Church Day 2013 – Junior Course
A report from Josie Cresswell, Head Chorister at St Mary Magdalene
After registration and collecting our music we started off singing at St. James’ Church under the direction of Lindsay Gray. The first piece we sang was the lovely John Rutter’s ‘The Lord Bless You and Keep You’. As the piece progressed Lindsay explored how we should sing and respond to the demands of the piece, particularly following a legato line. He was also insistent on accurate pitching and soon the piece had a difference as it was more defined and accurate.
The next piece we sang was Handel’s magnificent ‘Zadok the Priest’, we ran through the piece first then might alternations and practice certain parts of the piece. Lindsay Gray had us all practising everyone’s runs during ‘God Save the King’ which turned out to be a lot of fun seeing who could last the whole phrase. Then we talked about dotting the notes and really making them crisp to create an excited feel. Despite the piece being difficult, we (the juniors) all came away exhilarated by the sound and size of the piece.
Now it was time for a break where everybody could mingle but not for us juniors! We were off to St. Mary’s for our own practice with Brian Cresswell. We started off by singing the beginging of Bob Chillcot’s ‘A Little Jazz Mass’ which is a great piece. We only sang the ‘Angus Dei’ movement but even that tested us with the triplet rhythms as well as us starting off the piece as the junior solo. We then moved to our solo item of the service which is the beautiful Vaughan Williams’ duet from ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ called “The Tree of Life” We started the piece off by singing the first section, the Branch Bearer, until the next voice, Cup Bearer came in which Lisa Tustian our ‘Leader’ would sing, before we joined together in the final section. Questions were being asked and laughter filled the room. We quickly ran over the hymns which we knew, then learned all the descants which were being used.
Lunchtime had arrived. We sat downstairs eating our lunch waiting for the adults to join us from their move over to St. Mary’s. Here we met Lisa Tustian who would be our leader in the afternoon. We started off by running over the Vaughan Williams piece and as as the service drew nearer and nearer we really pushed ourselves to do well. We then sang the Bob Chilcott again and finished that off which went really well. As well as this we sang through ‘The Lord Bless You and Keep You’ as well as ‘Zadok’. It was then time to join the adults again for the final rehearsal before tea and then the service. The last rehearsal went really well with all of us trying hard to create a nice tone and for our piece to go really well.
Tea time, there were homemade cakes and cups of tea which was really lovely and for us to join everyone again for some socialising. After tea had finished everybody sat in their seats ready for the service to start. It was a really lovely service with everybody following the lead of Lindsay Gray really well, creating a feel of a more professional choir! All of the junior solo’s went really well and was done with conviction. The whole service felt really special with the different genres of choral music with the more light-hearted Bob Chilcott to the beautiful tune of the adult piece ‘O Taste and Come and See’ to the glorious ‘Zadok the Priest’.