(This article was contributed by Bandmaster Richard Carroll)
In its centenary year, the ten members of the Hythe Band of the Salvation Army (Bandmaster Richard Carroll), together with the Hythe Songsters (Songster Leader Wesley Carroll, traveled to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, for a weekend of open-air concerts, soldier's rallies, a Concert of Praise, prayer meetings and worship.
The first event of the weekend, an outdoor concert at Raekoja Pratsil, the main square of Tallinn, was scheduled for the morning of Saturday, 21 October, but the rain was streaming down. However, because the fees for the use of the square had already been paid, the band pulled on their storm jackets (available from SP&S) and set off. The square is normally packed with people, but the inclement weather unfortunately reduced the number of passers-by greatly. The event was used by the local Salvation Army as a part of the launch of a Salvation Army-led initiative against human trafficking.
AFter some time spent drying off, the Hythe musical sections participated in a Soldiers' Rally (there are only about 130 Salvation Army soldiers in the whole of Estonia). In addition to the visiting groups, music and drama presentations were provided by members of the Narva, Kopli and Tartu Corps. Band items during the rally included Golden Jubilee and Reflections in Praise, while the Songsters contributed Resound in Praise and It Is Well.
In the evening, the Concert of Praise was a thrilling and joyous occasion. The Hythe Songsters got the evening off to a great start with Holy Ground and also sang Hallowed Be Thy Name, Total Praise and If Your Presence. Band items included Southern New England, Tomado de la Mayo and It's a Great Day. The band also performed a piece, written especially for the tour by Songster Leader Wes Carroll, entitled Just a Piece of Music? Based on Carroll's own melody for the familiar words “Gentle Jesus, meek and mild”, this work takes the musicians and the audience on a spiritual journey through life including doubt and rejection before returning to a glorious acceptance of God's love.
Featured soloists during the concert included Wendy Margott, who played the cornet solo People Need the Lord. Wesley Carroll, in addition to showing his gifts for conducting and composition, also showed skills on euphonium and piano, playing By the Peaceful Shores and Medley respectively. Alyson Found joined her sister, Wendy Margott, for an exciting timbrel display to the march Emblem of the Army. Captain Phil Layton, Hythe corps officer, gave a Bible message which had to be translated into both Estonian and Russian. The band brought the evening to a close with an exciting performance of the Finale from The Carnival of the Animals.
On Sunday, 22 October, following a prayer meeting lead by Robert Washford, there was a time of devotion and praise, under the heading “Think About His Love”, using an arrangement by Wes Carroll of the well-known song of the same name. The band played the prelude Teach Me and joined with the Kopli Corps Band for Jesus Is Lord, a very moving moment as the Kopli Corps Band is very much in its infancy.
On Sunday afternoon, the Hythe Band traveled to a part of Tallinn that the tourist never see. Known as “The Lines”, this area is home to about 6,000 stateless persons, many living with an entire family in one room with no windows, no heating, and no running water or sanitation facilities. The reception the band was given was very moving, with one elderly woman repeating over and over again, “Thank you for coming to play for us”. Following the concert, the local Salvationists distributed soup and clothing.
What a weekend, what blessings the Hythe musicians received and it is our prayer that were a means of blessing to others.
Submitted by Bandmaster Richard Carroll