So the question now is – when is it a good time for the choir to start practicing for the Christmas Carol Service, or the Advent Carol Service?
Well, amidst a couple of groans from the back row, we dragged out a new carol last week, which will get its’ first St M’s outing at our Carol Service in December – so do we get the prize for the first rehearsal of a carol – in October?! If ‘Poundland’ can be playing Christmas muzak in October – then surely we can start preparing now?!
Here is our November Music List (subject to change, due to winter flu, inclement weather, subject to availability, while stocks last, etc). I know as soon as you ‘publish’ something like this, you are at the mercy of your choristers resisting the winter sniffles and snoffles, parties, visits to families in far-off places etc! So, like all D of M’s up and down this country, I reserve the right to change the programme on the day!
We have all really enjoyed learning “We will remember them” (Elgar), as we prepare for our Civic Remembrance Service.
This is a new anthem for us, and to my mind is the most beautiful setting of the Laurence Binyon’s infamous words “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them”. (From “For the fallen”, written 1914). I shall let you know how this service goes later.
For many in the choir, our trip to Ypres, the WWI war graves and the Menin Gate in 2011 will be a life-long reminder of the sacrifice made by so many young men, their names etched on the gate and their graves laid in seemingly never-ending rows in the war cemeteries. For those who have experienced this, and for our choir, it stresses for us the importance of Remembrance Sunday in our church’s year.
St Mary’s Choir had the privelige of taking part in the ‘Last Post’ ceremony at the Menin Gate in 2010, singing Parry’s ” My soul, there is a country”, (choir directed by Peter Tryon).
As we move through November, we shall learn the fabulous “Save us, O Lord” (Bairstow), another beautiful anthem that the boys are particularly enjoying. We also have a Men’s voices Choral Evensong with ‘Wood in G’ (canticles) and ‘Abide with me’ (Monk).
Then, in preparation for Advent, the Advent ‘O’ antiphons (never done before at St M’s, and suggested by our Choir Director, DB). Also ‘Prepare ye the way’ ( Robinson ) – a new one to me.
So that’s all for now – I promised to write more about the various choirs at St M’s, which I shall do in the next blog.
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