Goldington Regional Festal Evensong: Event Review

An RSCM Regional Festal Evensong was hosted on Sunday 8th May 2011 by the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Goldington, Bedford.

The choir, conducted by Rufus Frowde (Organist and Assistant Director of Music at the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace) and accompanied by Martin Hart (Assistant Director of Music at Dunstable Priory and Director of the Priory Girls’ Choir), sang from the gallery of the church. In the short amount of rehearsal time available to them they managed to produce a magnificent rendering of the Anthem, ‘Great is the Lord’, by Elgar and sensitive singing of the Smith five part responses and the Canticles (Dyson in F).

The service ended with the hymn, ‘Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken’ to the Tune ‘Abbot’s Leigh’. The congregation at St Mary’s greatly appreciated the opportunity to be a part of this unique opportunity of worshipping in the company of such wonderful music, and all left feeling greatly uplifted by the experience.

Here is a personal recollection of the event, from a participant.

Sunday 8 May was bright and sunny (contrary to Andy Benoy’s gloomy forecast). A group of 30 singers from across the Diocese gathered at St Mary the Virgin, Goldington in Bedford for the latest RSCM Regional Evensong. Thank you to those who organised this event.

It was a real privilege to work under the baton of Rufus Frowde with Martin Hart at the organ. The rehearsal was longer than usual but Rufus’s positive attitude and enthusiasm was infectious and time just flew by. There was much to learn. Smith’s 5 part responses and Dyson in F were familiar to some, but Rufus’s close attention to detail raised the standard and drew us together as a choir rather than as a disparate group of singers.

The anthem, Elgar’s Great is the Lord, was a first for everyone apart from the soloist David Willink (bass). With everything to learn, those who had done their homework and looked at it before the day were a great boon! Despite the steep learning curve Rufus led us to sing ‘with the spirit and understanding.’ The congregation really appreciated the music and felt that it moved worship to a different plane.

It was good to meet up with old friends and make new ones as we enjoyed the high class tea, sandwiches and cakes generously provided by St Mary’s. Thank you.

If you’ve not attended an Area Regional Evensong before I commend it to you. Even if you’re not sure about singing it’s worth attending just for the cakes and camaraderie!

3 comments to Goldington Regional Festal Evensong: Event Review

  • Goldington fan

    Goldington was brilliant. Conductor and organist amazing. Music a challenge but that’s good (nice not to have have endless middle C’s and B flats). The fact that numbers were small meant we all had to work really hard as every single voice counted. Also it was friendlier – chance to talk to lots of folk and people mixed so well.

    Thank you for organising it and thank you to Goldington for hosting us and the mega-tea.

  • Helen Carter

    I was persuaded to make the long journey to Goldington from East Herts by Andy’s pleading email, and am I glad I did!
    Rufus and Martin were fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed the rehearsal, which seemed to go very fast. The tea was superb (thanks are due to the ladies who provided it) and the people were friendly and welcoming.
    Top marks to Marie for organizing the event.
    I echo the remarks of the reviewer, if you haven’t tried a regional evensong, do make the effort. It will be worth it!

  • Anonymous

    The anthem was very challenging and not as easy to listen to for the congregation (as was reported to me). Personally I too would have preferred a more “tuneful” anthem which felt uplifting to sing and listen to. However, a great pleasure and honour to sing with other chorestors and to be conducted by Rufus.