A Victorian drawing room set the scene in Arbroath Town Mission last Friday night for the 14th concert by members of the Angus Minstrels and friends.
They were raising funds for Alzheimer Scotland Angus Services.
The group is now known as Friends of Angus Services and their annual concert, ‘A Carol for Christmas’, has become one of the town’s popular seasonal events.
The capacity audience settled down amidst the beautiful setting for an evening of delightful song and verse.
This year the concert raised over £1,900 which will be used to benefit people with dementia and their carers within Angus.
Just before the start of their programme the company posed for a special photograph with the Certification of Appreciation award they received from Alzheimer Scotland for their fund-raising efforts over the years
The group has now raised well over £30,000 for the charity.
Taking part were Eileen Craig, Pat Ellen, Maggie Findlay, Jill Kerr, Louise Murray, Vicki Whyte, Caroline MacFarlane, Douglas Cant, John Henderson, Jonathan Milne, Gary Mitchell, John Kerr, 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 ‘Ding, dong, merrily on high’ in which their voices soared through the centre. The company part singing was of a very high calibre and their choice of ‘The Carol Singers – soloist Jill’; ‘Calypso Carol’; ‘Jingle Bells’; ‘Polish Carol – soloist Caroline;’ ‘Joy to the world’; ‘Past three o’clock’; ‘My little Son’ and ‘Have yourself a merry little Christmas’ were much enjoyed by the audience.
Each soloist sang exceptionally well adding their own bit of magic to the evening. Louise chose Christmas Lullaby’; Maggie ‘O Holy Night’ and a very jovial ‘Santa Baby’ complete with all the props; Pat sang ‘A Star was His candle’ and, dressed for the part complete with wings, a very lively ‘Nobody loves a Fairy when she’s 40’; Eileen’s choice was ‘Sleep Holy Child’; Vicki sang ‘The colours of Christmas’ and ‘All Bells in Paradise; Jill chose ‘Come to Bethlehem’ and Caroline ‘The Virgin’s Slumber Song’.
The gentlemen, too, had solo spots. Douglas sang ‘Ah Ro, Ro, Ro’’ and the lyrical ‘Gesu Bambino’; Michael Head’s appealing ‘The Little Road to Bethlehem’ and ‘Silent Night’ were Jonathon’s choice. John Kerr chose ‘Calm neath the storm’ and ‘The Holy Child’; Gary chose ‘When a child is born’; John Henderson ‘The Wassail Song’ and Jim ‘Little Donkey’ and ‘We three Kings’.
The ladies got together singing ‘Away in a Manger’ and ‘O little one sweet’ while the boys sang an arrangement of the ‘Coventry Carol’ and ‘One candle lights the way’.
Joan read several seasonal poems and there was lots of laughter at some of the verse especially in the one where Santa got rather drunk on port wine.
The audience too, had their chance to sing the carols ‘O little town of Bethlehem’, ’See in yonder manger low’, Hark the Herald Angels sing’, ‘Still the night’ and just after the company sang their final item ‘Have yourself a merry little Christmas’, ‘O, come all ye faithful’.
Pat Brodlie, Dementia Resource Worker Alzheimer Scotland Angus Services, introduced the programme and accepted a cheque from Maggie Findlay for £2,052 being the proceeds from the sale of her CD ‘Something Wonderful’.
In her vote of thanks Pat made special mention of the award the group had received and how delighted she was.
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; 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 wonderful Christmas season yet another bit closer.