Music News April 2020
Please be aware that this was written for the April edition of our Parish News before we knew of the cancellation of events due to Coronavirus.
A final highlight of the Epiphany season was the singing of Bethlehem Star, music composed by one of our Junior Choristers, James Razzell. The words for the first verse came from Gerald Manley Hopkins’ poem which begins ‘Moonless darkness stands between’. James also wrote the words to the second verse.
Choral evensong on 9 February was a homage to Herbert Sumsion, with the service featuring his Responses, one of his 3 versions of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in G, and finally the motet They That Go Down to the Sea in Ships. This was particularly well timed, referring as it does to the trials of sailors being battered on the stormy seas, while Storm Ciara thundered on the church roof.
During February the choir and the brass group normally enjoy something of a pause between the festivals of Christmas and Easter, while preparing for the latter. Lenten services began with Choral Eucharist on Ash Wednesday, with the choir singing Purcell’s Hear My Prayer.
This year the choir will again be making a Devotional Offering, singing Bob Chilcott’s St John Passion at 7.30 pm on Good Friday, 10 April. In the meantime, we shall all be re-familiarising ourselves, with congregational hymns and choir motets from this setting during Holy Communion services in Lent, starting on 1 March.
By the time this edition of Parish News goes to print the annual AGM of the SMMA will have taken place (on Sunday 8th March). This year we hope to have amended the Constitution to make it clear that parents of Juniors and Choral Scholars are automatically members, as well as to revert to the four year term of office for Officers and to deal with the usual elections to the committee and the re-election of Steve Cass as our treasurer for a further term.
Looking further ahead, the choir is all set to sing evensong in Birmingham Cathedral on 20 June. This will not only give us the opportunity to sing in the cathedral, but also of course to see David and Jenny Tomlinson again. More details, including information about transport for members of the congregation, will be available in due course.