A full house greeted the Enfield Citadel Band (Bandmaster James Williams MBE) and the Chelmsford Citadel Songsters (Songster Leader Joanne Schultz) at Christchurch in Chelmsford on the occasion of their Christmas Spectacular held on 11 December 2004. The event, benefitting the Helen Rollason Cancer Charity, was hosted by Angela Lodge and Tom Warmington of BBC Essex. BBC Essex recorded the concert and broadcast it as a part of programming for Christmas Day. The event raised £2,700 for the Cancer Centre.
The opening bars of Stephen Bulla’s Proclamation of Christmas from the Enfield Citadel Band set the high musical standard for what was to become a memorable evening of Christmas music-making. Other items by the band included Christmas Calypso (Peter Graham), Three Kings Swing (William Himes), Sleigh Ride (Leroy Anderson), and Gaudete (Kevin Norbury). The Songsters delighted everyone with A Starry Night (Joy Webb), Benjamin Britten’s carol This Little Babe and a soulful version of Candlelight Carol (John Rutter).
A rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas led to peals of laughter from the audience at the visual show which was revealed on a roll of wallpaper proving more difficult to display as the twelfth day grew closer. Some smooth chord progressions from Nicholas Samuel at the piano playing an arrangement of How Far Is It to Bethlehem created a magic moment as did the singing of Saviour’s Day by Hayley Stubbs. A contrast to the musical items was provided by dramatic presentations and readings by Chelmsford Songster Pauline Buckle, who read ’Twas the Night before Christmas, and stage and television actor Ken Lodge, who presented a rendition of Charles Dickens’ well-loved A Christmas Carol.
Report submitted by David Buckle, Chelmsford Citadel