MJC Rehearsal 1This month saw Eynsford Concert Band under the direction of John Hutchins record Nigel’s latest wind orchestra work `Heritage Suite’ (What Hope Saw).

The disc entitled `Heritage’ will also feature British composers’ Nigel Hess, Martin Ellerby, Philip Sparke and Adam Gorb. Nigel was present throughout the recording sessions to support Eynsford Concert band with their recording. The cd will also feature the poem `What Hope Saw’ read by its author Martin Westlake. `Heritage’ is to be released for Christmas 2009. Eynsford Concert Band will be performing this work again in their annual Easter concert.

What Hope Saw by Martin Westlake


From the control tower she gazed out on Kings Hill

And saw the Walrus dancing with Amy Johnson in the mist,

Whilst the crews of phantom squadrons scrambled across the grass

Where All Muggleton and Dingley Dell played for posterity

On the back of a ten pound note as it changed hands

In West Malling’s flourishing market.


Looking down from Gundulf’s keep she wept as the market goers

Sneezed and bled, dwindling down to fifteen

Desperate souls who’d ever mourn and say

How prayer had saved them as the shadow moved on,

Leaving just four sisters to sing for deliverance.


She watched the hay bales graze in Old Kent’s stubbled jowl;

In winter, she saw the apple trees claw upwards from his chest to scratch

His sheep-maggoty cheeks. In spring, the farmers ploughed his chin

And talced his blue-ish skin with scattered seed so that each summer

His beard would grow and the altars fill with abundance.


She smiled through the golden screens of hop tresses as the pickers

Supped and drank, sprawled on the Swan’s lawns or astride its benches,

Happily distant from East End murk and stench.

Through the night the brewer’s drays dragged their fragrant loads to Faversham,

Where the flower cones tumbled into gurgling coppers.


She lounged behind the boundary rope, sipping fresh scented summer ale,

And watched the shadows slowly stretch out to tickle her toes

As willow and leather and whites and wickets commingled

With sparrowed hedges, holleyhocked gardens and milk-bottled porches,

Whilst the shadows of spitfires and mosquitoes flitted overhead.


She stood at the entrance to Ford House and watched Wyatt drift fruitlessly

Back from Ludgate. She closed her eyes as the rebellion was crushed and Wyatt

Beheaded, but when she opened them again his lands had been returned,

The market was flourishing and the Abbey was rich in song and prayer,

A concert band played in the Tithe Barn,

And in history’s mirror she saw herself running, dove in hand, towards… hope.