by Colleen McGaw
The evening (Saturday, 28 April) was held in honour of Noel Wallace as he celebrated, with his family and church, over 25 years in Christian Ministry. ¬†Ten of the 25 years he has served as Music &¬†Youth Director at Savannah.
The evening opened with a musical prelude, on piano, from Mr. Denver Bloom, playing a selection of Tschaikowsky, Beethoven, Bach and Handel.¬† We were then treated to a performance, on the steel pans by Ms. Renita Barnes.¬† The piece was entitled ‚ÄúCome Back to Sorrento‚ÄĚ, an original solo piece for which she won second place at a recent steel pan competition.¬† The United Church combined choirs started the singing off with “Come now is the time”.¬† The congregation had the opportunity to join in with “Great is Thy faithfulness”
After a prayer from Herman Wilson and a welcome by Rev. Donovan Myers, the Savannah Choir again offered a wonderful hymn, “I love the Lord”.¬† The message was delivered by Rev Dwight Carl Fairclough, Noel’s brother-in-law, and the Prayer of Thanksgiving by Rev. Rohan Forrester.
The Savannah United Children’s Choir, with their faces beaming, delighted everyone with their performance of “When the spirit of the Lord”, complete with choreographed movements. They also did a wonderful job of accompanying the adult choir with two hymns – “Awesome God” and “You are God alone”.
Expressions of appreciation and thanks for Noel came from Mr. Bryan Bothwell, Regional Deputy General Secretary, Cayman Islands Regional Mission Council; Mrs. Lorna Bush on behalf of Cayman National Cultural Foundation; Mrs. Casandra Morris, Chair of the Youth Leaders National Executive; Dr. Joy Wallace-Grant, Noel’s sister, on behalf of the Wallace family; and Ms. Carol Gopaul on behalf of the Savannah United Church.
The Cayman Islands Folk Singers gave rousing renditions of “Munzie Boat” and Leaky Ol’ Dory, followed by Clive and friends with a heartfelt “Always”. Master Nayil Arana provided an enjoyable violin performance of Cavatina accompanied by Mr. Noel on piano, and Elmslie United Church was very ably represented,by three ladies, singing “One pair of hands”.
Other stellar performances came from First Assembly of God, Mr. Victor Hemans on flute, First Baptist Sanctuary Choir, Mr. Glen Inanga (concert pianist) playing “Toccata” and Mr. Ian S. Lavine on Trumpet with “What a wonderful world”.
A highlight of the evening was a “jamming” session with John Chin Yee and the Legends.¬† Apparently, Noel named the group and the saxophonist said that he did not know that was the name of the band.¬† Their “Just a closer walk with Thee” was just fantastic with Noel on piano and the sounds that came from that saxophone were just amazing.¬† Last, but not least, was the hymn “Look what the Lord has done” beautifully performed by three female singers and guitarist/singer, Paul Roberts, from Church of God,¬† Bodden Town.
The evening was filled with beautiful voices and accomplished musicians.
The one theme that was evident throughout the evening was the high esteem that everyone held for Mr. Noel. Words to describe him were gentle, kind, noble, loyal, humourous, talented, loving, always smiling, a leader, and, of course, slim.¬† The list could go on, but Mrs. Morris summed it up by saying: “He is a person of integrity who thinks, says, and does the same thing”.
Those of us who were privileged to have attended this wonderful celebration of Mr. Noel will remember this evening for many years to come