Regional Festal Evensong, Boxmoor: A Review

St John's Boxmoor, Hertfordshire
Sunday 23rd November 2008 14.45 - 18.30

St John's Boxmoor

The afternoon of Sunday 23rd November was a typical autumn day - raining with a strong wind! However, on entering St. John's Boxmoor, we were immediately transformed by a warm bright church and the hospitality of Nicholas King, the Director of Music.

After robing with cassocks in the Parish Hall, around 52 choristers from 10 local affiliated choirs assembled in church and we were able to make balanced Decani and Cantoris choirs.

David Ireson, our conductor for the afternoon, a Lay-Clerk at St. Albans Abbey and Founder/Director of the Fayrfax Consort, then rehearsed us for the service, paying particular attention to dynamic detail in Harris' Holy is the true light; clarity and unity in Psalm 97 (Lawes); balance and intonation in the Carter Responses; and further dynamic detail/tempo changes in the Sumsion in G Canticles.

Tea and cakes were provided in the Parish Hall thanks to the generosity of the St. John's parishioners.

Fortified by the excellent tea, we donned surplices and re-assembled in the church for Choral Evensong. The service was led by Revd. James Reveley, Vicar of St. John's. The first lesson was read by Christopher Muhley, RSCM St. Albans Diocesan Committee Chairman, and the second lesson was read by Lydia Hart, Head Chorister of St. Mary's, Hemel Hempstead. A stimulating address was given by the Venerable Jonathan Smith, Archdeacon of St Albans and the Intercessions were led by Revd. David Lawson, Rural Dean of Hemel Hempstead and Team Rector of Chambersbury Team Ministry.

The concluding voluntary, Carillon, op. 31 no. 21 from "24 pieces en style libre" by Louis Vierne was played superbly by Bridget Philpott, Chorister of St. John's, Boxmoor and was rewarded by an enthusiastic round of applause from choir and congregation at its conclusion.

Our grateful thanks to all who took part in this Choral Evensong , which concluded this year's "Music at St. John's" Festival. Special thanks to the Vicar of St. John's, Boxmoor for inviting the RSCM to take part, the Archdeacon of St. Albans and Rural Dean of Hemel Hempstead for their contributions, and finally David Ireson, for his inspired and clear conducting with Nicholas King providing a very professional accompaniment.

The whole service was thoroughly enjoyed by all present.

Derek Cann

Some photos from the event © Chris Muhley