This week’s Desert Island Disc choices were made by Andrew Pennington.
Approaching my 26th year as Corps Secretary I thought I would look at songs which both at Chatham Citadel and elsewhere, in the past, have brought moments of inspiration and today bring comfort. It’s so easy to take for granted the commitment of those who lead musical sections with the responsibility it demands and so I would ask that as I am reminded in listening to these pieces of the musical leadership under which I have served your minds might focus on those, across the Army world, charged to maintain the continuity of their musical sections until these times pass.
In the early 1980’s I was to be found at Attercliffe Temple No 37 Corps. Each year there was a competition between the bandmaster and songster leader (the then Ctpn John Carmichael) as to who could start practicing for Easter the first and thereby claim Major Les Condon’s, “The Easter Message”, for the exclusive use of their section. It still reminds me today that whatever circumstances one faces, “That He lives in our heart, where all is peace and perfect love”.
A decade later I was to be found at Hollinwood No 1376 Corps, a corps where two decades earlier my wife, Teresa, had started her service in the Singing Company. I take from my time there two pieces of music I saw for the first time. For our corps centenary in 1991 RSA composed and introduced us to his march, Hollinwood, whilst the songsters were getting to grips with a manuscript copy of Psalm 91; still bringing solace three decades later, not just “virtually” as presented here, but absolutely.
And so, shunted off once more by railway service, came transfer to Chatham Citadel No 16 Corps. The songsters and through them the corps were blessed by the period when Lisa Davis served us so capably as Deputy Songster Leader, but I am reminded through this piece, where we have benefitted from her skills as a soloist, and that, “There’s a wonder working power in the blood of Calvary”.
I carry with me from Hollinwood the oft repeated phrase of the first songster leader I served under whilst soldiering there. As Tom Littler would quote at every possible opportunity, “The best is yet to come”! Through these difficult times may we, and those entrusted with sectional leadership, be strengthened by that promise.