Devizes Choir Rocks St Paul’s

by Gerry Lynch last modified 11 Jan, 2017 11:50 AM

Wilts choir with big youth membership sings Choral Evensong at historic London cathedral

2017 began with a bang for the choir and congregation of St John’s, Devizes, as 120 excited members of the church community headed to London on Wednesday 4 January to hear their choir sing Evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral.

The 22 children and 18 adults of the choir were joined by past members who returned specially for the occasion, taking the group to over 50 members. The excitement was furthered when good luck wishes were received over the airwaves from Tim Lihoreau on Classic FM and Petroc Trelawny on BBC Radio 3.

Having warmed up underground in the Choir Practice Room, just off the Crypt, it was soon time to head up to the Cathedral Floor to experience the incredible acoustics of St Paul’s, constantly checking the balance with visiting organist, Paul Carr, being led through the responses with the Precentor, Canon Michael Hampel, and rehearsing the procession with the Virgers.

At 5 pm, led out by Head Chorister, Chloe Hanna, the choir proceeded round to their places to find the dome and quire areas packed with supporters and tourists, including a visiting group of young schoolchildren from Dobwalls in Cornwall. The cathedral’s acoustics rang to the glorious sounds of Philip Moore’s Responses, a dramatic set of Psalms, Stanford’s majestic C major Evening Canticles and, last but not least, Mathias’s Sir Christèmas - a firm favourite among the youngsters!

St John’s Director of Music, Chris Totney, said, “The feeling afterwards was one of both ecstasy and virtual disbelief, as a day that had been looked forward to for so many months had come and gone in a flash.  But with elated supporters describing the service as ‘amazing’ and ‘breathtaking’ on the journey home, this was certainly one of those days that will live long in the memory for everyone who was fortunate enough to experience it.

“‘As Psalm 150 aptly puts it, “Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord!”’

Canon Paul Richardson, Rector of St John with St Mary, Devizes, added “They were great. This was a great experience for all the choir, and especially the youngsters. I am immensely proud of their achievements. There was a huge congregation with many tourists and none of them left disappointed.”

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