Are you a bass and do you have reasonable note-reading ability? The Adult Choir at St Mary’s are currently looking to recruit a singer to join their bass section. If you are interested, and would like to find out more, please contact Director of Music Oli King or SMMA Chair Bron Ferland, on ‘ 07928 339310 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
In the run-up to Easter
Music in the run-up to Easter was, as every year, full on at St Mary’s. The singers were kept busy. There were extra services, such as the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday ones, and in April there were also two sung Evensongs instead of one. Rehearsals tended to become longer and a little frenetic as the Easter weekend approached. The Brass Group joined us on Easter Day for the Eucharistic service and the congregational “Hallelujah” Chorus by Handel, were also kept on their toes. So, no doubt, were our Assistant Organist Jeremy Allen – and the Director of Music, who had to pull it all together.
It all culminated in the Good Friday devotional offering, when the choir with orchestra performed Mozart’s Requiem, and in the said morning service on Easter Sunday. That day there was a sung evensong as well, to round off the day’s celebration and thanksgiving.
In the weeks preceding Easter, we performed some heart-rending music including the harrowing “Wash me throughly” by Wesley (which Oli likes to dub “MISERY”), Tippett’s arrangement of the spiritual “Steal Away” and Whitbourn’s of “Were you there?” and, no less haunting, Bruckner’s “Christus Factus Est” sung on Maundy Thursday.
The congregation already had a taste of Mozart’s Requiem on 2nd April, when we sang the “Lacrimosa” as an anthem and were joined by our guest singers who were singing with us at the Good Friday devotional.
At Easter and Christmas, it is always a pleasure to welcome back into our midst some of our former Choral Scholars who have moved on to university and life elsewhere: Ellie Beare, Hannah Harpum, Evonne Baltrock, Matthew Maasdorp, among others. They boost our numbers and significantly lower the mean age of the adult choir. And so it was a great privilege to be asked to sing at the wedding of two of our former young singers, Ellie Harpum and Sam Flicos, on 2nd April. – See below for Anna Martin’s report of the wedding ceremony.
The wedding of Sam Flicos and Eleanor Harpum
There were more guests at the wedding of Sam Flicos and Eleanor Harpum than I have seen at any wedding I have ever attended, which was a mark of how highly these young people and their families are respected and loved by all. The wedding was particularly special for us at St Mary’s because we had watched each of the couple grow up in our midst. Both were in our choir and they had asked the Reverend Andy Finn to perform the ceremony because he was their youth leader here when they were younger. The music was special too: “I give to you a new commandment” was written by Peter Nardone who is close to our hearts at St Mary’s, and the couple had enjoyed singing “Oh Thou the Central Orb” when they were growing up together in our choir.
Both Andy in his sermon and Tim and Karen Game in their prayers referred to marriage as a chord of three strings that is not easily broken: Karen said that God is the third string that binds the others together. Everyone’s wide smiles and loud claps signified that they thought that this couple were a match made in heaven.
Junior Choir: Outing to Ely, and Mothering Sunday
Members of the Junior Choir enjoyed an outing to Ely in March. We visited the Stained Glass museum and learned about how glass was made in Medieval times from Theophilus the monk. He and the museum’s education officer had very kindly come in on a Saturday especially to run a workshop for the children that they seemed to enjoy. We learnt how red glass was coloured with gold and so used for important figures in windows and how to spot if a window had been repaired. We also learnt how to deduce a story from clues in the picture like hand positions and other symbols. The children then sketched some images from windows in the museum and made their own “cartoon” (the technical term for the design from which a window is made) before using glass paint to recreate their design on a tile. After a picnic tea, we returned to the Cathedral for Evensong. Sung by men’s voices only, the modern setting was different from what the children were used to at St Mary’s. It led to some interesting comments on the way home.
The Juniors enjoyed contributing to the Family Service for Mothering Sunday. They sang “Panis Angelicus” and “Brother Sister Let me Serve You” while the congregation responded to the dramatized reading and Tracy Nicholl’s talk by making people out of thumb prints to symbolize the church family. They liked demonstrating the actions to “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” to a full church. They also joined in with the dramatized Bible reading as Jesus’ family and helped hand out plants to members of the congregation.