November 13, 2020

Great singing together again

David Brookes, RSCMNZ Waikato Branch Chairman, speaks on behalf of the region’s choristers and members, when he says, “It was wonderful to return to choral singing . . . after such a disruptive year [2020].”

On All Souls Day, forty choristers from churches around the Waikato, and including Tauranga & Rotorua presented Choral Evensong commemorating All Souls Day in All Saints Church, Matamata on Sunday 8th November.

Music selected for this service included Versicles and Responses by K. Rose, Psalm 23 – Chant J. Goss, Canticles – Stanford in B flat, and Anthem: ‘God so loved the world’. Stainer.

 Three hymns sung by all included: ‘When human voices cannot sing’, St Columba / S. Murray; ‘Glory to thee my God this night’ Tallis Canon- verse 4 sung as a Round; and ‘The day thou gavest Lord is ended’ St Clement. The strong unison lead of the choir in some verses, and the well-balanced harmony in other verses, plus the keen participation of the congregation was an inspiration to all.

 Three organists, D. Brookes, V. Chetwynd, and J. Whimster took turns accompanying the choir, and David Brookes, Ceri Parr and Elizabeth Pilaar shared the conductor’s podium.

 The organ Prelude, played by David Brookes was on ‘Beatitudo’- ‘How bright these glorious spirits shine’ by J. Nixon, and the Postlude played by Jeremy Whimster was ‘Trumpet Tune’ by J. Stanley.

 Fr M. French, Chaplain of RSCM Waikato was the Presentor for the service and Rev A. Evans, Vicar of All Saints delivered an inspiring sermon.

During a time of reflection after the sermon people had the opportunity to light a candle in a sand tray in remembrance of loved ones. As contemplative interludes, David Brookes played the organ, ‘In peace your sheep may graze’ J.S. Bach, and the Air – ‘He shall feed his flock’ from Handel’s Messiah.

After the service whilst socialising and enjoying refreshments,  many people commented on the high standard of singing by the choir, and in particular the Anthem, which was sung unaccompanied.  Choristers also expressed joy and pleasure in being able to sing together after a lapse of choral music during the year.  Choristers look forward to participating in Stainer’s ‘Crucifixion’ in St Andrew’s Church Cambridge next year on March 28th, Palm Sunday.