StonyLive 2010 has begun, the church band played a lunchtime concert on Thursday for the Church restoration fund and on Saturday 5th June Andante returned to sing for us, this time for the Willis organ (their Valentine concert was for the baby Grand piano fund). The programme for the 5th June concert was entirely Elgar - it was a tribute as this week marked the anniversary of this great British composer's birthday (2nd June).

Andante is a local choir that raises money for good causes.  It is purposefully a small ensemble (14-16 singers) and at this concert was conducted by Roger Windmill and accompanied by Ed Tomlinson on the piano or Roger Carter on the organ.  It was not possible to play the two instruments together because the organ is not at concert pitch, the opportunity to do so at the February concert was brought about by the extreme coldness of the weather and humidity factors in the building at the time which affected the two instruments in different ways.  By contrast the 5th June concert was at the end of warm, hazy day and as Roger and Ed demonstrated, trying to sing with both instruments would be painful to the ears!

The programme ran as follows:

  • Andante: 'Fear not O Lord' (organ and choir)
  • Piano Duet: 'Chanson de matin' (Ed Tomlinson and Roger Windmill)
  • Piano Solo: 'Chanson de Nuit' (Ed Tomlinson)
  • Solo:  'Pleading' (Chrissie Clift)
  • Andante: 'My Love dwelt in a northern land'
  • Andante: 'As torrents in summer'
  • Quartet: 'Love'
  • Quartet: 'O happy eyes'
  • Organ: 'A vesper voluntary' from the 11 vespers (Roger Carter)
  • Andante: 'Ave Verum' (with organ)
  • Andante: 'The Spirit of the Lord' (with organ)
  • Solo: 'Where corals lie' (Hilary O'Donoghue)
  • Andante, piano duet and audience: 'Pomp and Circumstance March No 4 in G'
  • (preceded briefly by the audience being taught 'He banged the leather for goal' - the football chant composed by Elgar who was an avid supporter of Wolverhampton Wanderers)
  • Interval
  • Andante: 'Songs from the Bavarian Highlands' (Elgar in Germanic mode)
    1. The Dance
    2. False Love
    3. Lullaby
    4. Aspiration
    5. On the Alm
    6. The Marksmen
  • Andante, piano duet and audience: 'Pomp and Circumstances March No 1 in D'

David had put up bunting around the refreshments and for the final item the audience was given some more 'red, white and blue' bunting to hold aloft as they sang 'Land of hope and glory'.   We had a screen with some Elgar images projected onto it which had been very kindly provided by the Elgar birthplace museum for a small fee (thank you Ray for loaning the data projector).  Most of the organ fund committee helped in some way at the concert, and Andrew got the organ working on Saturday afternoon when it refused to play during the choir's practice session due to the continued deterioration of console wiring which is becoming increasingly problematic.   I watched as Roger played his organ solo.  Andrew was standing alongside him and pushed up sticking console keys on a couple of occasions to prevent notes holding on when they shouldn't.  Fortunately apart from that, the organ worked at the concert.

60 people were in the audience.  There were 7 organ fund committee members and 17 performers involved.  I am delighted to announce that the total raised (after expenses were taken into account) was £376.90 towards the refurbishment of the Willis organ.  I would like to thank Andante, Roger W, Ed, Roger C and all the organ fund committee and helpers for making the concert such an enjoyable success.

All the other StonyLive concerts in St Mary & St Giles are for the church restoration fund to preserve our beautiful church and provide the new hall, currently being built.  There is a wonderful variety of music on offer this coming week in our church (some using either piano or organ) as part of the annual music festival and everyone is welcome.