Two Abbey Choirs in festival Choral Evensong

Stanford’s anthem The Lord is my Shepherd formed the centrepiece of this year’s joint Choral Evensong on the third Sunday of Easter at Sherborne Abbey with its choir. A delightful example of word painting that we learned for the occasion, this setting of Psalm 23 begins in pastoral vein, the organ accompaniment evoking a rustic dance. The mood darkens to depict the walk through the ‘valley of the shadow of death’ before a fugue affirms the loving kindness of the Lord, subsiding to the pastoral mood of the opening in the closing bars.

Numbering over fifty singers, the combined choir delivered an impressive climax to the Gloria patri of Dyson’s Magnificat in D, whilst rendering the opening of the companion Nunc dimittis with sensitivity. Similar variety of tone and sentiment was achieved in the evergreen responses by Bernard Rose.

Joseph Sentence, organist of Sherborne Abbey, conducted the service, part of the annual Sherborne Festival. The Vicar of Sherborne, Canon Eric Woods, presided. The service once again presented an ideal opportunity to cement links, not least over the generous tea laid on by the Mothers’ Union after the service. We look forward to welcoming our Sherborne colleagues back to Romsey in the autumn.