THE words and music of Major Yvonne Field were celebrated in a festival given here at Sale on Saturday 23rd November by the Songsters and Band. and special guests Sue and Andrew Blyth.  It was good to renew acquaintance with Yvonne and Ian who were previous commanding officers in the early years of our church, and also with Sue who became Songster Leader at Sale for a period following Frank’s retirement in March 2000.

Yvonne is one of the Army’s prolific songwriters, producing so many wonderful melodies more often than not enhanced with beautiful words also from her pen.  This made the task of choosing music for the evening quite a difficult one being “spoiled for choice”,  and so Yvonne was asked to make the decision of the songs she would like to hear.  The songsters rose to the challenge of singing fifteen of her compositions, five of which were completely new to us, and “every one a winner.”

The songs were interspersed with items from the band, which included a piece specially written for the evening containing three of Yvonne’s songs.  This was written by Andrew Mackereth another well-known Army composer, who made a special trip to be present for the evening, and actually provided the first horn part in the band to make his journey worthwhile!!

Of course it was a special pleasure to have Sue with us again, and as always she brought much blessing with her beautiful contributions from Yvonne’s treasure trove of inspirational songs.  It was also good to have her join with the songsters again to sing the solo in “Nothing can”  Sue’s husband, Andrew, was the compere for the evening, and between items chatted with Yvonne to find out how some of her songs came to be written.

The idea for the evening was the inspiration of Yvonne’s husband Ian, and for a while he kept it a secret as a surprise, but being the intuitive person she is she guessed that “there was something going on”.  So the success of the evening was down to Ian’s hard work and organisation, as a recognition of Yvonne’s amazing contribution to Salvation Army music over many years and this was honoured and applauded by a capacity audience.

Christine and the songsters were applauded too for taking on the mammoth task of singing fifteen songs in one sitting!! and lots of very nice things were said about our singing.  The band also gave great support to this very special evening.

At the conclusion Ian presented Yvonne with a bouquet of flowers and then invited her to conduct the songsters in “Hymn to the conqueror”, her own rousing setting of words by Albert Osborn.

We give thanks to God for an amazing lady, and a life dedicated to writing soul-saving music to honour the Lord, and for the extension of His kingdom.

By Anne Crowhurst