The choir returned to the choir stalls after the Summer break with suitably renewed vigour and an eagerness to tackle the music of the new term.......well perhaps that's an exaggeration, but it was good to “get back to normal” on the first Sunday of September.

However, during the Summer, two of our members have moved away. Rebekah Marrow was, in fact, our youngest member having joined us when she was eight years old. We are grateful for her twelve years' service and wish her well as she moves to Worcester. Mark Wright-Davies has only been with us for a relatively short length of time, having joined the choir after attending a “Come and Sing” Palm Sunday event. We will miss his tenor voice and hope that his move to Clevedon is successful.

It was sheer coincidence that the funeral of Doreen Manning (at St Bartholomew's Coaley) and that of David Parfitt (at Wotton-under-Edge) fell on the same day (September 4th). Doreen was known to many at St James' as she sang with the choir as and when her duties as Choir Leader at Coaley permitted, and it was good to note a number of St James' choristers in the congregation for the service. David Parfitt was Director of Music at St Mary's Wotton from 2003 until April of this year when he retired. An accomplished and well-read musician he held several school and organ posts in the Bristol area.

Jonathan Hope's recital on the last Saturday in August was, as we have come to expect, first-class. It is encouraging to see that our cathedrals are still capable of attracting top class young musicians like Jonathan, but disappointing to see that Parish Churches are struggling to find similarly committed and talented musicians of any age! We are still looking for an Assistant Director of Music............

The term “musical treat” is, in my opinion, somewhat overworked, but I can't find a better one to describe the singing of the Gesualdo Six at the concert on September 3rd. That just six (occasionally five or seven) voices could sound so exquisite and fill the building with sound without raising their voices was truly inspirational. I couldn't help but compare the beauty of what they produced with television shows like The Voice, Britain's Got Talent and The X Factor as, in the Gesualdo Six there is real talent; no microphones; no backing tracks; no freaky outfits or zany choreography, just the sheer skill of using the God-given voice with a real empathy for ensemble. The last time I heard such excellence from an a cappella group was at the King's Singers' Tenth Anniversary Concert in 1978! The Gesualdo Six were singing at St James' as the last concert of their Summer Tour. If you missed them on this occasion, and we are fortunate enough to be included in a future tour, do make a point of hearing them!

At the time of writing we are awaiting a funding decision from the Cecil Adams Organ Fund, administered with an amazing veil of secrecy by the Diocese. I hope that we will be given a grant large enough to enable us to undertake some remedial work on the organ at a time when it is not over-used.

The annual Choir Dinner takes place as a lunch after the 10.00am Sung Eucharist on Sunday 15th October when, as ever, we will anxiously await the award of the Tambourine for the person responsible for the greatest number of misdemeanours during the year. I am not a gambler, but I reckon the odds are heavily in favour of those of us who inhabit the organ loft......... We shall see!

                                                                            Nigel Davies

Music for October

 1st    am    Cantique de Jean Racine – Fauré     
Woodard Service – Shephard

 8th    am    All-age Service

(At St Mark's)

         pm    Thou Visitest the Earth – Greene  Reading Responses
Stanford in Bb                           Jubilate in Bb – Stanford

15th   am    Jubilate Deo – Davies                
Mass of St James – Davies

22nd   am    Love Divine – Goodall                Darke in E

         pm    Locus Iste -Bruckner                  Bertalot Responses
Murrill in E                               Immortal Love - Davies

29th   am    The Spirit of the Lord – Elgar       Wadeley in G

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