Choral Evensong at Stanwick St John

As 24 June is the Feast of St John the Baptist, celebrating his birth, and as it fell on a Sunday this year, we decided to hold a patronal festival and celebrate it with a Choral Evensong to be sung by our own choir with the choir of St Mary's Church, Richmond.

The benefice choir worked hard over several weeks to learn the canticles, to a setting by Ralph Vaughan Williams and anthem, a setting of the well known words Come down O Love divine by modern day composer Hilary Tadman-Robins

In addition they rehearsed the Ferial responses which some had not sung before and others had not sung for a very long time. We were delighted that out new tenor, Daniel Midcalf, was happy to be Cantor and was excellent at it. He ended up in the service also chanting the three Collects. Psalm chant too had not been used for several years and was completely new to some people.

On the day our own choir was joined by several members of St Mary's choir including several child trebles who sang beautifully, and we had lovely strong tenor and bass sections too. The choir stalls at Stanwick would not accommodate the enlarged choir so the choir sat in the front rows of pews and turned to the congregation to sing.

The organ playing was divided between Michael Moran abd Chris Denton though the instrument has developed a mind of its own and kept interrupting with a help note when it wasn't wanted.

Daniel, having volunteered almost at the last minute to chant the Collects was issued with two splendid copies of the Book of Common Prayer from the time of the Duchess of Nothumberland when they would have bee given to use on the altar or for the clergy to use without having to strain their eyes on the tine print of a congregational BCP.

Stanwick people were delighted that Stan and Kathryn Haworth had come to the service having seen details of it on our website. (That's what it's for, of course) Also several people, including a large group from Richmond, took advantage of the glorious weather to accept the invitation to picnic in the churchyard before or after the service. We also, with some difficulty as there was so much chatting going on, managed to round up the choir for some photographs. The lovely weather really helped here, too.

Our next service at Stanwick will be on 29 July when it is a fifth Sunday Eucharist.

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