Music News - December 2021 

Church at sunset CGoulder
Walking to Evensong by Caroline Goulder

Choral Evensong, that calm spiritual traditional musical service as the light of the day fades. It’s always a joy to take part in and to listen to. In October the choir sang the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis to a fine setting by Herbert Brewer, one time organist of Gloucester Cathedral. Psalm 22 included an apt verse for our times being, ‘be not far from me; for trouble is near’. The Preces and Responses set by Richard Ayleward have stood the test of almost four centuries and the anthem was Turn Back O Man, a poem by Clifford Bax set to music in a rather esoteric style by Gustav Holst. The service ended with Jeremy Allen playing a voluntary on Psalm 124 by Peter Maxwell Davies. Every second Sunday in most months, come and join us for Choral Evensong. Steve Cass.

There have been 2 successful recruitment events for younger musicians. Early in October the Junior Choir taster evening included current members leading rounds and describing the Voice for Life ribbon training scheme, dressing willing volunteers in red robes, whilst Oli led an energetic session singing and learning repertoire for upcoming services. As a result, we have welcomed two new singers, bringing our numbers up to fifteen. We would still welcome two or three more youngsters to join our happy band!

Bron Ferland

On 15th October we had the first of our post-lockdown sessions of Joyful Noise, which are now running regularly on Fridays at 4pm (until 4:45) in the Parish Rooms. The children had fun getting to know each other and playing some musical games, before learning their first song. The custard creams also went down rather well! We have space for more members and would love to welcome any children aged 5-8 (in school years 1-3) who’d like to come and make music with new friends. For more information, please contact

Lizzie Bennett

Magazines prepare their summer editions in the winter, and do their Christmas photoshoots in mid-summer. The publishing requirements of the Parish Magazine do not involve quite such a disconnect, but the submission date for this article is just 2 days after Bonfire Night, before all the important Church musical events in November through to January. So I have to assume and trust that the Remembrance Service, the Advent and Christmas Carol Services, Choral Evensong and the Tree Services for children will be taking place as anticipated in 2021 and appreciated more than ever because of their absence in real life last year.

While in 2020 we produced online services ranging from Compline to Carols, the musical experience for everyone is greatly enhanced by being present together. Let us hope that those who wish to can worship in person in St Mary’s during Advent, Christmas and Epiphany and further into 2022.

Many thanks to Caroline Goulder for the lovely photo, and to members of the SMMA committee who contributed reports on the principal musical events of October.

Ottilie Lefever

There follows three Choir reports on recent memorial services …

9 October 2021 Memorial Service for Mary Knight  - 5th Jan 1930 - 5th March 2020

Because of Covid arrangements, we had all waited a long time to bid Mary Knight goodbye. She was, for her colleagues in the choir, a special woman who, in spite of her advanced age, was fun and articulate and full of knowledge. In her youth she had gained an exhibition to the university of Oxford. Her school was delighted and every pupil got a day's holiday. Mary completed her degree in French and German and became an interpreter for the vast Shell organisation. After marriage she moved to Essex and, two children later, she changed direction to become a teacher of languages at the Saffron Walden County High school. Her popularity there, her involvement in the library, the museum, in Bridge End Gardens and in the area, was shown by the 102 people who came to her service.

Mary had been in St Mary 's church choir for many years and only retired relatively recently. Judith Hasler presided over the service. Andrew Malcolm, our choirmaster while she was a choir member, conducted the music, with Oli King on the organ. Mary was a very organised person who had planned her service completely, including the entry and exit music 'Nimrod' from Elgar's Enigma variations and Bach's 'prelude in B Minor'. Between the hymns the choir sang Mozart's 'Ave Verum' and an arrangement by Andrew Malcolm of 'God be in my Head'. The service finished with the 'Nunc Dimittis' by Walmisley. Many of Mary's family contributed to the service. Her children Amanda Carpenter and Peter Knight gave their reflections and tributes, as did her grandchildren Sarah Louise Miller and Zoe Carpenter. R Vaughn Williams 'Silent Moon' was beautifully sung by Beatrice Carpenter.

Mary has left us with many memories and pieces of wisdom but her main legacy was to children and to gardening with the launch of her Mary Knight Foundation for Budding Gardeners in conjunction with Friends of Bridge End Gardens. If you wish to donate and claim gift aid please do so via Friends of Bridge End Gardens or via cheque payable to Mary Knight Gardening Fund c/o Amanda Carpenter, Sycamore Cottage, Church Common, Snape, Suffolk IP17 1QL.

Finally, words from Noel Starr summed up Mary's character (ever encouraging): 'She was with a school party in France organised by his wife Judith. She was edging her way towards a French monument along a 6 inch ledge, by holding on to a rope and, hearing her pupils express alarm, was heard to say "Of course you can do it!"

Mo Pullen

Memorial Service for Rev'd Tim Hardingham - Saturday 30th October 2021

On Saturday 30th October the choir was privileged to sing at the memorial service for the Rev’d Tim Hardingham. The church was full of people who had come from near and far and we listened to tributes from friends, colleagues, and family, reminding us of the very lovely man we all remember and miss. The choir led the singing of two hymns and sang Fauré’s ‘Cantique de Jean Racine’. It was very special to support Tim’s widow, Nell who has been for many years a fellow choir member and friend.

Bron Ferland

(Tim’s memorial service was live streamed and has, so far, had 409 views)

All Souls Service - Sunday 31st October 2021

On the 31st of October we were allowed to gather for the Service of Remembering and Thanksgiving after many months of very restricted access to funeral gatherings, so it was a very moving and particularly significant occasion. Many people who have lost loved ones attended and nearly a hundred names were called out to honour the memory of the deceased. Judith Hasler, Lay Funeral Minister took the service and Rev’d Jeremy Trew, rector of St Mary's Church, gave a moving sermon for all present and people watching online. Oli, our Choir Master played the Organ Voluntary "Elegy" by G.T.Thalben-Ball at the beginning of the service and conducted the service. The new Michael Swindlehurst Organ Scholar Yechan Yun showed how talented he is at such a young age, and played for the two hymns: "Abide with me" and "Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer" as well as the Motet chosen for the occasion :"Lord, let me know mine end" by Maurice Greene (1696-1755), all sung by St Mary's choir, with Steve Rapkin, organist and member of the United Reformed Church joining the bass line for the service. Yechan also skilfully played the Organ Voluntary "Adagio in E Major" by Frank Bridge (1879-1941) at the end of the service. Psalm 23 was read by a member of staff from Peasgood and Skeates, who gave support to the service.

We were all invited to light a candle for a loved one and the choir sang a Taizé song "Oh God hear my prayer" while the sand tray got filled by people lighting a little tea light representing a loved one no longer seen but well remembered. The Order of Service read on the front "For those who sleep in Christ, Life has changed, not ended” and the service beautifully evoked that soothing thought.

Francoise Mouchet-Davis