Rehearsals going well… just 2 weeks to go

We have just one more half-day rehearsal for our concert on Saturday 14th October, and we’re really enjoying the music. Last Saturday was the first in ‘seating plan’ – the point when we find out just how well we know our parts!

The Jonathan Dove piece ‘Seek Him that maketh the Seven Stars’ is a highlight. We’re sung it twice before, one of which was at Westminster Abbey. In fact there’s a Westminster Abbey thread going on … it was there we first sang Andrew Carter’s ‘Wakefield Service’, which we’ll be opening the concert with. Oddly enough, when we submitted to sing it there again on a subsequent occasion, it was vetoed! Surely nothing to do with our rendition? Nick thinks it’s because the words are non-traditional. The other WA connection is that we’re singing Paul Mealor’s setting of ‘Ubi Caritas’, which was written for the wedding of William and Kate at the Abbey in 2011.

Meanwhile the Vaughan Williams Mass in G Minor has grown on us considerably (well, on me at least!) Once we got our heads around the layout, being in two choirs plus a solo quartet – so you turn the page and have to navigate to your line, which isn’t always where you think it is – it’s all sounding lovely. We’re very lucky to have a depth of excellent soloists among our number.

Britten’s ‘Hymn to St Cecilia’ is also sounding very good, with lots of exciting moments, but plenty of tricky ‘new’ chords to land on, not to mention long, high, quiet sequences where you have to work very hard not to lose pitch. There’s a really interesting story about this piece, and the words (by W H Auden) here.

It’s going to be fantastic with Hamish accompanying us. Everyone seems to be talking about him at the moment, definitely the organist du jour. He’ll be bringing his amazing improvisation skills to the programme. We’re devised the two halves to be roughly symmetrical, and to run as two ‘mysterious’ sequences. It won’t be your usual concert experience!

All we need to do now is sell more tickets! It’s not Mozart or Vivaldi, but it’s exciting (and moving) music, so fingers crossed.

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