A tale of two Abbey Choirs

Large robed church choir
Romsey and Sherborne Abbey Choirs

We were delighted to welcome the Choir of Sherborne Abbey and its Organist, John Padley, on 18 November for a joint Choral Evensong. It was preceded by a game of football between the Choristers at Embley Park School and a splendid tea prepared by Choir Mums.

Some fifty voices took part, making the nave of the Abbey reverberate in the crescendos of Balfour Gardiner’s Evening Hymn, yet also producing a focused sound in the quieter passages of the Psalm. We were pleased to see many Friends of the Choir and members of the wider congregation and look forward to paying a return visit to Sherborne next year.

We will go into the house of the Lord

The day after the visit by the Choir of Sherborne Abbey saw the farewell to Chris Rankine, Assistant Curate since 1998, who moves on to lead a parish in Andover. A stirring rendition of Parry’s I was glad sent him awaysuitably inspired, we hope, for his new role.

A time to remember

Prior to these festivities, however, we paused to remember the departed, the bereaved and those who paid the ultimate price of war. The Girls’ Choir led a Sung Eucharist on All Saints Day, for which they learned the Christchurch Mass by Malcolm Archer, organist at Wells Cathedral.

On the following Evening, All Souls, the Abbey Choir sang for a more sombre Eucharist and on Sunday 5 November, a Service for the Bereaved took place. This included the haunting Funeral Sentences by Purcell.

The following Sunday witnessed the Civic Service of Remembrance, attended by the Mayor and other dignitaries. The anthem was a movement from the Fauré Requiem, Libera me. An anthem available from this site in Real Audio, Remember for Good, O Father by Francis Jackson, featured at Evensong.