Virtual Choral Evensong on Zoom - July 26 2020 6:30pm

Update : You can see the video of the service at

or go to the RSCM St Albans, Hertford & Bedford Area page in Facebook to see videos of individual pieces. (The sound quality of the introit is better if you find the individual video of this in Facebook.)

The pieces are also in YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTyV1f2cuAlLc6r-EDXXVqA/featured

Many thanks to all who took part.

Service Details – share with your friends!

Revd. Canon Dennis Stamps, Rector of Harpenden, led the service. Revd. Jonathan Lloyd, Precentor of St Albans Cathedral, was Cantor. The organist for the service was Christopher Muhley and the St Albans Cathedral Organ Scholar Marko Sever played the closing voluntary on the cathedral organ – Orb and Sceptre by Walton.



The music was:
Introit God be in my head – Walford Davies
Psalm 150 Stanford
Responses Ayleward (in D)
Canticles – Brewer in D
Anthem – Expectans Expectavi by Wood
and hymns: How shall I sing that majesty and There’s a wideness in God’s mercy

If you would like to make a donation you can do so at https://www.gofundme.com/f/rscm-st-albans-area-virtual-choral-evensong.

RSCM Area Chamber Choir at St Albans Cathedral January 2020

The RSCM St Albans, Hertford and Bedford Area Chamber Choir sang evensong at St Albans Cathedral on January 4th. The conductor was Chris Muhley and the organist was the Revd Roy Woodhams.

The RSCM St Albans, Hertford & Bedford Area Chamber Choir
The Choir and Chris Muhley on the steps in the South Transept

The music was:

Responses: Radcliffe
Service setting: Sumsion in G
Anthem: Candlelight Carol ( Rutter )
Psalm 87
Hymn 84 (‘Brightest and best’, tune Epiphany)

Regional Evensong at Leighton Buzzard - report

Those who attended the Regional Evensong at All Saints, Leighton Buzzard, on 29th June enjoyed an uplifting and enjoyable rehearsal and service. The choir was well balanced including a range of ages; many belonged to the host church but other churches represented were St Paul’s Bedford, St John’s Boxmoor, Holy Trinity Leverstock Green, St Lawrence Abbots Langley, St Mary’s Hitchin and St John Baptist Markyate.


Hugh Morris conducted the rehearsal with a lively and engaging style, and the organist was Nicholas King who played with consummate skill. The music included Tomkins’ Responses, Canticles by Noble (in B minor), Holy is the true light by Harris, Lo, round the throne a glorious band by Ley as well as a psalm and hymns. The host church provided tea between the rehearsal and service.















Evensong was followed by an opportunity to ‘meet the director’ informally over a glass of wine or a soft drink, and Hugh Morris then addressed the participants giving an update on changes happening in the RSCM. There was a lively discussion. The event finished at about 7:30pm.

Taizé and Iona Workshop - Report

This was a very successful day held at St Mary’s Church, Ware On Saturday June 8th 2019. The event was run jointly by the East Herts Church Choirs Association (EHCCA) and the RSCM St Albans, Hertford & Bedford Area. The participants responded enthusiastically to the leadership of Miles Quick, the RSCM’s Head of Congregational & Instrumental Music; they particularly enjoyed learning to compose their own chants.



About 30 people took part including both singers and instrumentalists (guitars, clarinets, oboe, trumpet, violin). The day concluded with an act of worship involving all the participants and including two of the chants composed during the day.

Miles Quick leading the workshop

RSCM Area Chamber Choir at St Albans Cathedral December 2018

The RSCM St Albans, Hertford and Bedford Area Chamber Choir sang evensong at St Albans Cathedral on December 29th. The conductor was Chris Muhley and the organist was Nicholas King.

The music was:

Responses: Radcliffe
Service setting: Murrill in E
Anthem: Candlelight Carol ( Rutter )
Psalm 105, vv. 1-11
Hymn 52 (‘Glory to God’, tune Highwood)

ACF 2018 Report

107 singers attended the Area Choirs Festival at St Albans Cathedral on 13th October. Numbers being rather fewer than in previous years, the event was moved to the Quire, though this made for a much more cohesive and relaxed atmosphere.

Under the expert direction of Andrew Lucas, with Tom Winpenny at the organ, repertoire was drawn from this year’s RSCM King of Glory, King of Peace service book, covering a wide range from Renaissance to near-contemporary. Singers were provided with a copy of this excellent 186 page resource as part of the modest attendance fee and were enabled to purchase further copies for their choir libraries at cost price via the Area Committee, which represents a considerable saving for participating choirs. The Cathedral Choir, which led the event, also sang The Lord is my Shepherd by Lennox Berkeley.

During the service, certificates were presented to recent successful candidates in the Dean’s Award and Bishop’s Award. Hugh Morris, the new Director of the RSCM, came to present two Gold Medals to choristers from All Saints, Leighton Buzzard, and a Certificate of Special Service to Chris Muhley.

A selection of photographs from the event is reproduced below.

Your Committee was heartened by the generally positive response of the feedback forms which were received, though deeply disappointed at numbers attending, which were less than half the usual footfall (the more so as these included ten singers from choirs outside our area in Essex and Bristol, attracted by the notice in The Network). We had attempted to respond to previous comments that the spring or early summer are not favoured for the occasion, yet this change of date (constrained to some extent by the availability of the Cathedral during the autumn) did not generate any reaction from those who had expressed a previous preference for this time of the year, and seems to have put others off. As a result, a very substantial financial deficit was incurred, which severely constrains our financial resources for events in 2019.

