8 June 2023

Easter Music Course: Music, fellowship and spiritual blessings

Image is a group photo of the Easter Music Course delegates.

Delegates report on the 2023 Easter Music Course.

I joined 51 Salvationist musicians representing 41 corps at the Easter Music Course (EMC), writes Major Jane Kimberley. As a first-timer, any initial apprehension was soon lost in the warmth of welcome by both staff members and delegates.

Following the evening meal, it was time for rehearsals. I opted for the women’s voices and enjoyed being part of a large choral group. Our repertoire included the familiar ‘All That I Am’ and the more challenging ‘Nothin’ Gonna Stumble My Feet’. Assistant Director of Music and Creative Arts (Creative Arts) Steph Lamplough (THQ), accompanied by pianist Sue Avison (Bristol Citadel), led us with expertise, enthusiasm and fun. We sang ‘Compelled by Love’ and, in a spontaneous testimony, Grey Pacheco (Regent Hall) spoke of how she had been powerfully challenged by the song.

In addition to the band and choral groups, a mixed voices group gave everyone an opportunity to sing. Sue Avison led the reflective ‘Do Not Be Afraid’ and ‘He Is the Lord’.

Captains Ian Standley and Callum McKenna (both WBC) and Captain Nicola Brooksbank (Southend Citadel with Southchurch) led daily, inspiring Bible studies around the theme Time, which made the Scripture come alive.

Guests included Kettering Citadel Band and Songster Leader Lee Fisher (Droitwich Spa), who led the mixed voices in his composition ‘Amazing God’ and explained his thoughts behind the music and lyrics. Territorial Envoy Lee Highton-Nicholls (Willenhall) led a line dancing evening.

A talent night included monologues, a penny whistle solo and a sneak preview of the Army’s newest musical Belongings.

Each afternoon, time was given for recreation, during which some people joined the timbrelists or the Drawing Closer group. Other optional activities included Dance-Fit with Steph in the morning.

At the conclusion of the five days, Captain Ian led worship, giving opportunity for testimony and prayer. It was a week filled with music, fellowship and spiritual blessings.

Excitement was very much evident as delegates arrived at EMC, reports Adrian Sutton (Newcastle City Temple). Old friendships were renewed and new delegates were met.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the week was the fellowship. Conversations, both jovial and serious, enabled everyone to encourage each other.

Band and vocal rehearsals took up the majority of the time. The band’s leadership by Assistant Director of Music and Creative Arts (Brass and Choral) Paul Sharman (THQ) was an inspiration to all who attended. It was quite intense at times, but there was always fun and laughter as well. We have seen new people in the band, and they have been welcomed and made to feel part of the group. Pieces varied from the simple hymn tune arrangement of ‘Be Still and Know’ and the more progressive ‘Prelude on Anastasis’ and ‘Promises’ to traditional pieces, such as ‘Arise My Soul, Arise’. As the timbrellists participated in the review performance on the last morning, the march ‘It’s New’ was rehearsed.

On the first night we had a quiz night. The talent night was thoroughly enjoyed. The Bible studies were inspiring. The theme for the week was Time and we were certainly encouraged and challenged by what was presented.

An evening concert by Kettering Citadel Band was not just an enjoyable and varied programme, but also provided us with a spiritual basis for the whole evening.

Thursday evening at EMC is always relaxed. This year we went line dancing and folk dressed similar to the way cowboys would dress, especially Paul and Ian, who appeared wearing blow-up horses.

Each year there is a review time where we perform the pieces we have been rehearsing. There was variety with both sections performing and we finished with the songs we learnt as mixed voices.

A good time was had by all, and we all look forward with anticipation to next year’s EMC.

Discover more

Events across the UK and Ireland Territory.

Inspiring others to realise the potential that music and creative arts can have in expressing who we are and who God is.

Resources to support your local music and creative arts ministry.

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