featured in 1948, he added in later years Variations on an Irish Melody, Kind Words (written by Bandmaster Mountain), The Trumpet Shall Sound, and Jubilate (which included some of his own variations).

His fine soprano playing and dependability made him a tremendous asset to the band, which he later served as Deputy Bandmaster and he never missed a Fisherman's Walk programme in 25 years. Chris Hayes, had transferred from Pokesdown to Boscombe in 1931, immediately becoming the band trombone soloist. Renowned for his rare trombone timbre, Chris's repertoire comprised Sound the Battle Cry, Over Jordan, The Priceless Gift, Art Thou Troubled, and Count your Blessings - the latter especially written for him by Brindley Boon.

Nine guineas per programme was gratefully received for the band fund, but of more importance was the new opportunity of bringing a ministry in music to the many hundreds who gathered there each week. Although the message of the music might not have always been understood or appreciated, the band's playing often created an atmosphere congenial to serious discussion about spiritual things; the bandstand soon became an internationally known rendezvous where new friends could be made, old acquaintances renewed and visitors could receive a thought provoking benediction to their holidays.

The foresight of the Band Secretary resulted in a bandstand engagement that has already spanned over 70 years and brought many thousands into contact with the Salvation Army, with results that we might never be able to measure.