On Saturday 31st May 2014 we celebrated five years as a choir by singing Choral Evensong in Paisley Abbey joined by RSCM Young Scottish Voices (the first time they juniors have sung with our adult choir, but not the last!) and members of our sister choirs from England, RSCM Voices North, RSCM Voices South and RSCM Voices West. We were glad too that the director of the RSCM, Andrew Reid, had accepted our invitation to come and celebrate with us, and he had a brief chat to the massed singers after the rehearsal (and for longer in the pub afterwards).
Andrew Reid (r) chatting to the choir
There were one or two last minute calloffs because of illness, but we still made up a choir of 83 singers under the direction of Frikki Walker, and accompanied on Paisley’s majestic organ by Richard Walmsley, who have been respectively our Musical Director and Assistant Musical Director / Organist since we first tentatively met in summer 2008 (our fifth birthday has been calculated from our first actual service, which was in January 2009).
Rehearsals started at midday and right from the off it was obvious that we were going to be making some spectacular noises in the service, but to be honest any service that has Parry’s wonderful anthem I was glad as the introit can’t fail to be spectacular! The full music list was
Introit: I was glad – Charles Hubert H Parry
Responses: Bernard Rose (cantor: Gary Young)
Psalm: 150 (chant by Charles Villiers Stanford)
Canticles: Charles Dyson in D
Anthems: This lovely lady sat and song – Bryan Kelly Let all the world – Ralph Vaughan Williams
Voluntary: Carillon de Westminster – Louis Vierne
The weather in the west of Scotland has been lovely and sunny over the past few days, which meant that the Abbey, and Paisley, were looking their best, and if you’re going to be stuck indoors on such a lovely day there are many worse buildings to be stuck inside.
The Abbey staff were very welcoming, providing us with refreshments during our short break from rehearsals, and Rev Birss said afterwards he was looking forward to welcoming us back for our 10th anniversary! I suspect we’ll be back sooner though.
The service itself lived up to its promise, and the wee bits during rehearsals where Frikki had been on at us to watch him while he played about with tempi (as he does so effectively) seemed perfect as everyone had clearly taken to heart his promise that he would be changing things on the spur of the moment. Afterwards we had the obligatory group photo in the sun outside the west door of the Abbey (see below, with the other photos taken by Gordon Smith).
So, to the pub! RSCM Scottish Voices are a sociable bunch, and took the opportunity of having new friends visiting from England to show them what we do after every service. Space for around 50 had been reserved in the local Wetherspoons pub, which allowed us to enjoy inexpensive Real Ale, and food on demand! Everyone seemed to have had a good day, judging by the smiles and laughter, and after several hours gradually we drifted away to our respective homes, hotels, boarding houses, and in at least one case another licenced premises!
The photos below were all taken by RSCM Scottish Voices tenor Gordon Smith (gordonrasmith if you want to look him up on Flickr) and are reproduced here with his kind permission. If any of the singers from the day would like to access downloadable high quality versions of any photos, contact RSCM Scottish Voices administrator by email and it’ll be sorted.