Following October’s successful Organ Meditation in St Mary Magdalene Church building, and November’s online Remembrance Meditation, we are now aiming to offer an Advent Meditation in St Mary Magdalene Church building on Sunday 6th December at 6.30 pm. Following the new guidance, we can have a distanced choir and a small pre-booked congregation (as previously in September & October – with rules observed in relation to distancing, masks, sanitisation and recording of attenders for contact and trace purposes).
We will present a 45-minute sequence of Advent readings and music, including a newly- composed piece God of our eternity with music by Chris Moorsom and words by Rowan Williams & Andrew Nunn. There will also be meditative organ & instrumental music and candlelight, similar to From Darkness to Light as in previous years, but shorter and quieter. No charge, but there will be a retiring collection to cover expenses and to support the church tower restoration fund.
Clearly we will not be able to have the usual large number in the congregation, so it is hoped that for those unable to attend in person the event will be live-streamed and accessible to anyone from our website.
Pre-booking essential, please contact church office: tel: 07523 322693
As part of an appeal to support church music in difficult covid circumstances, cathedral and other organists have knitted together a remarkable version of this well-known work, featuring some splendid organs and buildings – do have a listen – and make a contribution if possible!
As you will no doubt have realised, owing to the new restrictions it will not now be possible to hold this event live in St Mary Magdalene Church this Saturday afternoon 7th November as originally planned. However, thanks to modern technology and some hard work by various technologists, we have been able to record a short ‘Remembrance Meditation’ (amended poster attached!). This Meditation (consiting of two meditative pieces) will be available by the same time on Saturday as the live event would have been. The pieces will be played by Julia Trigg on the violin and Miles Quick on St Mary Magdalene’s newly renovated Father Willis organ. Please go to the ‘What’s on’ section of the St Mary Magdalene Church website and you will be directed to the Meditation. www.stmarymagdalenetaunton.org.uk We offer it, in addition to our online service for Remembrance Sunday, in the hope that it will help in quietly remembering and giving thanks for those loved ones who have gone before us, whom we see no more, but – as the Last Post and Reveille remind us – who now live ‘upon another shore and in a greater light’. One advantage of online is that whereas before we were restricted by regulations to a small pre-booked audience, now there is no limit (‘that multitude which no man can number’ as it says in the King’s Carol Service bidding prayer). So please feel free to share it! Thank you so much for joining us and we look forward to seeing you again in person.
In a cautious attempt to get back to some live music in church and to raise spirits we are offering the following 45-minute event, using our recently renovated Father Willis organ. We will use the same covid-safety procedures as we are now using for our Sunday morning services (see below). I do hope it might be of interest to you – if so please do contact the Church Office to book a firstname.lastname@example.org 322693 Pre-booking is required and there are only a small number of places, so please book asap!
Organ Meditation – St Mary Magdalene Church, Taunton, Saturday 3rd October 2020 at 3.30 pm – with Jonathan Price, Director of Music, Christ Church, Bristol City
The guidance now allows us to go ahead with this (with distancing, masks, sanitisation and records of attenders as on Sundays) with a small pre-booked audience. Bookings can be made with the church office. Following the success of a recent similar post-lockdown event in Wells Cathedral, inspiring music will be introduced and played, and the event will be a chance to come apart from the concerns of the day and be uplifted, soothed and roused – all in the course of 45 minutes!! New Father Willis can do all these things! Admission free, retiring collection. Following this event we hope to reinstate more events as the guidance allows – watch this space!
Jonathan has arranged a lovely collection of music ranging from Purcell’s Rondo to the much loved ‘Nimrod’ Variation and Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 by Edward Elgar. Rawsthorne’s Hornpipe Humoresque and the Flor Peeters Festival Voluntary have also been included. If people wish to show their appreciation of Jonathan’s performance, they are invited to give a donation for Somerset Churches Trust and St John’s Organ Fund by using the Easy Fundraising website. Further information can be found on the St John’s Church website: http://www.stjohnstaunton.org.uk
I’m sure that it will come as no surprise that the SOCA committee members feel that the future is too uncertain in 2020 to continue with our proposed programme in the Autumn. The visit to Homiton, and the quiz, are therefore postponed. The talk/recital by Paul Hale, due to follow our AGM in November, has also been postponed. Paul is willing to return next year, and has been booked for Saturday, November 6th, 2021. The committee will try to hold some sort of meeting in 2020, perhaps by Zoom.
In view of the fact that Stephen’s year as President has been blighted, the committee has invited him to remain in post for a further year. He has accepted, and Hilary Shaw has generously allowed her year of presidency to be deferred.
We are aware that members have not had a very good return on their 2020 membership subscriptions, and at some stage this year, we will consider adjusting the 2021 subscriptions.
There was an excellent turn out for our ‘Come and Play’ event on the newly rebuilt Willis organ which was hosted by Miles last Saturday afternoon at St Mary Magdalene church in the centre of Taunton . Miles welcomed everyone and then after giving a brief history of the church and the development of the organ started the afternoon off with a brilliant performance of the ‘Allegro’ from Percy Whitlock’s Plymouth Suite to the delight of all those present. Others quickly followed with pieces ranging from simple hymn tunes to more complicated works by Bach, Carson, Oldroyd and Brahms.
The afternoon was in no sense a competition or recital, it was merely (to quote John Bodiley) an informal meeting with tea, cake and music. Geoff, from Michael Farley Organ builders who had been commissioned to update the Henry Willis organ, was on hand should anything go wrong with the new instrument. Personally I found it a real delight to play and enjoyed every minute of this unique opportunity. An audience of visitors quickly formed in the main body of the church and tea and cakes, provided by the good ladies of the parish, were enjoyed by all! What better way to spend a cold and wet Saturday afternoon and what a complete privilege to have been given the opportunity to play this wonderful instrument!!!!
A huge thankyou to Miles and Geoff for being there and guiding us through the stop registrations and of course to the committee and all those who worked so tirelessly to organise a wonderful afternoon to make sure that it was such a success.
On Saturday, 7th September, I was unable to go on the SOCA trip because we had an arrangement to visit an old friend currently living in Cardiff. To compensate for the omission, we went to hear David Briggs play the Gala Recital in Llandaff Cathedral as part of the IAO’s Organfest in Cardiff.
It was an outstanding performance. He began with his own transcription of the final movement from Saint-Saens’ Organ Symphony, in which he played the orchestral parts as well as the organ solo. A Chorale Prelude by Bach led into Bach’s Piѐce d’Orgue with some interesting registration, and some rubato in the middle section. Then came Beethoven’s Fugue in D, a new piece to me. After a quiet movement from a Widor symphony, the real meat of the first part of the recital was a performance of Dupré’s 2nd Symphony. This is, as some of you will know, a piece requiring an outstanding technique along with an ability to get the most from a major organ. The colour that David Briggs obtained was dazzling, constantly changing, and ranging from a rich string chorus through to heavy reeds.
The second part consisted of an improvisation on 3 Welsh tunes: in English, these were Land Of My Fathers, All Through The Night, and Men Of Harlech. Again, the variety of sounds and musical styles was stupendous, with fugues and toccatas aplenty.
The recital was recorded by the BBC for a radio 3 broadcast on 25th September. I recommend listening to it. Perhaps it might be worth considering a SOCA visit? This Nicholson organ was all new a few years ago, and has huge tonal resources.