The Bellshill Band of the Salvation Army (Bandmaster Ian Dickie) celebrated the launch of their new Christmas recording, Christmas Praise, with a concert held at the Bellshill Academy (located on Bellshill Main Street near the Salvation Army hall) on 9 December 2006. In addition to the Band, the other corps music sections – Songsters, Singing Company, and Young People's Band – also participated. Special guests for the evening were Bold as Brass, a professional brass quintet.
Arriving listeners were greeted by the Bellshill Young People's Band (leader Yvonne Ferguson) playing Christmas carols. By the 7:30 pm start time of the concert, a crowd of about 450 had gathered, filling the hall. Many in attendance had never attended such an event, but had heard the band playing Christmas carols in the local Main Street earlier in the day.
The band launched the program with The Spirit of Christmas. The audience was then introduced to four members of the Y.P. Band who have been attending the senior band rehearsals and who played with the senior band during the recent recording sessions. The band also featured several items from the CD during the first half of the concert, including their first public performance of Silver Bells. The Singing Company (children's choir), under the leadership of Ruth Pentney, sang two songs, the second of which also featured Chris Shanks on euphonium.
The special guests for the evening, the brass quintet Bold as Brass, also presented two items during the first half. Particularly moving was the old favorite hymn Amazing Grace in a jazz style, which was very well-received by the audience. The audience also participated by singing several carols with the band. When the Band struck up “Jingle Bells”, a special guest, Santa Claus, arrived, with sweets for all of the young people present, and then he left to “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”.
During the interval that followed Santa's departure, Bold as Brass entertained the audience. An opportunity was also given for purchase of the Bellshill Band's new recording, Christmas Praise, with nearly 300 being sold during the 15-minute interval.
The second half of the program began with Love Changes Everything, which will be featured on the next Bellshill recording, which is due for release in April 2007. This disc will feature items from musicals by Andrew Lloyd Webber and those of Gowans & Larsson.
The next segment of the program was subtitled “Carols by Candlelight”. All lights in the hall were extinguished except for some stand lights for the band. The audience sang some carols and the Bellshill Songsters (Songster Leader Trevor Martin) sang two songs. The two vocal soloists from the Christmas Praise disc, Gemma Gunn and Olwyn Mathie, presented their songs, O Holy Night and Heaven's Child, respectively. The section concluded with the Band's rendition of The Snowman accompanied by a multimedia presentation.
After the lights were brought back up, the audience was given another chance to sing some carols, followed by the title item from the disc, Christmas Praise, from the Band.
Special recognition is due to the following individuals for their assistance in making the evening a success: Boyd Tunnock, Michael McMahon MSP, Tom Clark MP, and John Cunningham, headmaster of Bellshill Academy.
Bellshill Band web site