Feedback about the service book and repertoire was almost entirely favourable; the only significant downside was from younger singers about encountering an item in Latin.

We noticed from the feedback forms that hardly any choirs had rehearsed the repertoire in their own churches, nor used it in their routine work. As the footfall for the regional rehearsals had only been just over half of those participating on the day, this meant that a large proportion of singers came without any prior preparation. This is a factor which we shall ponder in discussing any future Festival.

Comment was passed by some respondents that award recipients should not need to wait two years to receive their certificates at a Festival, and that we should arrange presentations at interim events. However, it is very unlikely that the Bishop or Dean could attend such occasions, even if recipients did (which on the evidence of the past two years is very questionable), and this step would only reduce even further the numbers attending to receive certificates from them at the Festival (there were only eight in each category present this year).

Given these issues, which reinforce disappointing numbers and financial losses at all other events during 2018, your Committee is anxious to hold conversations which will guide our future planning. We are therefore holding an open meeting early in the New Year to discuss a way forward for future events which will attract better support. This will take the form of an informal meeting at The Harpenden Arms in Harpenden on Tuesday 8th January from 8pm. The Harpenden Arms is on the corner of the High Street and Station Road, and within easy walking distance of Harpenden station.

We should be delighted to see RSCM members, choir directors and other interested people there for a get-together and a New Year drink.

ACF 2018 Photos

Some photos from the Area Choirs Festival at St Albans Cathedral

Area Chamber Choir weekend at St Albans Cathedral

The Area Chamber Choir again had the privilege of sing the services at St Albans Cathedral on Saturday September 8th 2018 (the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary) and Sunday September 9th. We sang Evensong both days and the Sung Eucharist on the Sunday morning.

 
We began by rehearsing in the Song School in the Deanery before moving down to the glorious acoustic of the Cathedral.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The music included
Saturday 8th Evensong
Rose Responses
Walmisley in D minor
Hymn to the Virgin (Britten)

Sunday 9th 11.15am Choral Eucharist
Darke in F
Sacerdotes Domini (Byrd)

Sunday 9th 6.30pm Evensong
Rose Responses
Stanford in B flat
Save us, O Lord (Bairstow)

as well as psalms and hymns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a thoroughly enjoyable weekend and we are grateful to our director Chris Muhley and Nicholas King who played the organ, and to Helen Carter for her administrative work.

We will sing at the Cathedral again on Saturday December 29th.

Safari Evensong Report and Pictures

Singers preparing to rehearse at Chipperfield

An enjoyable Safari Evensong was held on the afternoon of Sunday 10th June, marking RSCM Music Sunday, in three rural churches of Rickmansworth deanery at St. Lawrence, Bovingdon, Holy Cross, Sarratt and St. Paul, Chipperfield. Some twenty singers from seven choirs assembled for a general rehearsal at Chipperfield before setting out in convoy to sing BCP Evensong in instalments at the three churches, finishing back at Chipperfield and concluding with a generous tea provided by helpers from that church.

Bovingdon Church

The music, chosen to suit those participating, centred around canticles in D by Charles Wood and the anthem O how amiable are thy dwellings, commissioned from Malcolm Archer for the centenary of St  John, Harpenden in 2004. Ferial responses were used, alongside psalm 15 and four hymns, the whole event also commemorating the Eve of St. Barnabas.

 

Roger Carter preparing to conduct at Sarratt

Roger Carter directed the choir, with Nicholas King at the three very different organs. Rev Charles Burch officiated at Bovingdon, and Rev Michele du Saire at Sarratt and Chipperfield; we are grateful to both for their positive support and encouragement of the venture. We were pleased to attract reasonable numbers in the congregations (including some who travelled round with us); at Sarratt, the event coincided with their Village Day and a flower festival at the church, enhancing the enjoyment of the occasion for all concerned.

Singers at Sarratt where a Flower Festival was being held

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We received feedback which was almost unreservedly positive, especially regarding the choice of music and the relaxed atmosphere of the afternoon. There could have been a little more breathing space in what turned out to be quite a tight schedule; and although the intention had been to learn the music on the day, some would have welcomed a longer period to prepare. We take these (and other) points on board for planning a repeat event elsewhere in our Area.

Nicholas King

 

Nicholas King at the console at Chipperfield

At Chipperfield after evensong

Instrumental Workshop at Bedford - pictures

The instrumental workshop led by Miles Quick on May 2nd at The Holy Child & St Joseph  R C Church in Bedford was well attended.  The parishes represented were All Saints Church Kempston,  St Barts RC Church St Albans, St Mary the Virgin Stotfold , St Mary’s Wootton , St Peter de Merton Bedford,  St. Thomas of Canterbury Letchworth, and St Andrew’s Bedford as well as the home church,  The Holy Child & St Joseph.   The instrumentalists played violin, guitar, flutes, keyboard, clarinet, and saxophone and there were also a number of singers.  The church and their priest Father Seamus Keenan were very welcoming and hospitable. Feedback will be published in due course, but my impression was that everyone had a thoroughly good time.