Celebrity guests and Salvation Army musicians kicked off the festive season with a celebration of Christmas music, carol singing, and readings at the Royal Albert Hall last night (December 4).
The annual festive event saw doyenne of British baking, Mary Berry give a reading, as did actor Stephen Rahmen-Hughes – known for his roles in EastEnders and Emmerdale. The Salvation Army International Staff Band and Songsters entertained people with a beautiful Christmas repertoire, and there were live performances from female classical singing trio Athena, singer-songwriter Claas P. Jambor and the Fanfare Team from the Band of the Household Cavalry. Survivor of modern slavery and human trafficking – Malaika Oringo – also shared about her experiences and how The Salvation Army supported her in her recovery.
Territorial Commander, Commissioner Anthony Cotterill, gave a Christmas message, while Lieut-Colonel Dean Pallant, Secretary for Communications compered the event.
Mary Berry said:
“The Salvation Army and Christmas are synonymous in many people’s minds, and the concert was a great start to the festive season and a wonderful celebration of the Army’s work throughout the year. I was very glad to play my part with a reading.”
Lieut-Colonel Dean Pallant, said:
“Our annual Christmas concert is always a delightful way to start the festive season, and it is wonderful to see the performers use their talents to help remind us of the reason we celebrate – the birth of Jesus Christ.”
This year’s event focuses on the work of The Salvation Army in supporting recovering victims of modern slavery in the UK and fighting this evil trade in human beings across the globe. Malaika Oringo, who originates from Uganda and now works for The Salvation Army in the Netherlands, said:
“I am a survivor of human trafficking and I know from personal experience that slavery is one of the greatest human rights abuses of our time. I would often say to myself ‘Can anybody see me? Can anybody hear me?’ All of us need to keep our eyes and ears open.”
The annual concert brings together many Salvation Army supporters, members, and those who simply want to start the Christmas season in true festive style. Donations from the concert will go towards The Salvation Army’s work with those who are most vulnerable, and support this year’s Christmas Appeal.