Thursday, October 30, 2008

St John’s Flower Festival 2008

- Ailsa Tudhope -

Once again Prince Albert’s flower arrangers came up trumps and the display in the little Victorian church was glorious. The theme for the annual festival, which coincides with the Oktoberfest, was Psalm 150, a psalm of thanksgiving with a musical focus, which tied in wonderfully with the visit to the village by the Hemslingen Brass Band, many of whom attended the Thanksgiving service for HRH Prince Albert on the Sunday morning.

The Psalm enjoins us to “Praise God in his holiness …
Praise him in the sound of the trumpet: praise him upon the lute and harp.
Praise him in the cymbals and dances: praise him upon the strings and pipe.
Praise him upon the well-tuned cymbals: praise him upon the loud cymbals.
Let everything that hath breath: praise the Lord.”

The floral arrangements truly praised God “according to his excellent greatness.” Local gardens provided most of the flowers with which Ione Auerswald, Lettie Breytenbach, Peggy Clow-Wilson, Jeanette de Lange, Liz Erasmus, Renee Finn, Aileen Hughes, Amelia le Grange, Shireen Reid, Carol Tissiman, Michael Upton, Dawn Viljoen and Ann Whitton transformed the church into a scented bower.

Many arrangements incorporated real instruments and Tim Rowson’s harp, around which Michael built his arrangement at the entrance to the chancel, might well have been real. Klaas Pieterse’s “Karoo Cello” and Peggy’s harp at the altar added artistic touches, along with the beautiful display by the Patchwork Group: Mavis Aggett, Jeanette de Lange, Aletta de Wit, Babsie Muller, Victoria Raft and Shireen Reid. Victoria’s dolls are real characters and their presence was much appreciated. At least one was adopted during the festival!

Michael Upton spent several hours in the church on Saturday, playing a musical medley, to the delight of visitors. On Sunday Gudrun Toelstede and Renee Finn contributed a reading and prayers in German and the Albert College children provided music for us, as we gave thanks for HRH Prince Albert, for the gift of music and for the Hemslingen Brass Band and prayed for Prince Albert residents, both past and present.

This was the sixth year that the church had been so beautifully decorated and we hope that this is a tradition which will endure for years to come. Special thanks to everyone involved, especially Lorna Verran who created the eye-catching posters, Ann Whitton who arranged the publicity, Sonja and John Mckenna who provided refreshments for the floral artists, Mari du Toit for her generous donation of flowers and our dear Renee Finn, who so gently and graciously co-ordinated the Flower Festival.

Our next special service is the Karoo Carols by Candlelight with the Patchwork Theatre troupe at 7.00pm on Sunday 30th November.

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