Sanctuary was commissioned by Eastern Bay of Plenty Brass from New Zealand - Alan Spence, Musical Director. They gave the premiere on 14th July 2018 during the New Zealand National Brass Band Championships, which were held in Marlborough that year.

The championships require competing bands to play a set test piece, an own-choice test piece and a short ‘sacred’ or ‘reflective’ item, often a hymn tune or similar. Alan Spence wanted to present something new in the latter category and asked long-time friend, Philip Sparke, to compose a suitable piece.

Sanctuary opens with an expressive cornet solo, hymn-like in mood. A slightly faster central section builds to a change of key and an expansive return of the opening melody, this time scored for full band. After an emotional climax the mood subsides, leading to a quiet close.