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).

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.

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!

The power of choral music

Yesterday at the Royal Albert Hall two huge groups of singers, 1,400 of them aged 6–25, and 3,200 aged 15–90, left the building inspired and wreathed in smiles after The Scratch® Youth Messiah and Messiah from Scratch® respectively. The power of choral music to create goodwill and harmony among human beings simply cannot be overstated. We all need more of it, not less!

John Rutter sums it all up in an interview from March 2015, saying that a ‘choral music is not one of life’s frills’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pm-Pm1FYZ-U). If you’ve not seen this clip, watch it.

2017 tour details

Finally, after a few false starts, we seem to have an itinerary for this summer’s tour.

Whilst there are details to be confirmed it seems that we will be visiting Marnhull (S. Gregory), Milton Abbey (the glorious abbey church), Beaminster  (S. Mary), Durweston (S. Nicholas) and Wimborne Minster.

Milton Abbey and Beaminster are both new venues for us; the others are repeat visits, although it’s been many years since we last sang at Marnhull.

I’ve also just come across a wonderful appreciation of Choral Evensong which I’d like to share.  This is Andrew Mellor writing on The Gramophone blog in October 2016: read his thoughts here.