Tuesday, 17 December 2013

St Mary´s Church Advent Concert.

The east door of St Mary´s Church on a dark night in December. 

Fortunately I live near beside this church, so I had a very short walk on Wednesday evening to join my friends in the choir to sing in our Advent concert.  The concert began with Palestrina´s Matin Responsory, a lovely work written in the 16th century.  A cantor sang words on a single note, and the choir then joined in with more decorative notation.  We sounded wonderful in the spacious acoustic of the church.  

We sang several solos pieces for choir only, and the audience was able to join in when we sang several  well known Advent music.   Devizes has three huge medieval churches, two of which are used for the main services.  St Mary´s is redundant, although one service a week is held here to keep the building in use.  

After the concert, the audience enjoys wine and mince pies.
The church was full, even though our event coincided with the Mayor´s annual carol service being held in the Corn Exchange.

Plans are afoot to change the church into an arts centre for the use of local choirs and arts groups.  Lovely plans for a small extension with a kitchen and other necessary facilities were recently produced, which were turned down at a recent planning meeting!  Such a shame, as the building will now stand unused for six days a week.  The church authorities hope to challenge the planners` decision, so that this space will no longer go to waste.

The Victorian organ is still in good working order.

We sang works with piano and organ accompaniment, and during the evening our conductor and accompanist played two solo pieces on the piano.  One was a "Choral Prelude" by my friend JS Bach, and the other, "Sleigh Ride," by Leroy Anderson, a really jolly piece to end the concert.   We all had a wonderful evening.

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