Posts Tagged ‘songsters’

I was recently given a CD which had been created from a old tape recording of Rutherglen Citadel Songsters when they visited Southend Citadel on Sunday 2 June 1991, having been part of the massed songsters at the Royal Albert Hall the previous evening.

The first thing to say is it maybe wasn’t the best quality recording having been transferred from an old tape to a CD, however it was great to sit back, close my eyes and think back to the memories I have of that wonderful weekend, as well as remember those family and friends who were with us that weekend, who sadly are no longer with us.

I was songster pianist at that time, so it was quite interesting to hear the songsters, and me accompanying them, as I’m not sure I’ve heard myself accompanying the songsters before. As I listened to the recording I was reminded when the songsters started to sing one particular song, that as well as songster pianist I was also deputy songster leader at that time too. Here’s the Ladies voices singing Wonderful under my leadership:

As well as bringing back lovely memories of a great weekend, I was also reminded that there were a number of family and friends who were with us that weekend, who sadly are no longer with us. I was also reminded just how busy a life I had in the Army then too with three meetings on a Sunday plus open airs and helping in the Sunday School, as well as all the mid-week practices and many events that the various sections took part in locally as well as further afield. Being songster pianist and deputy songster leader, I also had additional practice and preparation to do for practices/meetings. So much so I now wonder where I got all the time to do all this, as I was working full-time!

Life most definitely was much busier for me in terms of my time/involvement at the Army in those days, but that doesn’t mean that these days my love of God is any less these days just because I’m maybe less involved and spend less time at the Army these days.

A lot has happened in my life in the 27 years since Rutherglen songsters visited Southend Citadel, and I’m the sure will be the case for you too. But is your love of God stronger today than it was 27 years ago, or have you turned away from God in that time?

Maybe today is the day to remember all God has done, and continues to do for you, and rekindle that love of God by reminding His power –  I Seek The Power which we sang during our visit to Southend Citadel in 1991, is one of my favourite song, and it’s message then is just as relevant today as it was then:

Last Sunday in our morning worship our songsters (choir) sang a Christmas song which I hadn’t heard before. Both the music and the words really touched me as together they combined the beauty of the nativity, the promised arrival of the Son of God, and the awesome feeling we get when we experience Christ in our lives.

Please listen to this beautiful song and experience the awesomeness of Christmas once again. I hope you are blessed by the words and music.

Christmas Sanctus

See the weary pair,
nestled in a stable bare,
gazing at their baby boy,
filled with love and praise.

Earth and heaven sing,
worshipping the new born King,
who has come to change the world.
Join in songs of praise:

Holy, holy, holy is the blessed one.
Heav’n and earth are filled with your glory.
Holy, holy, holy is the promised Son.
Glory be to God in the highest!

See the shepherds run,
searching for God’s precious Son;
kneeling at his manger bed,
filled with love and praise.

Ev’ry knee will bow.
Ev’ry tongue confessing now,
Jesus Christ is Lord of all.
Join in songs of praise:

Holy, holy, holy is the blessed one,
Heav’n and earth are filled with your glory.
Holy, holy, holy is the promised Son.
Glory be to God in the highest!

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord

Monday this week was my first day at work this year! So after a couple of weeks off, it’s been a bit of a shock to the system having to get up and into work early again – I’m not a morning person, never have been never will be, so getting up early is not my thing at all.

It’s been a bit strange now it’s half way through January, just saying happy new year to work colleagues this week, as the new year seems ages ago now.

At the start of a new year many make new year resolutions. How many of you made any resolutions? Are you still keeping all of them or have some already failed?

I do not usually make any new year resolutions as I found in the past that I set myself unrealistic goals or targets which I never achieve. This year was no different, but while I was off I found the words of the song In This Quiet Moment, which the our songsters used as the call to worship on Sunday, going through my mind much of time. The more this song went round in my head the more I realised I have been guilty of just fitting God in around my other activities:

In this quiet moment, still, before your throne,

Conscious of your presence, knowing I am known,

In this quiet moment, set my spirit free,

In this quiet moment, make a better me.

Maybe that’s the problem, I haven’t had “quiet moments” in God’s presence. We’re all so busy these days, rushing about from one thing to another, that our time with God can almost get lost in amongst our other activities.

Do we do that with our other relationships and other activities? Do we put aside specific time to spend with our family and friends, to practice any musical instruments we play, to work on our hobbies?

Just as we must take time to work on our relationships with one another if we want them to grow and last, we must work on our relationship with God.

