The Senior Band of the Gloucester Salvation Army (Bandmaster Clifford Matthews) shared the Christmas message during a Christmas concert at Painswick Centre on 1 December 2007.
A full hall of listeners, seated around tables and enjoying mince pies and various beverages was present as the band entertained with a variety of Christmas pieces. The audience also had the opportunity to enjoy Painswick native and Gloucester bandsman Tom Elliot, who performed a magic and singing act. Bandmaster Matthews also gave a Christmas message. In addition, the audience also contributed by joining with much gusto the carols chosen for all to sing.
The band opened the concert with the march Christmas Praise and then the audience joined in singing O Come, All Ye Faithful. Bandmaster Matthews then introduced the band and shared a welcome and an invocation, followed by the band’s presentation of Fanfare Jubiloso. Following another carol for all, Once In Royal David’s City, Tom Elliot performed the his first act for the evening.
Following a readng from the Gospel of Matthew recounting the birth of Jesus, the band presented three items in varied styles. First was the “Winter” movement of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, performed as a euphonium solo by Julian Brand. Next was an arrangement of John Rutter’s reflective Candlelight Carol, featuring Andrew Doust on cornet. The first half ended on a joyful note with the march On Christmas Day.
During the 15-minute interval the band were able to enjoy mince pies and hot drinks before beginning the second half of the evening, which was to have a more reflective and poignant Christmas message.
The band started with Starry Night. This was followed by arrangements of two melodies associated with the words “Away in a Manger” – the first one featuring the traditional British tune, and the second the tune most frequently used in America. Tom Elliot returned for another set, this time performing the “knife through the jacket trick” and singing a humourous Christmas song.
The band continued with the festival piece The Meeting of the Carol Singers, which was followed by the Christmas message given by Bandmaster Matthews. He emphasized that the world may leave Christ out of Christmas but we know as Christians the true meaning and message of Christmas, that Jesus was born, and that we need to share this fact with the world.
Following the message, the audience was given the opportunity to choose their favourite carols. The band concluded the concert with the classic march Christmas Joy (Erik Leidzén).
Gloucester Salvation Army web site