Regent Hall Band opened with extracts from 'The Dark Side of the Moon'; making good use of the hall's recently upgraded light and sound facilities, before the eleven members of the Belfast Temple Music School Timbrels ran into the hall to present an uninhibited display to 'Let the Glory Come Down'.
Major Mark Herbert, ably deputising for the Commanding Officer then introduced the concert’s theme of moving from dark to light.
Gift of communication
Sue Blyth’s gift for communicating with an audience was heard in Bill Broughton's up-tempo 'Now I belong to Jesus'. Vocal contributions continued with two songs from Regent Hall Songster Brigade, unusually fielding as many male as female voices.
The lively 'Clap your Hands', with its oriental-tinged piano part, was followed by 'Christ is All', with a well-matched video presentation; the latter received in silence as the lights dimmed.
Sue's daughter, Abigail Johnson, brought a tender touch to 'A Change in Me'; singing of leaving childhood dreams behind and coming to love the world, before mother and daughter joined together to present 'For Good'.
Paul Sharman took the lead in his own Latin American style cornet quartet 'Fuego', with its references to William Booth's song 'Send the Fire' before the contemporary vocal quartet 'Four Hymn' sang 'Glorious Impossible'.
The timbrellists returned with 'Be it unto Me'; their exuberance clear for all to see. The songsters then stood in a single line, up the two aisles and across the platform, for an a capella presentation of 'For God so Loved the World', which was one of the undoubted highlights of the evening. They then spread out across the platform and the body of the hall for 'Creation Sings', with its ringing soprano lines.
The band has often featured choreography in the Expressions events: On this occasion it was 'Light Walk', with the cornets, trombones and flugel appearing in the darkened hall wearing lights attached to their foreheads. To cap it all, Stephen Hanover donned a hi-vis jacket and took up some coloured lamps to act as runway controller.
Sue Blyth sang 'His Eye is on the Sparrow', with a luscious orchestral backing, whilst Abigail's 'On the Rock' was accompanied by piano and a brass trio.
After the timbrel's 'He's all over Me', the dulcet tones of David Daws were heard in a sensitive rendition of 'When He Cometh', with a beautifully controlled last note that seemed to go on forever.
Sue and Abigail then ended their contribution with 'When Life Gets Broken', their voices well matched, whether in unison or harmony.
Peter Graham's 'To Boldly Go' was accompanied by images of the Salvation Army in action, encompassing the Boundless Congress as well as practical expressions of help and Regent Hall's own witness on the streets of London.
It brought some fine playing from the band, with the timbrellists joining in, eight with tambourines and three with streamers in the Salvation Army colours of yellow, red and blue. The evening came to a close with Ivor Bosanko's 'Marching Onward'.