In this quiet moment…

Just as it tells us in Philippians 4:6-7 (The message) our relationship with God will grow when we spend quiet time with Him no matter how we may be feeling by reading the bible and praying:

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life.

In this quiet moment…

So far this year, I have managed to stopped just “fitting God in” around other things, and have been able to set aside time each day for devotions.

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. (Thessalonians 5:16-18 – The message)

How about you, are you just “fitting God in” to your busy schedule or are you fitting everything else around your time with God?

Psalm 70:5 (NIV)

But as for me, I am poor and needy; come quickly to me O God. You are my help and my deliverer; Lord, do not delay.

Yes, we always know when we are in need don’t we, but do we always turn to the one person who can always help us? I’m quite an independent person and don’t like to rely on anyone for anything, therefore if I’m honest with myself, with you and with God, I must admit that when I am in need, I often struggle on on my own, thinking things will get better.

Unsurprisingly things don’t normally get any better all by themselves! It’s only when I take my problems/burdens to God and leave them with Him, that I feel my needs are being answered.

The moral of this is, whenever we’re in need, turn to God right away and tell Him your problems and your needs, because He alone can answer your prayers!

Here’s the Pasadena Tabernacle Songsters of the Salvation Army singing Come To Me – It fits perfectly with my thoughts for today, and is a song which has meant a lot to me during some difficult time:

I’m sure you will have heard this phrase many times:

Home is where the heart is

But what does that actually mean? Well here’s a great definition I came across a few days ago:

When I walk into my home I feel peace. I feel I am in the most safe environment that I could be in. There are no worries or problems within the walls of my home. It is the one place that I can truly be me. My family is here and love and comfort surrounds me. I am in my world where everything around is me. To know that this is the place where my family and myself have established together and that we all have our special space within our home and spaces where we can come together is why our home is where our hearts are.

How does that definition sound to you?

For me I still think of myself as having three homes…no we’re not really really rich and got two secret hideaways!

My current home is definitely here with my hubby of seventeen years. Just as the above definition says, my home is where my family (hubby) is and love and comfort surrounds me. What more could I ask for?!

So I have my current home with hubby, but a very close run second home to me is still my Mum and Dad’s house where I lived from aged 10 until I got married. Mum and Dad still live in that house and so again, just like the above definition says, it’s a place where my family are and we love and comfort one another. Once again, what more could I ask for?!

Finally, my third “home”…This one’s a bit different because it’s not a place I’ve every lived and is unlikely to ever be one where I would live, however it is still “home” to me. Confused? Let me explain…

I’m sure you’ve probably heard the expression “spiritual home”, well that’s what my third home is, it’s my spiritual home!

So where is my spiritual home? It’s not as you might think, my current church and place of worship. No, it’s Rutherglen Salvation Army, the corps I grew up in, and worshipped there until 2002 when I transferred to Bellshill Salvation Army. Does that surprise you? In some ways it still surprises me, however when I think about how much I learned as a Christian and all I participated in at Rutherglen, it shouldn’t really surprise me…I became a junior soldier, later a senior soldier of the Salvation Army there; I was a member of both the junior and senior bands and choirs; I was a member of the Corps Cadets; I was the YP Record Sargeant for many years; I was singing company and then songster accompanist; I was deputy songster leader and then songster leader; but most importantly I learned and grew as a Christian and Salvationist.

My Mum’s side of the family were some of the founding members of Rutherglen Salvation Army, I have a heritage at Rutherglen, my past, present and future were moulded there…Rutherglen Salvation Army is most definitely my spiritual home.

Take a few minutes out to consider the place or places you consider to be home, and why. These places have moulded you and made you the person you are today.

I thank God for allowing me to lucky enough to have three places I can call home.

Home by Nichole Nordeman

Bright are the stars that shine in somebody else’s sky
Green is the grass that grows some place different
More possibilities, more than You offered me
More than I care to see from a distance

I was certain that the truth would be
In a place that kept eluding me
But every stone turned and unturned again
Would only serve to prove
That I never had to move to find You

And You will always be
The only love I’ll ever know, home
And You have made for me
The only place I’ll ever go, home

God, for the shameless pride
The times when I rolled my eyes
To laugh at simplicity, show me mercy
Knowing what I know now it’s hard to imagine how
I could feel anything but unworthy

And the mystery of Your love for me
Is not as hidden as it seemed to be
Should have known then when You said to me
‘Seek and you will find’
It was right here all the time

And You will always be
The only love I’ll ever know, home
And You have made for me
The only place I’ll ever go, home

I believe in the quest and the journey
I believe that the answers come in time
And where we begin is where we arrive

And You will always be
The only love I’ll ever know, home
And You have made for me
The only place I’ll ever go, home

Faithful God, faithful God,
All-sufficient one,
I worship you.
Shalom my peace,
My strong deliverer
I lift you up,
Faithful God.

