The Japan Staff Band of the Salvation Army arrived in Hythe to be greeted by the bells of St. Leonard’s Church. The Staff Band’s visit got underway on Saturday, 28 May 2011, with a march of witness through the High Street to the town hall. At the hall, they received a Civic Welcome by the Right Worshipful Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Town Clerk all resplendent in their ceremonial robes. The Staff Band also gave a short concert surrounded by a very large crowd.
At 6:30 pm, an hour before the evening concert was to start, the doors of the SAGA Pavilion opened and people poured in, sending the venue staff scurrying around to provide extra seating. The introductions were delivered by Gordon Haining, Toastmaster, who then introduced the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, Admiral, The Lord Boyce. As the representative of the Queen, the Lord Boyce was most gracious in welcoming the Japan Staff Band to Hythe, this being the first time that the band has visited the United Kingdom. The Staff Band presented a varied and excellent program with colorful contrast being provided by the Shepway Community Gospel Choir.
On Sunday morning, the Hythe Corps of the Salvation Army was packed to standing room only for a wonderful time of worship. In the afternoon, the Staff Band played to another large crowd at the Oakland’s bandstand. Finally, on Sunday evening the members of the Hythe Corps ministered to their visitors with the home band and songsters providing the music.
Hythe Corps will never be the same again – what a fantastic weekend of good music, good fellowship and good witness all delivered with enthusiasm and professionalism. God bless the members of the Japan Staff Band.
Report submitted by Bandmaster Richard Carroll