Charity concert

A legacy of inspiration


Jan Ambrose reports on the Life of Lynda fundraising concert at Regent Hall on 

Saturday 9 April 2016


Lynda Hanover, the sister of Bandmaster Steve Hanover, died of leukaemia at the age of three. Steve recalls repeatedly hearing her name mentioned with great sadness while he was growing up, and he resolved that one day something positive would come out of this tragedy.

In 2011, the Life Of Lynda Fund was launched, with the aim of raising £50,000 split equally between Cancer Research UK and various Salvation Army overseas projects. More than £40,000 has already been raised, and there are further schemes planned to reach or exceed this target.

Bandsman Greg Waters organised Breaking Brass, a concert to raise funds for this cause. It featured Breaking Brass, a band of talented young Salvationist musicians drawn from all over the UK, which is conducted by Greg. The programme was complemented by two outstanding soloists: Phil Cobb (cornet, Hendon) and Hazel Launn (vocal, Bedford Congress Hall).

Major Val Mylchreest’s blend of humour and compassion made her the perfect choice as compère. She promised attendees that they would hear music that would reach the head and touch the heart. She was right: listeners knew they were in for a great evening as the concert started with an exuberant rendition of William Gordon’s arrangement of Make His Praise Glorious, followed by Wilfred Heaton’s arrangement of the hymn tune, Martyn.

The programme comprised modern and older compositions, with Edward Gregson’s Variations on Laudate Dominum and Peter Graham’s Swedish Folk Song (a traditional melody associated with the words How Great Thou Art) nestling alongside Steven Ponsford’s Mighty God and Paul Lovatt-Cooper’s Vitae Aeternum (Life Eternal).

The soloists for the evening can only be described as magnificent. Hazel Launn and Phil Cobb are committed Salvationists who have dedicated their God-given talent. Accompanied by Elliot Launn, Hazel chose two songs in contrast for her first contribution, which showed off her incredible vocal range: the upbeat Somebody Believed and They Could Not, a thought-provoking piece, with the band joining for a triumphant conclusion. Phil Cobb gave an exciting performance of the Williams Himes’ composition, Jubilance.

All of us have had our lives touched by cancer, either as a sufferer or through knowing loved ones who have experienced this terrible disease. Ground-breaking research means that it is no longer necessarily a death sentence, but much more needs to be done.

Phil Cobb is an unassuming and incredibly talented young man. Besides being a member of an exceptionally busy Salvation Army Band, he plays principal trumpet with the London Symphony Orchestra. Interviewed by Major Val Mylchreest  prior to playing his second solo (a flawless rendition of Peter Ayling’s arrangement of Lord, with my all I part), he explained that he is running in the Marathon in aid of Cancer Research UK, as a tribute to all those he knew who had succumbed to the disease. He seemed unperturbed that an unfortunate diary clash meant that he had a concert the evening before running the 26.2 miles early the next morning.

Hazel’s last contribution was dedicated to those suffering from cancer. Her first song was Ned Washington and Leigh Heroine’s When You Wish Upon A Star, while her second piece, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, arranged by Derric Johnson and transcribed by Paul Sharman, was a tribute to an aunt who had died of leukaemia at the age of 24. Her fantastic rendition culminated in a glorious finale with piano and brass accompaniment and Hazel soaring to a jaw-dropping super Db   for the last note.

The evening resulted in more than £1,400 being raised. The short life of Lynda Hanover (1950-1953) was not in vain.

© Life of Lynda Fund 2016