The Reading Central Corps hosted the 27th annual Civic Carol Concert at the Hexagon Theatre on 26 November 2005. This is a major community event, with two performances attended by a combined 2,400 persons and this year raised over £12,000 for the benefit of several charities. The Mayor of Reading, Councillor Riaz Chadhri and his wife attended the evening performance.
Musical items from the various Reading Central music sections were woven together with carols for the audience and solos from the special guests, vocalists Louise Turner and Mark Norwood, and jazz pianist George King. Both Turner and Norwood are former Reading Central members and received their early musical training in the corps music program. King is a master at both set pieces and improvisation (including an impromptu jazz version of Frosty the Snowman which delighted the audience), and was named Young Jazz Musician of the Year for 1996 by The Daily Telegraph.
Bandmaster Paul Mortlock has been a Reading Central music leader for 25 of the 27 annual events (21 as Songster Leader and 4 as Bandmaster). He had the band begin the concert with To a God Like This (John Larsson, arr. Ian Robinson). This was followed by a display to Jingle Bells from the Junior Timbrels. The band also featured a swing-style version of Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town, featuring cornet soloist Mark Dallas.
A highlight of the performances was the Singing Company, which formed a living Nativity creche, with the older members of the company dressed in costumes representing various areas of the globe, in keeping with the theme for the concert, “Joy to the World”. Major Samuel Edgar offered a Christmas message and prayer during the performance.
The outstanding attendance and local sponsorship resulting in more than £12,000 being raised, which was divided between the Save the Children Fund (£3,000), Leukaemia Research (£3,000), the Mayor of Reading’s Charitable Fund (£1,000), and the remainder to the Reading Central Salvation Army.
Reading Central Corps web site