IF someone had told me six years ago that, in 2013, Methilhill and Denbeath Church would be welcoming a youth steel pan band from Trinidad, I doubt I would have believed them.
But, sometimes, the unimaginable happens and is unforgettable!
I can tell you now that the wonderful music of the steel pan band COSTOS (Church of Scotland Trinidad on Steel) was hugely enjoyed and appreciated by a very wide range of people of all ages, in our church and hall, and in Levenmouth schools, in Princes Street Gardens, at Holyrood Palace, at the Church of Scotland General Assembly and in Dingwall.
For me, much of the pleasure of this very special visit was, of course, listening to and clapping along to the joyful and inspiring music being played, and also spending time with the lovely members of the band and all our visitors from Trinidad.
But some of my delight in this whole experience also came from watching the very enthusiastic response of the many people who had the chance to hear the band.
It was really wonderful to see children from the primary schools respond to the music with a whole variety of movements, to see commissioners at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland relax, smile and clap in response to the music, and to witness dancing in the aisles in our crowded church, as our friends played ‘Auld Lang Syne’ on their steel pans at our Saturday night concert.
This visit to Scotland, which allowed the sharing of the gift of steel band music from Trinidad, with perhaps 1000 people in Levenmouth, and over 1000 people in Edinburgh, didn’t, of course, just happen.
It involved a very considerable amount of careful preparation and some hard work.
Our very special thanks go, for example, to the Church of Scotland in Trinidad, to the musicians of COSTOS for all the practising they did, to all our hosts for the wonderfully kind, warm, thoughtful and generous hospitality they offered our guests, to others who accompanied our visitors and played a significant part in the visit, to our driver from A1 Minibus and Coach Hire, to the Church of Scotland’s World Mission Department, and to everyone who gave such a wonderfully warm and friendly welcome to our visitors.
I thank God for the very memorable gift of this visit from COSTOS, which brought joy and inspiration to many, many people and which also reminded many of us how goods it is when communities come together for fun.
A verse that comes to my mind is Philippians Chapter 4 verses 6-7: “Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God’s peace will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus.”