. . . that we will be able to run Laudemus! this year, although everything will depend on the way the current Covid-19 restrictions are lifted as we move out of the stay-at-home phase. We are working to ensure that no-one has to make a major outlay for music which might not be used; we are also trying to ensure that we can respond quickly to changes governing the movement of people.
Every year Laudemus! sings Evensong in Wimborne Minster, and 2020 marks our 30th anniversary and their 900th! A million-pound appeal – Minster Makes Music – has been launched to repair and rebuild the organ and establish a music foundation to safeguard the future of music at this historic church. Visit www.minstermakesmusic.co.uk for details and to make a donation.
All of us on the 2019 tour were aware that Simon was very unwell, and many of us also knew that he was recovering from his fourth cancer operation in as many years. It was with more sadness than surprise, therefore, that we learnt of his death at the end of the week which followed the Laudemus! tour.
We know very little of the circumstances, other than he appears to have died very peacefully at home in his armchair, and we are grateful that one of the last things he did was to enjoy a week of singing (not as much as he would have liked) and companionship with us in Dorset. As soon as funeral details are known they will be posted here.
. . . probably summed up most of us as we made our way home on 21 July after a brilliant week of singing Evensong in Dorset churches. We visited Weymouth, Eype, Fontmell Magna and Wimborne Minster (a glorious final Evensong) and sang our very first service of Vespers to a packed congregation in the Catholic Church of our Lady of Lourdes and St Cecilia in Blandford Forum.
With a terrific team of singers (special thanks to our outstanding young choral scholars), wonderful playing from Sam Hanson, and inspirational direction (as ever!) from Jeremy Jackman, we will be hard pushed to do better next year when we celebrate 30 years of singing Evensong in Dorset churches. The dates are 19–26 July, so keep watching this space.
Those of you who generously contributed to the fund to provide musical opportunities for David’s children might like to read this message from one of the Fund’s organisers: ‘Thank you for help in raising funds for Lydia and Thomas. With your help and generosity, we have managed to raise a significant sum. This has been enhanced by the generosity of Salisbury Community Choir who held a Memorial Fundraiser concert in honour of David, and have added the proceeds to the fund, which now totals over £6,000.
‘This generosity shows clearly how much David meant to so many people and how much he touched our lives: and this fund will be used to allow his children the musical opportunities and endeavours that David would be proud of. Thank you once again.’
As we said a final goodbye to David Coram we also learnt of the death of a long-time Laudemus! singer, David Ward, at the beginning of May. Everyone on our mailing list has been contacted about this, with details of the funeral for anyone who would like to attend. David’s genial presence among us, year after year, in Dorset was always something to look forward to: he was the perfect gentleman, kind, reliable, amusing, knowledgeable, generous; and an excellent second bass until lung failure caused him so much difficulty with breathing that he was obliged to stop. He died peacefully at home, and his funeral will be at 1.00pm on Monday 20 May, at Blofield Church (St Andrew & St Peter, Church Road, Blofield, Norfolk NR13 4NA). There is a choir rehearsal at 10.45 on Monday morning; anyone wanting to sing is asked to contact Claire Virden (email@example.com ).
The memorial service at St Peter’s Hammersmith for David Coram (Saturday 4 May) was everything these things should be. A chance to remember the good things; a chance to acknowledge and examine our feelings; the opportunity to comfort one another; to admire the plethora of flowery shirts donned for the occasion; and to grieve for the too-early loss of such talent. RIP David; we will miss you greatly.
We are glad to report that all the details of churches and music for this year’s tour have finally fallen into place. As in previous years we will range widely across the county, from Weymouth on the south coast up to Fontmell Magna on the way to Shaftesbury. Click on the 2019 Tour tab above for details.
According to statistics from the Church of England, attendance at cathedral services is rising, with choral evensong in particular enjoying a renaissance. Oxford University’s Faculty of Music is researching this surprising trend: to read more, and to take part a survey, cut and paste this link www.englishcathedrals.co.uk and click on the Choral Evensong tab.