By Julia Gervais, Music Department
Many braved the harsh weather conditions and ignored the RMT strike on 17th December 2022… where there is a will, there is a way.
This year’s Winter Festival of Sound under the theme, Good News, put Christ back into Christmas. Many who look forward to and celebrate this time of the year focus on gifts, spending time with family while others emphasize the fact that the special baby was born although not on 25th December.
Many people don’t know the back story; why did He come to earth? How did it all begin? Was He destined to die? How did He occupy himself? How was He received? What was the point of His birth? Was it just so that He could die? What now? Is there more to this life? Is this it – born, live, die? And then what?
At Croydon, all these questions and more were answered as we shared the Good News of the gospel from creation, redemption to hope in the second coming. The Music Department hosted this spectacular event which boasted total member involvement. Every age demographic was represented. Our youngest performer was under 5 years and our eldest over 60 years.
The Croydon SDA Gospel Choir, led by Doriel Benjamin and Ken Burton, took centre stage and was ably supported by our outstanding home-grown youth vocal group, comprising six talented young ladies. They presented an original arrangement of Mary Did You Know courtesy of Danielle Billett (I am waiting for that CD).
Our teen ensemble made their debut with the traditional arrangement of O Come All Ye Faithful featuring a resident saxophonist, trumpeter, bass guitarist, pianist and a xylophone player. Not to be outdone, our children’s choir gave two beautiful renditions including a very moving song entitled, The Miracle. The soothing sounds of the flutes took us back to the stable with a rendition of the lullaby-Away in a manger. Minutes later, our very own songbird, Gail Henry, took us through the Old City of Jerusalem all the way to Calvary, along the Via Dolorosa.
Possibly every genre of music made an appearance. Don’t be fooled, this was no ordinary concert, but truly a worship experience and our wonderful audience certainly played their part during the congregational hymns.
Woven between the musical renditions was the story itself being told in a fresh, new and exciting way. Narration, monologues, dialogues, trialogues (is that even a word?), yes, His story was told that night. The most poignant statement of the Hope in Jesus was seeing Kai Barton on the stage – once again-a daughter of Croydon who has definitely tasted and seen that God is good. If you ever need an old story repackaged and told in a fresh new way, look no further…remember the name Shaniqua Benjamin.
Two hours in and no sign of boredom, instead a rather disappointed sigh when the end was nigh. Our charming Jasmin Saul pulled the curtains down as gracefully as she raised them at the beginning. She handed the microphone to Pastor Smith expecting the closing prayer… instead he shared his final few words, which incidentally were 3 pages long! He echoed the message of the evening – the Good News of the gospel which gives hope for these trying times. Then he closed with prayer.
To round off a well spent evening, we all retired to the youth hall where we were greeted with warm vegan mince pies and the aroma of non-alcoholic mulled wine freshly ‘brewed’ in our very own kitchen by Gwyneth Johnson.
In keeping with all our Festivals of Sound, we raise funds for a special cause and this year’s recipient was our own Selhurst Food Bank & Community Kitchen which continues to make a big impact on our local community. With thanks to everyone for their generous contributions, we managed to raise £700. If you will like to show ongoing support, the Food Bank welcomes donations all throughout the year.
For those of you who missed the Winter Festival of Sound, you can still watch it on our YouTube channel.
We pray God’s continued blessings on you in 2023.