Music News July 2022

David Powell-3-800There has been little reduction in pace for the choir, even after Easter. Rehearsals are already underway for Festal Evensong at 6.30 on Sunday 12 June, followed by Choral Eucharist for the Feast of Corpus Christi at 8pm on Thursday 16 June. More complex anthems, such as Stanford’s Beati Quorum Via and Finzi’s God Is Gone Up, have returned to the repertory following rebuilding skills after Covid.

Meanwhile, Organ Scholar Yechan has now ventured down from the organ loft where he has become accustomed to playing hymns and voluntaries to conduct the choir for the first time during a service. Choral evensong on 8th May included a rousing performance of Herbert Sumsion’s They That Go Down to the Sea, which describes a seafarer in a storm “staggering like a drunken man”. It may or may not have been a coincidence that shortly afterwards the choir enthusiastically recommenced the pre-Covid tradition of meeting in the pub after the Friday evening rehearsal.

In addition to the usual Sunday services, the choir have supported worship at the Choral Eucharist on Ascension Day, and also the Civic Service to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The Brass Group joined the choir to ensure that the Civic Service raised the roof. For this service on 5 June the choir – like many others in the country – performed an anthem written by Thomas Hewitt Jones, specially commissioned by the Royal School of Church Music for the occasion, with lyrics based on extracts from the Queen’s own speeches. It was designed in a similar spirit to the Platinum Pudding, namely that it has to suit a wide range of abilities, from the domestic cook to master chefs, or for singers from the school or village hall to cathedral choirs. To ensure that it can be as long lasting as the Victoria sponge or Coronation chicken, the last verse has 2 sets of words, 1 for the Jubilee, and 1 for use in the years to come. The Brass Group and organ bookended the service magnificently, opening with Haydn’s The Heavens are telling the Glory of God, and closing with Karg-Elert’s Nun Danket Alle Gott.

Looking forward to the more immediate future, the SMMA is delighted that its successful lunchtime concert programme, which had to be cancelled during the last 2 years, is running throughout June and July. Concerts start at 1.10 pm on Wednesdays, and last for approximately 40 minutes. Refreshments are available from 12.30 pm. There is free admission, and a retiring collection. Click on this link to the musical treats on offer:

Ottilie Lefever
5th June 2022