| Conductor: Katherine Dienes-Williams
Organist: Paul Provost Sub-organist, Guildford Cathedral
Address: Lindsay Gray Director of the Royal School of Church Music
The Revd Barry Olsen writes:
The Director of the Royal School of Church Music, Lindsay Gray, ended his Address at the RSCM Oxfordshire Festival Service on 9th October with a quotation from the Precentor of Salisbury Cathedral: “Music is a spiritual gift that gives people access to other worlds beyond the material and mundane.” That was, I’m sure, the experience of those at the service in Radley College Chapel, whether choristers or congregation. Katherine Dienes-Williams, Organist and Master of the Choristers, Guildford Cathedral, directed the music and Paul Provost, Sub-Organist, Guildford Cathedral, was organist. The Introit was S. S. Wesley’s Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, the Anthem Turn back, O Man set by Gustav Holst, and the Recessional was (a personal favourite) Charles Wood’s setting of Richard Baxter’s poem, Christ who knows all his sheep / will all in safety keep. Charles Wood’s setting in D of Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis were also used. The Preces and Responses were to the exciting music of Grayston Ives and Psalm 27, beautifully enunciated, was sung to a chant by Simon Lindley.
The Director’s address was about the importance of singing and the role of the RSCM. The verb ‘to sing’ is mentioned 191 times in the Bible, frequently in the Psalms (O sing unto the Lord a new song), and it occurs in hymns (O for a thousand tongues to sing) and anthems such as William Byrd’s Sing joyfully. The RSCM encourages choirs throughout the world. It has 8000 members worldwide with new outreaches in Nigeria and Pakistan. It is concerned with musical education, with providing music and other material, and with staging celebrations of church music. It aims to bring more people into church and church music. The Director told of his experience in Cardiff where, working with the local authority, the RSCM brought 600 country children to the city to sing alongside choristers. In two years, children who had not known Hark, the herald angels sing, were singing Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb. I was sitting near the organ console and enjoyed both watching and listening to his performance of the stirring Marche Héroique by Dr A. Herbert Brewer as the closing voluntary.