General News

Our Festival continues!

There was great richness and variety in the Advent, Christmas and Epiphany events of our Festival of Sacred Music.
The first of these was Advent Choral Communion on Sunday, 14 December. At this, we were joined by four string players: Alison and Andrew Rushworth (violins), Malcolm Garden (cello) and Margaret Graham (double bass), who, at appropriate points in the liturgy, accompanied the Choir and Chamber Group as they sung movements from Hayden’s Kleine Orgelmesse (Little Organ Mass): Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Benedictus andAgnus Dei. The service was very well attended and there were several favourable comments afterwards. Many had felt deeply that the beauty of the eighteenth century music had greatly enhanced the inherent spiritual depth of the traditional Presbyterian service of Holy Communion.
On Christmas Eve we held our traditional Watch-night Service by candlelight. This is always a popular Christmas service enjoyed by many local residents as well as Christmas visitors, but this year was particularly special as it formed part of our Festival. As we sat in the darkened church awaiting the arrival of Christmas morning, the singing of the Chamber Group from the gallery above brought a wonderful sense of otherness to the service. First the prayerful silence with which the service began was broken by the traditional solo voice starting Once in Royal David’s City. Christmas was coming! Later they sang O little one sweet, text by Percy Deamer, to an old German melody harmonized by J.S.Bach, and towards the end, Sir John Tavener’s haunting setting of The Lamb. And who will forget, on this anniversary of Christmas 1914, the first verse of Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht, in the traditional German.
On the first Sunday after Christmas, 28 December, our morning service of worship was a traditional Service of Nine Lessons and Carols. The service flowed seamlessly, readings being interspersed with congregational singing of carols and contributions from the Choir and Chamber Group. These included, Andrew Carter’s setting of A maiden most gentle, John Rutter’s Nativity Carol and the well known Coventry Carol, here sung in its 1591 version for three voices. Many worshippers, especially those who had been away from home over Christmas itself, said how much they appreciated this opportunity to enjoy Christmas carols and Christmas music.
And, of course, throughout the Festival our Choir and Chamber Group, led by Walter Thomson, have continued to sing specially chosen Introits and Anthems at the 10.45am services, and our organist, Dr John Willmett, has played equally special Voluntaries before, during and after. Furthermore, background information about all of these has been included in the Service Sheets. Thus, week by week, this special emphasis on music has greatly enriched our worship.
After Christmas, our first Festival event of the New Year was a Family Singing Workshop led by Julie Morrice. Julie, a member of our Chamber Group, is an experienced singing teacher so there were lots of surprises awaiting us! Unbelievably, on a cold, dark, winter morning, the church was buzzing at 9.00am!   First we moved through to the hall for a singing warm up. We were enthusiastic, we were singing, we jiggled about, we ate maltesers! Julie had us all spellbound with her magic wand (or was that a tuning fork?) teaching us first of all to sing ‘Shine’, complete with actions, in 4 parts. ‘Ping it up there’ she demanded, waving her wand at the rafters, and we did! We reached up to the sky, we swayed from side to side, we turned round and round, some of us old ones felt a bit dizzy, but we all felt very much alive! If any chatting broke out Julie would burst into song with ‘Everybody listening’ and, of course, we all unhesitatingly sang back, ‘We are listening’, finding ourselves all ears again. Now we were ready for the progressive, clapping, hand shaking, ‘How do you do?’ song and greeted one another, babes in arms, children, young, and not so young, in a merry mêlée round the hall. We were getting quite carried away and reluctant to stop until Julie’s ‘Finger of Doom’ brought us all to order. An ‘Offering’ song in 3 parts channelled the children’s bouncy energy into singing ‘We give gladly with all our hearts’, showcased our men folk’s melodious voices, and had the ladies blending in with the descant. Finally we sang ‘Go well and safely the Lord is ever with you’, again in three parts. Thus we returned to the Sanctuary ready to use our new found skills in a celebratory mini-service under our minister’s guidance. Who would have thought all that was possible in just over an hour? Surely it was God moving, bringing laughter and fun into an amazing act of worship.
 There are many more exciting events still to take place in our Festival of Sacred Music 2014-2015. Download the full programme here

Contact Information

Mayfield Salisbury Parish Church,
18 West Mayfield,

0131 667 1522 / 0780 801 1234

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Scottish Charity Number: SC000785


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