Christmas Proms on the West Coast
Westland Anniversary weekend saw the arrival of about a dozen band personnel plus supporters from Christchurch, to help celebrate Christmas with The Salvation Army on the West Coast. A concert was held at Greymouth High School which included a variety of carols, Christmas band arrangements and marches. Handouts of chocolates and candy canes helped to add to the Christmas spirit of giving. Musical items from high school students in both the first and second half of the programme brought a home-grown flavour, including an impromptu performance from the school music group’s drummer, joining the band for one item.
Saturday morning saw the band divide into two groups to play at different Greymouth rest homes, both of which were very well received by staff, residents and visitors at the time. They then all moved on to Reefton for an afternoon concert at the Oddfellows Hall which, in its earlier history, was used by The Salvation Army when there was a corps there. Again, it was a concert with two parts, both well received, and with gifts for the audience interspersed throughout. A highlight of the show was a young attender helping conduct a band item and being encouraged by the bandmaster to go as fast or as slow as she wanted! She received a warm round of applause for her efforts. It was also a privilege for members of the ISB (Inangahua Silver Band) to join in, playing with the band for several items.
John Gardner, regional relationships coordinator for Southern Division, organised the weekend; Lieutenant Grant Pitcher was bandmaster and Lieutenant-Colonel Gordon Daly acted as emcee, with band personnel from around Christchurch. ROSCO Contracting company in Reefton sponsored the weekend which helped support the venture. Overall it was well received, with several comments made about looking forward to doing it again next year.