The “Inside Track” Covenant

(Photo Credits – Wiley Stewart for WDAV)

“Having already run through a number of the pieces yesterday, today gave us the opportunity to fine-tune a few things. The afternoon rehearsal went well and we all felt good going into the evening concert at the Covenant Presbyterian Church.

The sell-out crowd definitely gave everyone a lift and we got underway with Taverner’s Christe Jesu. This was followed by Salvator mundi by Tallis and then Gibbons’ wonderful eight-part anthem, O clap your hands together. Michael Heighway then played some Buxtehude before we sang Jehova quam multi sunt hostes. This gave an opportunity for Tim and Tom to sing some solos before the choir was joined by St Peter’s choir for the two Handel pieces in the programme: Lord I trust thee and Zadok the Priest.

(Wiley Stewart for WDAV)

It was great to see the audience’s growing anticipation during the long organ introduction and then the release of the majestic opening to Zadok. After the interval we picked up where we left off, singing the rousing Te lucis ante terminum by Balfour Gardiner before contrasting that with the simple but beautiful Ave verum by Elgar (which he wrote for a little choir at St George’s Roman Catholic Church in Worcester after he took over the post of organist in 1885). Howells’ fine setting of the Te Deum was enjoyed by all who sung it, especially Tom.

Our final bracket of Justorum animae by Stanford, Set me as a seal by Walton and I was glad by Parry, went down extremely well, so much so that we were given a standing ovation by the 700 people who had come along to hear some English Choral music. It was a wonderful feeling being received so positively and the encore of Robert Parson’s Ave Maria was a fitting way to end our first concert on the tour.

It was nice to have a cold drink afterwards and chat to audience members. It also gave us the chance to thank our extraordinarily generous hosts for having us and making us feel so welcome. Thanks Charlotte!”

Chris Bruerton