For the fifteenth successive year, the Gloucester Band (Bandmaster Clifford Matthews) played a leading role in the Meningitis Trust’s annual Christmas Concert at Gloucester Cathedral. Despite bitterly cold weather and the very real threat of snow, the cathedral was almost full to capacity. The temperature inside was not much warmer than outside, but that did not appear to diminish the enthusiasm of either the performers or the audience.
Rousing contributions from the cathedral organist both before and after the concert raised spirits, as did the ample opportunities throughout the evening for the audience to join in singing popular carols.
The band was joined by soloist Philip Storer on cornet, trumpet and flügelhorn. His contributions, which included The Huron Carol, The Christmas Song, the second movement from Telemann’s Trumpet Concerto in D and So Glad, were beautifully played and warmly received.
In addition to providing accompaniment for the soloist and singing, the band offered The Shining Star (Peter Graham) and an arrangement of Handel’s For Unto Us a Child Is Born.
The band was flanked by the Bath Community Gospel Choir and the all-ladies choir Fascinating Rhythm. Members of both choirs wisely kept on their coats until it was time for them to perform! Fascinating Rhythm sang Ding Dong Merrily on High, Jingle Bells, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree and Santa Baby. The Bath Community Gospel Choir’s contributions included Praise in the Temple, Silent Night, Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child and Joy to the World. The arrangements of some of the numbers were interesting, to say the least. Both groups used some basic choreography to add interest to their performances, and this probably kept them a little warmer as the temperature in the building plummeted!
The other soloist for the evening was 16-year old Hannah Dye, whose clear voice rang out as she sang O Holy Night and Hallelujah. The appeal on behalf of the Meningitis Trust was made by Paul Stephenson, whose daughter survived a serious attack of the disease, giving a highly personal touch to his remarks.
Gloucester Corps web site