Choir Report 2015
Although there may not have been dramatic changes in the choir, 2015 has been a very busy year, and there was scarcely a dull moment, as the following statistics may reveal:
We sang 92 services in Abergavenny, with a further five elsewhere; we learnt twelve new anthems for Sunday services, with a further nine new pieces for Advent/Christmas and the small matter of Schumann’s Requiem for Good Friday and a Mozart Mass setting for our concert on October. In total during the year we sang 112 anthems/introits, 240 hymns and 66 psalms. A repertoire of this size means that choristers have to be able to process a lot of music very quickly, and it is greatly to their credit that they cope so well.
We were sad to lose the services of Sylvia Jones, Anne Parr and Sir Trefor Morris, who, after many years of faithful service have decided to hang up their cassocks! However, we were delighted during the year to gain two new altos, with Mairwyn and Tricia joining our ranks; having had at best two altos for many years, these additions are more than welcome! We have also re-established a regular social event after choir practice once a month, which has been great fun. Finally, from September, we have added in regular Friday evening services at 7.00 pm to our schedule; with Evensong on the 2nd and 4th Fridays, Vespers with treble voices on the 1st Friday, and Compline with men’s voices on the 3rd. These services have been our contribution to the work of the Holywell Community, and also provide some wonderful moments of calm at the end of a busy week.
Our Singing Week for 2015 was a week’s residency at Salisbury Cathedral, and was great fun and thoroughly enjoyed by all. We sang Evensong every day, and received some great compliments from the cathedral staff. We were well looked after at the Cathedral School, with some of the adults sleeping at Sarum College. As always a busy programme of rehearsing and relaxing saw our youngsters swimming in Romsey, playing Laser-tag in Southampton and a wide game in the New Forest. Despite weather that was relentlessly damp, we didn’t let it affect our levels of enthusiasm, and now look forward to a “home” tour in 2016.
As always, the major church festivals saw us extremely busy with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Eve and Easter Day keeping us on our toes at Eastertide (the equivalent of approximately 3½ hours of singing over four days), and the Advent Carols, and Nine Lessons & Carols services at Christmas. Despite the sheer quantity of singing required, these points in the year are so special that no-one wants to be left out, and the extra work it generates is just an accepted part of what we do!
The pace is not likely to slacked through 2016; if anything the diary looks busier than ever, but as our choristers gain in confidence and continue to strive for even better singing, somehow it just seems so worthwhile. My thanks to them all for their hard work and great commitment, and to all those who support us in all we do.