Over Vale and Hill (2009)

GS 2115 (publ. 2012)
Duration: approx. 4:00 

Over Vale and Hill was requested by B/M Norman Short for the Yorkshire Fellowship Band. 

My aim with the march was bridge old and new styles of music. To my mind the brief of a fellowship band is similar: to celebrate the past but to embrace the future, too. (In the audio clip listen out for two bars of an eighties British TV programme that focused on the future...)

In respect of Yorkshire melodies, the march makes references to a number of Yorkshire connections; some of them are strong, but I’m afraid most of them are tenuous…

The opening bars make reference to the song All through the years which is by Edward Joy, a Canadian Salvation Army officer. Requested by the band, the composer also thought it appropriate to include this melody as a celebration of God’s faithfulness in the past.

All through the years his providence has led me,
His abounding goodness has been all my song;
All through the years I tell his love and mercy,
Singing Ebenezer as the years roll on.

Edward Joy
SA Songbook, Chorus 147


Over Vale and Hill p2-3.pdf Over Vale and Hill p2-3.pdf
Size : 100.688 Kb
Type : pdf


 Computer generated track


PC - Over Vale and Hill.mp3


Whosoever will may come  is the next song in the piece, and is the one that gives the march its name.  Although written by an American (Phillip Paul Bliss) who, in his entire life, probably never set foot in Yorkshire, you would think it was written for the Yorkshire branch of The Salvation Army when he penned:

Whosoever will! Whosoever will!
Send the blessèd tidings over vale and hill;
’Tis the loving Father calls the wanderer home:
Whosoever will may come.

Philip Paul Bliss (1838-76)
SA Songbook 279 (Tune: Whosoever Heareth TB 551)

Also in the march is a brief reference to the tune Langham, which in SA circles is known as Nativity (TB116/NCP 35).  Whilst not a Yorkshire tune, I recall it was a favourite melody of one of the UK’s greatest and best loved actresses – the late Dame Thora Hird.  In fact she was not even a Yorkshire lass herself, but I think it was her part in Yorkshire-based TV shows such as Last of the Summer Wine and Hallelujah! that called her, and the melody to mind. There are a few songs associated with this tune, the most well-known of which must be:

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise;
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of his grace!

Charles Wesley (1707-88)
SA Songbook 64

The third tune, Cranbrook, was written by a Canterbury-based shoemaker called Thomas Clark in 1805, and was later coupled with the words On Ilkla Moor Baht 'at (translation for non-Yorkshire folk: ‘On Ilkley Moor without a hat’).  This song is surely one of the county’s best-known songs.

The final melody (at the trio) is not well known, that’s because I've made it up.  Now, I can’t claim to be a true Yorkshireman by birth, but, having lived in places such as Sheffield and Leeds for a significant part of my childhood, I do have a little piece of Yorkshire in my heart.  So it is my hope that this melody will capture the spirit of the White Rose county, and the institution of the great, British, brass band which, as we all know, probably began somewhere in Yorkshire… 

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