This last week I’ve found these words have been very much in the forefront of my mind ever since I hear of the sudden passing of a friend, Hazel Ferguson. At first I didn’t understand why this song kept going round and round in my head, but I soon came to realise that God was reminding me of several things…

Firstly, regardless of the feelings and emotions we may be experiencing, God is there with us because He is faithful, and can supply all we need in every situation.

Secondly, and probably most importantly at this time, that my friend is now with her Saviour, the One she has served for many years through the Salvation Army,

Today I attended Hazel’s funeral, so like many other day’s this week, I found myself thinking about some of the times I’ve spent with Hazel…

I’ve known Hazel for many years, as I gre up attended Rutherglen Salvation Army where Hazel and her family attended. I became much closer to Hazel during her time as Songster Leader at Rutherglen as she had the faith and trust in my to convince me to firstly become accompanist for the songsters, and then a few years later her deputy as leader.

Hazel was one of the members of the Harmony Trio and I was privileged to travelled with them to various churches and other Salvation Army corps, to play clarinet solos and then a few years later as their accompanist. These were also interesting times, not just because of the message the group portrayed to the listeners, but also the car journeys to and from the venue! As was mentioned at Hazel’s funeral she was a scary driver! But for me, my memory of car journeys with Hazel is the fact that we never ever came home from somewhere the same way we had gone…een although we intended to! We got lost countless times, but to be honest all this all just become part of the fun at travelling with Hazel!

In these last few years since we both moved from Rutherglen Salvation Army to other corps, Hazel and I maybe didn’t see each other very often, however it didn’t stop us continuing out friendship by email and text.

Hazel was Mum to someone I grew up with and am friends with, but the age difference between Hazel and I definitely didn’t stop us becoming good friends. Over the years we shared some hilarious moments (many prolonged by Hazel’s infectious giggling), and we also shared in some emotional and tearful moments. However, no matter the situation one thing always shone through and that was Hazel’s deep love of God, and for that reason I can say with confidence that she is now with God.

Rest in peace my friend.

’Mid all the traffic of the ways,
Turmoils without, within,
Make in my heart a quiet place,
And come and dwell therein.

A little shrine of quietness,
All sacred to Thyself,
Where Thou shalt all my soul possess,
And I may find myself.

A little shelter from life’s stress,
Where I may lay me prone,
And bare my soul in loneliness,
And know as I am known.

A little place of mystic grace,
Of self and sin swept bare,
Where I may look upon Thy face,
And talk with Thee in prayer.

…sadly, this is often how it can feel when you have no children and all those you spend time with, have kids.

Before I go any further with this blog post I just want to clarify a couple of things following my blog post Childless = Alone from Friday night:

  • I really do love children, I’m just sorry we’ve not gt any of our own.
  • I do not dislike others talking about their kids, however if all you want to talk about in my presence is your kids and how much you want another child, and that you can’t wait to have another child, please don’t be surprised if I’m just a tad upset!

I don’t know about you but have you noticed how many leisure activities/events are geared towards families? I have!

I’ve found that no matter where we go or what we’re involved in, many of the events or activities that are organised, are focused on families and/or the children in particular. Again I must stress that children are important and we must ensure we do all we can to make them feel wanted and part of the group, however what are those of us without kids supposed to do, or feel?

If we turn up to family events, there’s little for us, as much is aimed around the children or the parents and their children. If we don’t turn up at all, no-one notices…and then we feel excluded.

Can I tell you the one place when I find I feel excluded most, because we have no children? Sadly I have to tell you that it’s at my church. What makes it even more difficult for me at my church is that I’m the only person in my family who attends that particular church, and therefore whenever there are family events on I really am excluded as I have no family there.

The worst occasions for me are always the meetings when we are told it’s a family service so instead of sitting in our usual place in the band/songsters/congregation, we’re asked to sit with our family – These are the times when I seriously wonder if anyone considers how those of us with no family there, feel. I can honestly say I always avoid attending these meetings, and as far as I’m aware no-one has ever noticed – at least I’ve never been asked why I wasn’t there.

I know no-one will even intentionally have meant to make anyone feel excluded or uncomfortable, because I can assure you it is hard on those of us with no children, and doubly hard on those of us who have no other family at the event.

Please remember we are all God‘s children, and as such we must love everyone equally. Don’t discriminate, either on purpose or by accident, against those of us who have no children or have no other family members around them, as we can feel alone and excluded during family events.

