Memorable melodies at candlelight service | THE DAILY HERALD

Angelical Zuw-Jayla Suares sings “Silent Night.”


 ST. EUSTATIUS–“Happy Holidays” was the title of the Bethel Methodist Christmas Candlelight Service held on Sunday. Methodists know a thing or two about delivering memorable melodies and this year, the Junior Church Choir took front stage.

  Christmas is all about good news, so it was no wonder that the candlelight procession entered the beautiful 19th-century chapel to the hopeful sound of “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.”

  Kentonea Fortin set the Christmas scene through a dramatic reading of Clement Clarke Moore’s classical poem “’T was the night before Christmas.”

  Nevertheless, the full congregation was quickly stirred by giving voice to a rich programme of familiar carols. Junior and Senior Choir performances were equally inspiring, while people in the church benches responded to the foot-tapping melodies

  Vashti Hooker raised the recently-renovated chapel roof with her confident and powerful voice. Her solo: “Praise Jehovah” is not an easy piece with a wide range of notes and key changes, yet Hooker’s notes were perfectly delivered.

  Not to be outdone by such excellence, very young Zuw-Jayla Suares sang “Silent Night.” Dressed like an angel, her enthusiasm and booming voice were such that the congregation applauded with loud cheers.

  The congregation welcomed a special delegation this year. Twenty tourists from all over the world aboard MS Serenissima on a visit to St. Eustatius attended the service.

  “We are absolutely delighted to be welcomed to this wonderful church and community,” said Heather Hudson from Kent in the United Kingdom. “The service has given us great moments of joy and we thank the entire island for sharing their warmth and spirit,” she said. Her words of gratitude were prompted by an open invitation to churchgoers to light a candle and express a wish.

M-Crew, with from left, Elaine Marchena, Marije Veerman and Gerwin Schobbe playing “Jesus Born on this Day.”

  Deputy Government Commissioner Mervyn Stegers also responded to the call. “Although 2018 was a difficult year for some, I wish all of you and your families a successful and rewarding 2019,” he said.

  A parishioner expressed her concern for the people of Indonesia who had suffered from the recent tsunami.

  The Christmas story is not complete without a nativity scene. Outside the chapel, enthusiast Ishn Courtar had carefully prepared the manger, characters and associated farm animals.

  Inside, the Junior Bethel Methodist Choir re-enacted the drama with impressive acting, song and dance. It was one of the highlights of the celebration.

 Another was provided by an interlude of classical music. Medical doctor Marije Veerman played a haunting, yet magical “O Come, O Come Immanuel” on oboe. She then joined the M-Crew band to play Mariah Carey’s evergreen, “Jesus Born on this Day.”

  The “M” in M-Crew stands for medical since the band includes nurse Clyde Spanner on keyboard and trumpet and Dr. Gerwin Schobbe, also on trumpet.

  Elaine Marchena as guest player on electric violin was the only non-medical musician present. “I may not be a medical practitioner, but my family certainly comes from a medical and musical background, Marchena said. “Heartbeats and musical beats have much in common,” she added.

Source: The Daily Herald