Last week I had the honour of singing Evensong at Chichester Cathedral with my choir, the Paddock Singers. It was truly thrilling, from travelling on the train from Lewes to Chichester as an excitable group (it has been a couple *ahem* years since I went on a school trip), to rehearsing in the beautifully quaint music room, to actually singing in the quire stalls in the Cathedral with a handful of friends and family as well as general Evensong goers.
It never ceases to amaze me what can be done with the human voice and hearing the chant-like singing of the senior clergyman as he intoned the blessings was rather wonderful. Responding, as a choir, with the relevant responses was also pretty special. Even singing the Psalm (something that had been a struggle to get to grips with in rehearsals) was brilliant. My absolute favourite was the anthem we chose – ‘The Lord Bless You and Keep You’ by John Rutter. If I had a choral hero, it would be he and the arrangement we sang is hauntingly beautiful.
The photo to the right is the view from the quire stalls – right above us was this beautiful and utterly imposing organ. Yes, we got to sing with a proper church organ as our accompaniment. Wow. And, bonus amazing light fitting too. At no point did I want to get a picture of the organ alone, I loved and couldn’t take my eyes off the juxtaposition of the two.
Fascinatingly, Chichester Cathedral manages to be both a huge, beautifully constructed, spacious building you can feel your soul soar up into as you stand within and also to feel entirely and soothingly intimate all at the same time. I have no idea how that works, but I will remember the feeling of being and singing there for a long time.
I must say a huge thank you to The Paddock Singers and our conductor Ruth Kerr – I have been a member of the choir for at least 4 years now and I enjoy it so much. When I dropped almost all social engagements in my life due to a crazy work/travel-non-life-balance singing with the choir was one of the few things I kept up with. We have sung as part of some amazing performances and in wonderful places. Singing in a group helps me create a sense of peace matter how anxious I feel and working towards a performance together is fun and brings me out of my own petty concerns.
More pics from me here – I was joyously snapping with my little camera in such a beautiful place: https://www.flickr.com/photos/30586296@N05/sets/72157648512813008/