This year’s Carol Service at Regent Hall featured traditional and modern music and readings, sometimes juxtaposed in a single item. All of the Corps senior and junior music sections participated. Following an introductory medley by the Band, Songsters and vocal soloist Katie Jeffery, the congregation enthusiastically joined in singing enthusiastically in singing well-loved carols, interspersed with musical items and Bible readings.
Contributions from the Regent Hall Songsters included Do You Hear What I Hear? and an arrangement of a traditional Maori lullaby. It would have taken a hardhearted audience to not be moved by the under-sixes, who, suitably attired as shepherds, kings and the Holy Family, sang Away in a Manger. Children aged from 4 to 74 were spellbound by Songster Leader Major John Martin as he narrated Clement Moore’s poem ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, accompanied by the band in the first performance of a brass arrangement by Deputy Bandmaster Paul Sharman.
The coolest item of the night was undoubtedly the Singing Company’s performance of The Guys on the Camels. Props included “shades” to demonstrate some of the problems that the Wise Men faced as they followed the brightly shining star. Some excellent, if not previously rehearsed, break dancing from one of the younger members of the group nearly brought down the house.
There is nothing more seasonal than seeing timbrels decorated with tinsel. The junior and senior timbrelists joined together to present a routine to Three Kings Swing, with a cornet obbligato by Deputy Bandmaster Sharman. The Worship Group offered a merging of old and new tunes into an upbeat version of Angels We Have Heard on High.
Regent Hall commanding officer Major Ray Brown reminded everyone of the true meaning of Christmas, beyond the presents and baubles. Major Brown spent many years abroad in warm climates, and he recalled feeling somewhat of a fraud singing about the bleak midwinter in a temperature of 30°C. On one occasion, he was invited to pray for a very sick lady, and the words of the carols came to him in a real way. He thanked God for the opportunity to share the essential meaning of Christmas:
What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were I shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man, I would do my part;
Yet what can I give him – give my heart.
This year’s Christmas Appeal was for the Resistencia Corps and Antequera Outpost in Argentina. A very poor, undeveloped area, Resistencia is known as the “Green Hell” because of its extreme weather, which features frequent droughts and torrential rain. A former soldier of Regent Hall, Colonel Susan MacMillan, Territorial Commander of the South America East Territory, has reported that both the Corps and the Outpost are now thriving after years of struggle, but funds are needed to cover the cost of building works such as painting, removal of an exterior wall and security works. Over £500 was raised from this afternoon carol concert.
Regent Hall Band web site