Music News November 2022
The evening of 9th September was full of contrasts for the Choir. Practice started sombrely with a prayer for the late Queen Elizabeth II, and then a complete change of almost every piece of music we had rehearsed the preceding week for the Patronal Festival and Choral Evensong to more solemn motets, hymns and a psalm appropriate for the first 2 Sundays of the mourning period.
But it was also the day scheduled for the annual Choral Scholars concert, a truly joyous occasion organised and performed by Choral Scholars present and past, especially present. What a range of talent. There were violin, guitar and piano pieces, solos, duets and finally a rousing Abba medley with 12 scholars, including the Organ Scholar, belting out – appropriately - “Thank you for the music”.
On the following Sunday, 18th September, it was a privilege to lead the music for the Civic Commemoration Service marking the death of the Queen. The service sheet informed us, the material used had been prepared long in advance by representatives of the Church and the Royal Household, and had been approved for use by Her Majesty. As we gathered to remember and to celebrate over 70 years of faithful service, the choir sang pieces ranging from W Harris’s haunting “Holy is the true light” as an Introit, through Edward Bainton’s anthem “And I saw a new heaven” to John Rutter’s familiar “A Gaelic Blessing”. The well-loved congregational hymns were supported not only by the choir and organ, but also by rousing trumpets from the organ loft, culminating in the National Anthem with its new dedication, followed by Stanley’s Trumpet Voluntary.
Since then, the regular round of rehearsal and preparation has resumed in support of Sunday worship. But the period from October to December is always particularly busy, in anticipation of Remembrance Sunday on 13th November, as well as the carol and tree services. Diary dates include the Advent Carol service on 27th November, and the Christmas Carol Service on 18th December. The SMMA has purchased a new anthem book from the proceeds of the summer concerts, and the choir is looking forward to singing some new pieces from it this year, in addition of course to well-known and well-loved carols.
Meanwhile the Joyful Noise group for our very youngest musicians aged 5 – 8 (school years 1 to 3) has re-started. Very pleasingly 4 children have just progressed up to the Junior Choir over the summer, so new members will be particularly welcome. If you know of anyone who would like to join, or would like to make a “taster” visit to the group, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The music library had run out of space, so a crack construction team of Hannah (SMMA Chair), Oli King and the Rev’d Canon Chris spent a busy Saturday morning putting up 10 shelving units in the Muniments Room. We are very grateful for a donation by the Stansted Airport Passenger Community Fund which paid for the shelving and funds for music containers following a successful application by Hannah. The money is raised from the unwanted foreign currency of passengers and staff which is collected at the terminal and donated to local causes within a 20 mile radius of the airport.