As Christians, we are urged to praise ‘God from whom all blessings flow’, ‘Praise God in all things’ and ‘Make a joyful noise to the Lord’. There are many ways to do this, not all of them pleasing to the ear! Once in a while a band comes along that lifts both its members and all those who hear them, to a place of joyful praise. The ‘Dayspring Steel Band’ of Earlsdon Methodist Church is that sort of band. They are also a witness to our local community of the joy of playing music for God’s glory.
The band’s repertoire of both Christian and non-Christian scores are presently arranged by Steve Fox, the band’s co-leader. The children who make up this band are from the local area and are not all churchgoers. But welcoming local children in to feel at home in our church, whether Christians or not, is an important part of the mission of ‘Dayspring’.
The group meets weekly in term time to practice hard for concerts and shorter performances, that are aimed to build up confidence and self-esteem in the young people of the band. The band is kept running by a team of helpers, and the music side is run by Steve and Ruth Fox, who lead the rehearsals and concerts. Both Ruth and Steve started off in the band as teenagers and have carried on to become leaders themselves. Now they lead two bands, Dayspring 1 and 2 in addition to being parents to Jake and Toby.
Being part of this band is a huge commitment and presents many practical and mental challenges to both leaders and children. Last year for instance, the band played a number of venues, some of which were outside. Longford Park was memorable in that the band played on bravely despite there being no shelter, stage or marquees. Indeed, when rain clouds tipped out a shower during the intermission, the young people were offered the chance to ‘abort mission’. They all, to a person, chose to go out and play anyway, with parents holding umbrellas over the performers. There have been several experiences where problems with venues or hosts have failed to quash the band’s determination and sense of humour.
Steve writes "As a parent ‘roadie’, I see first hand the challenges of taking a children’s band on the road. I never fail to be moved by the upbeat attitude of the kids, the dedication of the leaders and the beautiful, positive and at times holy music that shimmers out from the pans of Dayspring. I am proud to be able to say, as I help unload drums and various kit from the van: ‘Yeah, I’m with the band.’"
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