Evensong Delights at St Paul’s Cathedral
On Wednesday 19 April, the RGS Chamber Choir enjoyed a trip to London to sing Evensong in St Paul’s Cathedral. This trip is an annual highlight in the Music Department calendar and once again proved a great success.
Following a journey by bus and lunch in a local restaurant, the Chamber Choir arrived at the magnificent St Paul’s Cathedral to rehearse in the song school, located below ground in the crypt. Before the service itself, there was time for the Choir to spend time looking around the main Cathedral and climb the 528 steps to the very top of the Cathedral dome, where incredible panoramic views of London were enjoyed in the Spring sunshine.
The service, at 5.00pm, saw the Chamber Choir sing the set of Responses by John Reading, verses from Psalm 119 and a beautiful setting of the hymn ‘Be Thou My Vision’ by Bob Chilcott. The setting of the ‘Magnificat’ was by David Bevan and saw the text split into twelve verses, juxtaposing choral polyphony with solo verses, one each sung by Ben Sears, Martha Burdon, Catherine Broadbent, Aoife Smith, Will Hulbert and Liv Sireshuk. The Choir completed the service by singing Holst’s ‘Nunc Dimittis’ which they performed in Worcester Cathedral in March; the drama of this piece was amplified by the acoustics of the Christopher Wren building, with the echoes of some of the loud major chords lasting for seconds before the piece continued.
Of the day, Isabelle Jones, a soprano in Year Ten for whom this was the first trip to St Paul’s, said: “I found St Paul’s a really beautiful space to sing in and the acoustics were amazing. My Grandad, who lives in London, came to the service and, overall,l it was a really enjoyable day with the Choir”.
Of the twenty-four pupils who formed the Chamber Choir for this service, sixteen were supported by family members in the congregation, making this a truly special service for many. We thank former RGS-Chemistry teacher Mr John Wilderspin for playing the organ at the service, and we congratulate the Choir, particularly some Upper Sixth students for whom this was their final performance.