Rehearsal last night was of course mainly Christmas carols in preparation for Saturday. We are due to play in the Harvey Shopping Centre at Harlow starting at 10am.
In our little way The Harlow Concert Band is maintaining a tradition that goes back a very long way. Christams songs can be traced back to around the thirteenth century, but most of the songs that we know are from the mid nineteenth century. I discovered that Oliver Cromwell banned the singing of carols, but then he did ban everything, including the King. Singing songs at this time of year was not confined to the church. A lot of the carols we know started life as folk songs. Classical composers also used carols in their compositions and people like Handel used them to great effect.
So, by performing our short carol concert to the happy shoppers of Harlow we are playing our part in a long tradition of bringing the spirit of yuletide to the people of the land. And there is no doubt about it, the sound of a carol does warm the heart. Merry Christmas.