Compline at All Saints Pastoral Centre, London Colney

Compline 2007 © Chris Muhley

One of the most successful modules at the 2005 Area Convention had been that which dealt with the singing of plainsong. Sometimes regarded as too complicated for the amateur singer this was certainly not the case when a small number of members gathered in the vaulted chapel of All Saints Pastoral Centre, London Colney under the leadership of Fr. Kevin Goss, Vicar of All Saints' Hockerill.

Fr. Kevin trained as a professional organist before taking up the cloth and recently joined the diocese having previously been Precentor of Canterbury Cathedral. We are delighted that we have managed to recruit him to the Area committee.

Kevin took us skilfully through the Office of Plainsong, explaining neumes and tones of the four-lined notation with unfailing good humour and unfailing good voice. Besides the Office itself, we also sang Palestrina's Ave Maria as a four-part anthem to good effect in the chapel's generous acoustic. For this item the chapel's two manual Harrison & Harrison organ was put to good use.

After the rehearsal, tea and biscuits were welcomed by all singers as the chapel's heating system had failed and interim warmth was obtained from bottled gas heaters and radiant electric fires. With this in mind, it was decided not to robe for the service, but sing in outdoor wear. A good decision!

The service at 5pm sung by candlelight with limited electric light was a beautiful act of worship. It was unhurried and peaceful and generated an atmosphere which all who had attended are keen to see happen again. Perhaps the time of year proved to be an obstacle to fuller participation by greater numbers, or the choice of a Saturday afternoon. As always, we would welcome feedback from our membership as to the events you would like us to organise, for we are always keen to respond to demand.

Thank you to All Saints for making us so welcome and to Fr. Kevin Goss for his encouragement and entertaining asides.

*** Event reviewed by Chris Muhley ***

Some more photos of Compline 2007 © Chris Muhley