A BEAUTIFUL Victorian drawing room setting provided the scene in Arbroath Town Mission on Friday night for the 11th concert given by members of the Angus Minstrels past and present and a few friends, who have been coming together at Christmas time to raise funds for Alzheimer Scotland Angus Services.
‘A Carol for Christmas’ has become one of the town’s popular seasonal events and the capacity audience settled down amidst the beautiful setting for an evening of delightful song and verse. This year the concert raised just over £1,900 which will be used to benefit people with dementia and their carers within Angus.
Taking part were Eileen Craig, Pat Ellen, Maggie Findlay, Shona Kemp, Marian Pyper, Jill Kerr, Louise Murray, Douglas Cant, John Henderson, Jonathan Milne, Gary Mitchell, John Kerr, Jamie Watson and Jim Ramsay who were impeccably accompanied by Sheena Guthrie. Joan Macgregor provided humorous interludes with verse.
The company commenced their programme with the carol ‘Deck the halls’ in which their voices soared through the centre. The company part singing was of a very high calibre and their choice of ‘In the bleak midwinter’; ‘In the giving we receive’; ‘Christ Child lying in the manger’; ‘The Cowboy Carol’; ‘Joy to the world’; ‘My little Son’; ‘Jingle Bells’; and Happy Holidays’ which featured the famous ‘White Christmas’ were much enjoyed by the audience.
Each soloist sang exceptionally well adding their own bit of magic to the evening. Louise chose ‘If every day was like Christmas’; Maggie ‘The Lord bless you and keep you’ and ‘O Holy Night’; Pat sang ‘The Carol of the Field Mice and a selection from the musical ‘Scrooge’; Eileen’s choice was ‘One candle lights the way’ and Shona’s ‘Once upon a winter time.’
The gentlemen, too, had solo spots. Douglas sang ‘I wonder as I wander’ and ‘The First Mercy’ which tells the story of all the tiny animals in the manger; Michael Head’s appealing ‘The Little Road to Bethlehem’ and ‘The birth night’ were Jonathon’s choice; John Kerr chose ‘Twelfth Night’; Garry sang ‘Carol on Greensleeves’; Jamie chose ‘When a child is born’; and Jim along with Eileen sang ‘Baby it’s cold outside’.
The ladies got together singing ‘Nativity Carol’ and ‘Christmas Tree’ while the boys sang an arrangement of the carol ‘Silent Night’ by Henry Geehland and ‘The Coventry Carol’.
Joan read several seasonal poems and there was lots of laughter at some of the verse.
The audience too, had their chance to sing the carols ‘O little town of Bethlehem’, ‘Hark the Herald Angels sing’, ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ and just after the company sang their final item ‘Happy Holidays’, ‘O, come all ye faithful’.
Pat Brodlie, dementia resource worker Alzheimer Scotland Angus Services introduced the programme and gave a vote of thanks. Special thanks were accorded to Joan Mitchell who brought the group together; Gary Mitchell and his team for setting up the ‘drawing room’; Sheena Guthrie for preparing the programme; Bob Clapham, Wilma Swankie and the trustees of Arbroath Town Mission for allowing the use of their premises and for the teas and coffees served during the interval; and to all others who had been involved in staging such a wonderful night of music, song and verse which brought the Christmas season yet another bit closer.