Christopher Gray, director of music at the Cathedral, gave us a very warm welcome after we had assembled in the Quire and talked about the history and content of the service. We were then joined by the boys and men of the Cathedral Choir for an hour’s rehearsal, during which we were taken through Stanford’s Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in C, Parry’s “I was glad” and the hymn Now Thank We All Our God. This was when we were so glad that we had been well prepared for this by our music director, Martin Palmer, and Russell Pascoe.
Robin (TCS tenor) observed: “A memorable experience, singing with the brilliant Cathedral Choir. We can learn so much from new challenges such as forming two choirs. Impressive concentration was shown by the children as they rapidly learnt the music yet still watched the inspirational Christopher Gray.”
After rehearsal we remained in our seats while the Cathedral Choir left to put on their surplices and cassocks, and by 5.30pm, a good-size congregation had assembled for the start of Evensong. After a hushed silence, the Cathedral clergy and choir processed into the Quire and, for the next 45 minutes, we were privileged to be part of an event that none of us will forget.
TCS alto Joy said: “It was a great experience, and so intimate to be looking into all four sides of the choir instead of out to the congregation. Parry’s ‘I was glad’ was so celebratory, a real joy to sing, and Stanford’s Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis just so much part of the service.”
Our kind reviewer Judith Whitehouse, who also happened to be in the congregation, commented, “Now we just have to get you some cassocks and surplices!” And it is true to say that Gray made us feel welcomed and an integral part of his choir.
When Evensong ended, we had only 10 minutes to assemble in front of the High Altar to have a photograph taken, as another event was to follow at 6.30pm. We are lucky to have an excellent photographer in the choir (Crispin Geohegan, bass) and our thanks go to him for the beautiful images he captured.
The last word must go to local composer Russell Pascoe: “A truly memorable event. A superb performance of ‘I was glad’ and great to hear the Stanford at the correct tempo. I hope this will become an annual event.”