They sang ‘O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing’. And it probably could have happened had the Temple been big enough.
But nobody was complaining that around 400 tongues came to sing God’s praise with BBC TV presenter Pam Rhodes, packing the hall to its gills. The sell-out Songs of Praise concert left some people disappointed as they could not get tickets.
The concert was to raise funds towards the building of a new church for St. Michael’s and All Angels in Daws Heath. Trombone player John Ashcroft tells how his golden retriever, Saffron, played a part in making the concert happen:
‘A neighbour of mine is Ken Jones who is a member of the church. We were dog walking and he told me about the project and I decided we should do something at The Salvation Army as a contribution to the appeal.”
The rousing accompaniment to the singing came from Hadleigh Temple Band with the Songsters and Timbrels adding to the occasion. The Singing Company took centre stage flanked by the choirs of Kingston Primary School and Thundersley Primary School.
Pam Rhodes guided the concert through, giving information behind some of the songs and their writers. She also told some of her funny stories before interviewing members of St. Michael’s Church. They spoke about the way the community had rallied round the project to replace their worn-out church, how the congregation is growing and the excitement they feel in building a church for future generations.
The target funding for the new church is £565,000. Ken Jones explained that they were getting close, having raised £555,000 so far. Ticket prices for the event were low and a collection was made after an appeal by the Ven. David Lowman, Archdeacon of Southend. That raised just under £1200. Even after expenses, the final figure is likely to be somewhat larger.
Andrew Merchant from BBC Essex’s ‘Faith and Fun’ Sunday Breakfast programme was there to report on the concert.
You can hear his report, which was broadcast the following morning, here: BBC Essex Report (by courtesy of the BBC).
After the concert, Pam’s husband Richard opened the bookstall and Pam signed copies of her work.