As with most Salvation Army bands, December was a busy time for the Hythe Band (Bandmaster Richard Carroll). As well as playing in several retirement homes, the band played in the German Market, Canterbury, a terrific venue with hoards of people around and using the seated areas. The band had lots of contact with people from all around the world.
Dover Town Hall is steeped in history and has excellent acoustics. The Hythe Band has led the Carol singing at the Mayor of Dover’s Christmas Ball for about 40 years. Many of the Mayors of the Cinque Ports were present and formed an impromptu timbrel brigade!
The band also played at Lympne Castle, where Sir Paul McCartney and Wings recorded one of their albums. Unfortunately, bad weather meant that the event had to move into the packed-out Grand Hall. Nevertheless, the singing was amazing.
Two local towns or villages organized carol singing on their village greens. In Saltwood, the band was involved with the switching on of the town Christmas Tree Lights (this is another event that the band has been participating in for over 40 years). The band also had a tremendous evening in Appledore, who sent a coach for the band, with a huge crowd waiting.
Bad weather interrupted the band’s playing in Hythe itself, though. One event which did occur was a late night shopping event, where the band was conducted by a policeman, a TV star and Father Christmas. On the morning of Christmas Eve, the weather let up enough to allow the band to minister in the crowded High Street of Hythe.
The Hythe Salvation Army church was packed for the annual Community Carol Service, which featured the Hythe Band, the united Hythe Songsters and Shepway Community Choir, guest soloist Rose Makuze and a message from Captain Phil Layton.
Report submitted by Bandmaster Richard Carroll