Recent events

Evensong in Winchester Cathedral on 3 June 2017

The choir and its faithful supporters had a splendid day out in Winchester. We went by coach and took picnic lunches with us, which we ate on the cathedral lawn amid a Pentecostal funfair which included a Winchester Cathedral bouncy castle!

The cathedral staff made us welcome and contrived to make us feel special – as indeed in some sense we were, since none of the choral music in the service had been heard before in Winchester. It included the Denis Browne Evening Service that we sang at Southwark, and a newly-minted set of preces and responses from our very own James Cryer. The anthem was ‘O Rex Gloriae’ by Charles Wood, newly edited by Richard Lyne from the original manuscript. The voluntary was Carillon by Vierne.

We knew the music well, so we could relax and concentrate on matching our voices to the splendid acoustic. Someone remarked afterwards that we sounded as good as the resident choir. Sheer flattery of course, but nice to hear in the excited aftermath of the service.

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Evensong in Southwark Cathedral on June 4th 2016

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Our second visit to this beautiful place began with a leisurely lunch in the refectory, followed by a rehearsal in the song school, as before. The magic only began when we moved out to the choir stalls: perhaps we were less overawed than previously, or perhaps we knew the music better, but there can be no doubt that our voices grew in power and assurance to fill that great space, and we made a joyful noise that echoed to the roof vaults far above us.

In honour of Her Majesty’s birthday the introit was ‘The Queen shall rejoice’, composed for the coronation of Queen Anne in 1702 by William Turner. The responses were Smith, and we sang Psalm 46 to a chant written for the occasion by our very own James Cryer.

The service was by Lt. William Denis Browne, who had been organ scholar at Clare College, Cambridge. He was killed in France at the age of 27 exactly 101 years ago. It was chosen by Richard both for the quality of the music and as a tribute to a young life so tragically cut short. Denis Browne’s great-nephew was in the congregation to hear it.

The anthem was ‘Do not be afraid’ by Philip Stopford, which has become a choir favourite in recent months, and indeed has become an ear-worm to some of us.

Grateful thanks are due to our director of music, Richard Lyne, and organist James Cryer. Thanks also to the many members of the All Saints congregation and choir parents who took the trouble to come and listen to us, and to the cathedral staff, who as before were welcoming and helpful in every way.

Come and Sing Haydn’s ‘Creation’

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On Saturday 16th January 2016 we held a Come and Sing event for Haydn’s oratorio ‘Creation’, and invited Brian Kay to rehearse us and conduct the performance. Over 100 singers took part, and judging from the number who brought their own copies, many of them had sung the work before. This was confirmed in the performance itself: Brian thought it one of the best he had heard from a scratch choir on a single rehearsal, and was especially impressed by the quality of the tenors. The soloists were Sarah Cryer, Gerald Place, Chris Williams and our very own Jonathan Haswell; the organist was James Cryer. Almost all the All Saints choir adults were present, as were two of the junior choir members, which was very gratifying.All Saints has a well-deserved reputation for the quality of the refreshments we offer our guests, which was triumphantly upheld on this occasion: several guests were expressed surprise that so much could be provided for an entrance fee of only £10.

Altogether it was a most enjoyable and educational afternoon, and one which has cemented our church’s reputation as a centre for such events, both with the local singing fraternity and with Brian Kay himself, who has now been to us several times, and was clearly delighted with the turnout and the quality of the singing.

Captain Noah and his Floating Zoo

On Sunday 14th June 2015 there was a barbecue, after which the choir performed Joseph Horovitz’s evergreen children’s cantata to an enthusiastic audience. Jonathan Haswell and Peter Stanford took the key roles of God and Noah, and there were cameo roles for Alice Norrington, Merle Fraser and Charlotte Hillier. James accompanied on the piano, and brought along a couple of percussionist friends, who greatly enhanced the impact of the music.

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Singers’ Workshop

On Saturday 11th October 2014 at 11 o’clock the junior members of All Saints’ Choir arrived for the first session of what proved to be an exciting and inspiring day working with JAN COXWELL – a highly experienced singer, teacher and conductor who for many years was first soprano of the renowned Tallis Scholars.The first session started with movement (all round the church!), breathing and singing exercises, including a round to actions, called the Hand Jive.

At the coffee break the adult members of the choir, and some members of the other Parish choirs arrived and were taught the dances and vocal exercises, followed by some rousing renditions of O thou the central orb by Charles Wood.

After a much needed lunch break, the adults gathered together in a circle to work on Mudd’s Let thy merciful ears O Lord and Victoria’s O quam gloriosum before being joined by our Organist, James Cryer, for Fauré’s Cantique de Jean Racine.