Compline at St John’s Carrington

Saturday 25th May 2013

We have held our service of Compline on alternate years at Clumber Chapel in the past but, because of other commitments by the National Trust, this year we elected to hold the event at St John’s Carrington in Nottingham. The church was radically re-ordered a few years ago and all 33 people who arrived at 1pm were very impressed by the superb acoustic which greeted us. As in the past we sang Compline mainly to plainsong, but on this occasion supplemented the chant with the fauxbourdon setting of the Nunc Dimittis by Carlos Andreas, and the Regina Coeli – an antiphon to the Blessed Virgin Mary – set in four parts by Antonio Lotti

We were able to arrange the seating so that the singing was done in collegiate style with sufficient singers to split all parts to each side. We were very fortunate with the weather and after two periods of practice had a photograph taken outside the west porch just prior to the service.

Our conductor and tutor for the afternoon was Dr Peter Siepmann, Organist and Director of Music at St Peter’s, Nottingham and the officiant was The Rev. Fr Jonathan MacGillivray, Vicar of St John’s Carrington. Peter Siepmann did a superb job, putting us all at ease in a musical environment that can be difficult using the ancient notation; we all coped with it well. We are very grateful for the hospitality in the form of tea, coffee etc. from the members of St John’s congregation during the afternoon.

Feedback from the event has been very encouraging and suggested this type of event is valued. It certainly has had increasing numbers each year which makes us happy to repeat it in the future:

Most enjoyable. Excellent reminder of the joys of plainsong in suitable acoustics. More please.

Saturday was magical – there is something special about plainsong which I hadn’t realised before and connects us back to monks from the past. I thoroughly enjoyed the day – with many thanks to the patience of our choirmaster!

This is the first RSCM sing that my choir of St Stephen’s Church, Sneinton has attended. It was well worth it. We all gained such a lot from it. We have nothing but praise for Dr Peter Siepmann in the very professional way he led the practice. I do hope we have the opportunity to sing again with the RSCM. We are not members of the RSCM but would be interested in becoming so and hearing about future events.

I should like to say how much I appreciated the opportunity to attend this afternoon’s event. Having come to choral singing rather late in life with negligible musical background, I continue to struggle with the basics of sight reading, but today’s conductor did not assume so much that I felt unable to participate at all. The event was also very well organised and, hopefully, I have learned something to take away.

David Cowlishaw RSCM Southwell & Notts Area Treasurer

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