Bellshill Visit to Arbroath and Forfar

For the last number of years, the Bellshill Band (Bandmaster Yvonne Ferguson) has headed to Forfar on a Sunday in December to lead worship in several locations and raise money for a selected charity. 2013 was no different, as the band headed to the Angus area on 15 December for a long and busy day, first at a church in Arbroath, then an animal sanctuary in Forfar and finally a church in Forfar. The selected charity for this year was Blythswood Care, an organization which “combines the Christian message with practical help for those in need at home and abroad, regardless of their political or religious beliefs or ethnic origins.” The group Live to Tell (Caroline MacMillan,Daniel MacMillan and Olwyn Mathie) traveled with the band and participated in each performance.

The day got off to a great start at St. Andrew’s Church, Arbroath, where the band led a packed church in morning worship. During the meeting, Claire Ferguson reminded the children of the Christmas message as they helped her with a story. Live to Tell enhanced the worship when they contributed Best Gift of All, Light of the World and I Call Him Lord. The band’s offering of Still, Still, Still was very powerful and was only surpassed by Live to Tell’s rendition of Who Is He? accompanied by the band.

In the afternoon, the band headed to the outskirts of Forfar to provide music for the carol service at the Mountains Animal Sanctuary, led by a local minister. Mountains Animal Sanctuary is Scotland’s largest re-homing and adoption center for horses, ponies and donkeys. Many families came to the sanctuary to share in the service and to see a living nativity presented by animals and volunteers from the sanctuary. The band accompanied carol singing and presented a Christmas march featuring several carols. Live to Tell added to the service, singing O Come Emmanuel. During the service, everyone became aware of heavy rain battering the roof and were very pleased that the service was held inside and not outdoors!

Once again, many came along to Lowson Memorial Church in Forfar on Sunday evening to hear the band’s final program of its visit to Angus. Feature items on the program included Chris Shanks (euphonium) presenting a new arrangement of Midwinter and then joining with Craig Dickie (euphonium) and David Ferguson (E♭ bass) for a lively trio rendition of Frosty the Snowman. Live to Tell enhanced the program with contributions including Go Tell, I Call Him Lord and O Come Emmanuel.

As in the morning, the band’s playing of Still, Still, Still and Who Is He? (with Live to Tell singing) were well-received. The highlight of the night was The Kingdom Triumphant (Eric Ball), which includes the carol “O Come Emmanuel” and concludes with the hymn tune “Helmsley”, associated with the words:

Lo! He comes with clouds descending,
Once for favored sinners slain;
Thousand thousand saints attending,
Swell the triumph of His train;
God appears on earth to reign.

As in previous years, the band was warmly welcomed by the people of Angus. In addition to their hospitality, the people also showed their generosity, with over £1,500 raised during the day for Blythswood Care.

Bellshill Band web site, original report by Dorothy Neil