Music News November 2021 

Ye ChanFrom the beginning of September, the Adult and Choral scholar choir has been enjoying its first rehearsals in St Mary’s. All those lockdown Zoom practices have borne fruit, though Oli did seem a little pale after some of the efforts during the first week. However, the choir is enjoying getting back into the routine of regular, in person services, including not only Holy Communion and Family Services, but also the Patronal Festival and choral evensong, with plans for All Saints and All Souls.

Yechan Yun, the second recipient of the Michael Swindlehurst Organ Scholarship, has been taking an active part in services at St Mary’s since the beginning of September. At the conclusion of his first service at St Mary’s he played Langlais’s Hymne d’action de grace Te Deum No 3, which had been his audition piece for the Scholarship. He has also played in his first service at Wendens Ambo. Meanwhile bursary recipient Eleanor Game is taking organ lessons and has played at a Taizé service. It is also very pleasing to learn that Elliott, the first MSOS scholar, is doing really well as a student at the Royal College of Music and is undertaking a number of recitals.

On 18 September representatives of the choir were honoured to contribute to the Memorial Service for the Rev’d Jeremy Collingwood, including Stanford’s Nunc Dimittis in G and Stephen Rutter’s Gaelic Blessing. The service ended with a rousing rendition (twice round!) by congregation, choir and organ of O When the Saints Go Marching In.

Following the success of the “Come and Sing” Fauré Requiem in July, which raised an impressive sum in excess of £700 for church funds, Oli King and Martin Huggett performed a piano duet concert on 25 September, and raised a further £600 for St Mary’s. This was the first SMMA sponsored concert since lockdown, and it was a joy to attend. Prosecco was available for an appreciative audience who enjoyed a lively programme of pieces. As the composers and the works are very well known and loved, instead of an introduction to the music each item was prefaced by eclectic information about worldwide events in the year it was written. For this month’s quiz, match the music and the events to the relevant year: 1787, 1830, 1874, 1892 and 1951. (answers at the end): 1 Tschaikovsky’s Nut Cracker - CocaCola is incorporated in Atlanta, USA; 2 Mozart’s Overture to Don Giovanni - the first convict ships were sent to Botany Bay to “found” Australia; 3 Poulenc’s L’embarquement pour Cythere - in England, the first Goon Show is broadcast on the wireless; 4 Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture - the fountain pen and the lawn mower are patented; 5 Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre - the game of lawn tennis is introduced.

On a more mundane note, the SMMA Committee has finally met face to face for the first time since February 2020. The pleasure of discussing musical matters in real life more than outweighs the opportunity afforded by Zoom to accompany meetings with a surreptitious cup of coffee, or perhaps even something a little stronger. Plans for 2022 are necessarily still somewhat uncertain, but will be reported in this Newsletter as soon as practical.

Meanwhile, the SMMA is proud to report the world premiere performance of our very own Jeremy Allen’s haunting Missa Brevis, written in lockdown.

The Senior Choir is now pretty full, though we could do with another bass or two, but we are looking to increase the number of younger singers. To this end taster sessions are being run for the Junior Choir on 8 October, and for Joyful Noise on 15 October. There is always room for more, however, so if you know of anyone who might be interested in having fun and enhancing their musical talents, please contact Bron Ferland for Juniors (aged 7 ½ to 13) or Lizzie Bennett for Joyful Noise (school years 1 – 3), both on for more information.

Ottilie Lefever

Quiz answers according to Martin and Oli:
1 1892; 2 1787; 3 1951; 4 1830; 5 1874.