Music News - August - September 2022

IMG 0699-ed-800Special musical activities in June started with a rousing Festal Evensong. While “rousing” is not usually a word associated with the calm, meditative nature of this most reflective of services, this was an exception, including Stamford’s Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in A, and Gerald Finzi’s explosive God is Gone Up.

The SMMA’s very successful and enjoyable lunchtime concert programme ran throughout June and July, featuring a wide variety of instruments and performers. It was a particular pleasure to welcome back our first Michael Swindlehurst organ scholar, Elliot Randall, for the performance on 6 July.

The final concert before the summer break is Organ Plus at 3pm on Sunday 24 July, with Director of Music Oli King on the organ, Kate Llewellyn on trumpet and Guy Llewellyn on French horn. Admission is free, but there is a retiring collection. For this and other future musical events, including the Patronal Festival and Choral Evensong on Sunday 11 September click here.

The end of the academic year is always a time for a change of singers in the Junior Choir and Choral Scholar groups. We say goodbye and thank you to Isobel who is leaving the Juniors for pastures new. Meanwhile, a very successful recruitment event took place for the Junior Choir on 1 July. 9 potential newcomers joined 14 of the current young choristers for a lively evening. After warm-up exercises, Choral Scholar Eden gave a talk on his experience as a Junior, and the current Juniors then demonstrated a short practice, which included songs as varied as a round and an anthem in Latin. The visitors were then split into breakout groups where they tried on choir robes, did a Church quiz, and visited the organ loft where they were allowed to play the organ. Speaking as a relatively new member of the Senior Choir, I am very jealous of this last opportunity, which is not offered to us! The current Juniors then led unplanned discussions on the origin of the term “nave”, and more obscurely on the Reformation. Most impressive, especially as nearly everyone involved is still at, or has only recently left, primary school. Obviously after all this hard work refreshment was needed, which SMMA Chairman Hannah provided in the form of homemade traybakes and biscuits. The evening was rounded off with a game of Splat, following which the exhausted adults went on to Senior choir practice. Many thanks to Oli, Peter, Alison, Kate, Ellie, Helen, Eden and Eleanor.

3 of our Choral Scholars are moving on, but we hope to welcome them back from time to time. George has been awarded a Vice Chancellor’s music scholarship at Durham University. His duties will include not only participating fully in the musical life of the university, but also visiting schools to inspire pupils with a love of music. Helena has just performed an amazing set of songs at the High School’s Hampers and Champers event for leavers. Eleanor is off to a month of music school, then to Israel during her gap year to join in the Church’s Ministry among Jewish People. We wish them all the very best of luck for the future.

Finally, the SMMA is looking forward to enjoying a Mermaids and Pirates supper at the end of July, complete with good fellowship, good food, and lots of sea shanties, before we all return refreshed in September.

Ottilie Lefever