Minster wedding

Travelled to Wimborne Minster on Friday 31 August for the wedding of Margaret James (92) and Robert Cave (91). They are Britain’s oldest newly-weds, and a full Minster church wished them well. Google their names for more details and lovely pictures! (The Michael James Music Trust supports two Laudemus! scholars each year.)

Another year over!

Another wonderful week over – all very successful apart from an uncharacteristic ‘blip’ on Friday. Over the course of five days we coped with ciphers, impossible sight-lines, interesting cantors and challenging organs: all in a day’s singing. Now back to the real world, with Howells’ St Paul’s Service and Wesley’s Ascribe unto the Lord still ringing in our ears from the final service in Wimborne Minster. Huge thanks to our wonderful professional team of Sam Hanson (organ) and Jeremy Jackman (inspirational musical director).

Music list ready

We now have a music list for this summer, with some terrific pieces. Canticles include Francis Jackson (in G, just heard in todays Evensong from Keble), Howells (St Paul) and Gibbons (Second Service); anthems include Weelkes ‘I heard a voice’ and Wesley Ascribe unto the Lord’. Roll on July!

Keble Evensong

Superb Evensong from Keble College on R3 this afternoon. From opening introit (plainsong arr. Andrew Reid) through to the finale of Widor’s 6th Organ Symphony it was a triumph. And we’re singing Jackson in G at Laudemus! this summer – what a fantastic service.

Fantastic response

Overwhelming response to this year’s invitation to singers: oversubscribed in virtually every voice (not tenors, of course, but they always require special nurturing). Makes life very easy for us, but very disappointing for those we will have to turn away, including some long-standing friends.

All in place

And the final piece of the jigsaw: Stinsford have confirmed us for Wednesday 18 July.The demolished musicians’ gallery was reinstated in the 1990s and now houses a little continuo-style organ in place of the instruments which would have been familiar in Thomas Hardy’s day. Will we fit up there, I wonder? And can we source music such as Hardy’s contemporaries would have heard? Watch this space!

Congregational stamina

Planners of carol services should consider the vocal stamina of congregations when choosing carols. By the end of an otherwise very well-thought-out service we (two competent singers) were nearing vocal exhaustion after singing through, in quick succession, all verses of ‘The holly and the ivy’, ‘Angels from the realms of glory’ and ‘The first Nowell’, all of which sit very high in the average voice. But the mulled wine afterwards helped to restore tired vocal cords!