Christmas eve brings caroling in park

Published 3:16 pm Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The 32nd annual Caroling in the Park with the Bainbridge British Brass Band (BBBB) will take place tonight from 6 to 6:30 p.m. in Willis Park.

The Christmas Eve caroling will be directed by Art Bruce, minister of music at First Baptist Church in Bainbridge, and the BBBB accompaniment will be led by Director of Bands Paschal Ward.

The all-volunteer group is made up of members of the community that convene each Christmas to create seasonal sounds.

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The band has a long-standing tradition in Bainbridge.

In 1976, an all-volunteer brass band was drawn together by former Bainbridge College President Dr. Edward D. Mobley to perform at a birthday party and parade for now-retired dentist Oscar Jackson. Thankfully, someone in the community had the splendid idea for the band to perform carols in Willis Park—and the tradition was born. The band was named the Port City Brass Band, performing carols for all to hear each year on Christmas Eve.

In 1986, Mobley, who was fond of the British brass band movement, transformed the band into the Bainbridge British Brass Band as it remains today, which the band has been sponsored by The Post-Searchlight and Post Printing.

Ward took over as director of the BBBB when Mobley retired from the role in 2005 and has since made some changes.

Ward said the band has expanded to include generally more than 30 members each year, recruiting not only members of the community but many of his current and former students. He also added the French horn to the list of instruments that include trombones, E-flat baritones, tubas, flugal horns, trumpets and percussion.

In addition to the traditional British brass band songs, Ward has included some contemporary hits and crowd-pleasers like “I’ll be Home for Christmas” and “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.”

“We hope to appeal to a wider variety of people,” Ward said. He encourages everyone to come out and enjoy the Christmas spirit.

Bring your singing voice to Willis Park tonight from 6 to 6:30 p.m. for the traditional Caroling in the Park.