I hope you enjoy this video of Child of God by Kathryn Scott:

Do take your church/spiritual leaders for granted?

Do you ever tell your leaders that they do a great job?

Yes, it’s their job to lead your church ministry, however they are human, just like you and me, and because they are human, they are just like us…imperfect! Just because they’re our church leaders doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes!

Yes, our church leaders are imperfect just like us, but they have committed their life to serving God, and through the guidance and strength God gives them, they do the best job they can for God , and for us. Therefore we must offer our church leaders support in every way we can – even if we can’t offer them any practical help, we can still pray for them.

What about those that look after the young people in your church, the community activities/programme, music groups/sections, do you tell them what a great job they are doing? Do you pray for them?

They, just like our church leaders, need our support, as they too do difficult jobs and often receive little thanks or praise.

So take a few moments today, tomorrow, the next day and the next again, and pray for your church leaders, and remember to give them a few words of encouragement when you speak to them too!

So the festive season is over – So was it worthwhile rushing about buying all your cards and presents? Did you do what many of us do over Christmas and eat too much? Did you actually find you still bought too much food and had to throw some of it out?

Wow, so much rushing about and so many things to do in December, so how you feeling now…tired? Exhausted? Glad to be back at work for a rest? 

Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

No matter how physically tired you may be after all the busyness of the festive period, I pray you are not spiritually tired.

If you are spiritually tired either now or at any other time of the year, simply do as Jesus said, come to Him and He will give you rest. This is expressed in the great song Come To Me sung here by the Pasadena Tabernacle Songsters of the Salvation Army:

I think my love of music started at a very early age as both my Mum and Dad were always very musically minded.

My Dad is a big fan of jazz/big band music and as a keen musician has played in many bands over the years. He also spends a lot of time arranging/composing music for some of the bands/soloists he knows.

On the other hand, my Mum’s side of the family grew up attending the Salvation Army and as such were heavily involved in both the singing groups and the bands – My grandfather having been the leader of the first singing group (Songsters) at Rutherglen corps!

I remember when I was very young, climbing up on the piano stool beside my Dad while he “tried out” some of his arrangements/compositions – Apparently I was a “great help”!

As soon as I turned seven I started piano lessons and continued this for a number of years, going through the exams up to Grade 8. It wasn’t always easy but thankfully I stuck at it.

Although having been taken along to the Salvation Army at Rutherglen from a very early age, and giving my heart to Jesus at age seven, I never joined the junior band (Young People’s Band) until I was about 11 or 12 as my piano lessons were the same night as the learners class! Even when I did initially join it was to play percussion!!!

After a short while I was given a trombone, a short lesson on how to hold it, blow into it and the various slide positions for the notes and the rest is history as they say! That was my one and only trombone lesson (and yes I know that explains a lot!) – My Dad and one of my cousins both being trombone players, then became the source of the rest of my trombone training.

Between learning the piano and trombone, I also learned to play clarinet, although I did continue to play my clarinet for a number of years, I’m afraid it’s now been a while since I last played it.

After all this while I was still at Rutherglen Salvation Army, age 18, I became a uniform wearing Salvationist – during this time still in the Singing Company (junior choir) and  YP Band (junior band), but also joined the Songsters (senior choir) and Senior Band. Not long after becoming a Salvationist I became pianist for the Singing Company (junior choir), and then also for the Songsters (senior choir). A little later I took on the roll of Deputy Songster Leader and a little later again followed in my grandfather’s footsteps by taking on the roll of Songster Leader for about two and a half years. After a short break from the Songsters I took on roll of Songster pianist for the second time. I also following in my Dad’s footsteps, by composing several songs for the songsters and arranging music for several soloist.

In 2002 I transferred to Bellshill Salvation Army where I’m a member of the Senior Band.

So there you go, that’s my musical background! Having had a grounding in music from an early age, I’ve also found music to be a very important part of my life and especially my Christian life. I’ve found over the years in so many situations that a piece of music or a song can say more to me than anything another person can say. Music seems to be able to touch my heart and emotions to a greater extent than anything else, so I do treasure the times when I get to just sit and listen to music.

So what’s my favourite music?

That’s very hard to say, because I often find it depends greatly on how I feel at the time I’m asked! I love a very wide variety of music and style, however it may not surprise you when I list several Christian or Salvation Army songs/pieces of music as my favourites:

Lord I Come To You (The Power of Your Love)
The Light of the World
Just As I Am


I’ve used it before but here’s an video of Lord I come To You which I find inspiring and emotional from the start of the video: