Christmas eve brings Caroling in Park

Published 3:15 pm Friday, December 26, 2008

The 32 annual Caroling in the Park with the Bainbridge British Brass Band (BBBB) took place on Christmas Eve was well attended.

Carolers filled Willis Park as families and friends drew in close to read song books by candlelight as the sun went to bed over Bainbridge.

The event, sponsored by The Post Searchlight, began with opening remarks by Jeff Findley, publisher of the newspaper, and a singing of the National Anthem.

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Art Bruce, minister of music at First Baptist Church in Bainbridge, directed everyone taking part in the caroling. Before each song, Bruce provided wonderful background information on the origin and history of the tune.

The BBBB accompaniment was led by Bainbridge High School Band Director Paschal Ward.

The all-volunteer groups are made up of musicians in the community that come together each Christmas to perform holiday favorites.

The BBBB has a long-standing tradition in Bainbridge.

In 1976, an all-volunteer brass band was drawn together by Dr. Edward D. Mobley to perform at the Oscar Jackson Semi-Centennial Birthday parade and celebration. Thankfully, someone in the community had the splendid idea for the band perform caroling 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, fond of the British brass band movement, transformed the band into the Bainbridge British Brass Band (BBBB) as it remains today.

Ward took over as director of the BBBB when Mobley retired in 2005.

Many of Ward’s former BHS band students take part in the BBBB. This year, Chuck Harrison came all the way from Las Vegas, Nev., where he is stationed in the Air Force to spend Christmas with his family and join the ranks of the BBBB.

“It was a great weather and a great crowd,” said Ward.