Well what can I say! It has been a marvellous culmination of a lot of hard work which has well and truly paid off. Spem in Alium was a brilliant success this evening on several counts.
Firstly, we sold out before the day, and people who turned up on the day without vouchers bought alcove seats in order to hear the music. We think we had at least 320 people in the audience (including a 2 week old baby who slept through it!). The sellout is testiment to the really good publicity we did and also the buzz amongst the singers during rehearsal which meant they wanted friends and family to come. It was a lovely way to reach out to a wider audience - there were many familiar faces, but also many I've never seen before.
Secondly, we sang all the big joint pieces (Parry, Shaw and Zadok) with enthusiasm and verve and Spem itself, where the 8 choirs hand the parts to each other and interweave in a complex fashion went very well the first time, and we did it as an encore at the end (with only one place where it came apart slightly). James and Andrew played recital pieces on the organ (which not surprisingly wasn't behaving itself in places - it does need refurbishment), the Deadwood Quartet, Quorum and Vivant all provided enjoyable variety to the programme, and the Parish Singers got through the Eccard without a hitch.
It was rather thrilling watching the church fill up - we had brought in extra chairs and there was a distinct atmosphere of anticipation in the audience and performers.
At the interval, wine and juice was available for suggested donations and I heard a lot of good comments from people. We had just sung Spem at the end of the first half, and comments included 'it made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end' and 'it made me cry it was so beautiful'. This spurred us on for the second half which went fine. Fr Ross and I sprang a surprise on David, James and Andrew after we sang the final piece listed in the programme by presenting them each with a bottle of wine. David was the inspiration behind the concert and also did all the organisation - really well. James and Andrew were responsible for the music and did a great job.
Afterwards the organ fund group members plus others who helped out on the day did all the tidying up, restoring the church layout in time for Sunday and washing up glasses. In fact that is one of the best triumphs of this whole event - we've worked together as a team to produce something memorable, and have raised a lot of money for the organ fund. We haven't done a final count yet, but David is pretty sure it is approaching £3,000.00 which is a wonderful result for one concert. Thank you everyone who helped in any way, and thank you to everyone who came along and supported us.