Come and Sing Coronation Anthems at Pocklington Church with the Stamford Bridge Singers Saturday 21 April 2018
“ ….and above all I want you to have fun” so ended Stuart Nettleship’s introduction to the Come and Sing Coronation Anthems on Saturday 21 st March.
Come and Sing was a new venture for Stamford Bridge Singers, and nearly 90 singers turned up to spend a day singing. The choice of music was an attractive mix of very well-known choral classics, together with some less well-known pieces, and the fact that linked them all together was that they had been sung at least once for a Royal Coronation. After a short warm up, the massed choir quickly rehearsed the better known anthems, including the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah and “Zadok the Priest”. Although the singers were encouraged to spare their voices, the sound of this large choir echoed around the large church in Pocklington and even attracted visitors into the church from outside.
After a short but welcome break there two less well-known pieces were sung through, another Handel anthem “ Let thy Hand be Strengthened” and William Boyce’s reflective anthem “ Come Holy Ghost”. The final piece to be rehearsed was the challenging Handel anthem : “ My Heart is Inditing”. This proved to be quite tricky, but the massed ranks rose well to the challenge.
There was time in the afternoon for a final run through with Geoffrey Coffin on the organ, before the doors were open to friends and members of the public for a free concert. Because of the size of the choir the church was turned around and the audience sat either in the transepts or in the choir, with the choir sitting in the pews. In this way the small, but appreciative audience caught the full force of the opening to “Zadok the Priest” , and also enjoyed the “Allelujah” at the end of the second Handel anthem,” Let Thy Hand be Strengthened”. The William Boyce anthem “Come Holy Ghost” was a much quieter piece and the choir, particularly the seven heroic tenors, achieved a beautiful, softer sound, which was difficult to do with so many singers. A quartet of soloists started the challenging anthem “My Heart is Inditing”, and some of the passages which earlier in the day were problematic were sung with gusto. Geoffrey Coffin played the organ splendidly throughout, but his skill came to the fore at the start of the Parry “I was Glad”. Finally, most people stood, as is traditional, for the Hallelujah chorus which reverberated around All Saints Church, and provided a fitting end to a good day’s singing.
The organisers of this event deserve much thanks; audience and singers alike left the church smiling, and fun had certainly been had.