Compline at St Swithun’s, Woodborough

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Saturday 8th November 2014

Following last March’s edition of our annual ‘Come and Sing Compline’ event, a request was made by the music and ministry team in Woodborough for a workshop at St Swithun’s Church. The RSCM Committee is delighted by the interest surrounding plainsong in our region, and it was a great pleasure to facilitate a ‘Come and Sing Compline’ event in Woodborough on 8th November. An introduction to the origins of Compline and plainsong was followed by an exploration of square notation and stylistic concerns involved in singing psalms, hymns and responsories elegantly. Morley’s fauxbourdon setting of the Nunc Dimittis acted as an interesting illustration of the development of plainsong into Anglican Chant, and the choir also learned the Kyrie from Charles Wood’s Mass in the Phyrgian Mode.

Singers at St Swithun's, Woodborough

Bob Middleton, a member of the choir at St Swithun’s, who coordinated the event, writes:

“A beautiful sound”, “So peaceful”, “A wonderful new experience”. Just a few of the comments overheard as singers left the Plainsong workshop held on 8th November at St Swithun’s Church. Despite appalling weather, traffic congestion and a competing John Rutter workshop, over 40 singers converged on St Swithun’s Church first to learn to sing Plainsong, and then perform the traditional end of day service, Compline.

Thanks are due to Peter Siepmann as cantor for coaching a disparate group of singers to such harmonious heights; David Cowlishaw and the RSCM for support in putting on the event; Judith Glass for leading Compline so ably; and Ruth Hooper and Rosemary Middleton for much needed refreshments.

The event was best summarised by another retiring comment, “What a beautiful and uplifting experience.”

The next ‘Come and Sing Compline’ will be held at the stunning chapel in Clumber Park on 20th June 2015.

David Hanford

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