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Successful evensong at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh

A successful outing just past, with the choir in good voice under the (as usual) expert tutelage of Frikki Walker in the Song School before heading across to the Cathedral and joining Kevin Duggan putting the St Mary’s organ through its paces.

Beautiful music to sing with Bairstow’s Evening Service in D Major, and two magnificent Parry items – I know my Soul hath Power and the outstanding My Soul, there is a country. A joyful and friendly outing, where we welcomed two new basses to our ranks, and wetted our whistles afterwards in a local hostelry. How else should one enjoy an autumn Saturday?

Our next outing comes on us very rapidly on Saturday 6th, with Couperin’s Messe pour les Couvents in Aberdeen where we are honoured to have Bishop Anne Dyer joining us as our Celebrant, with Matthew Beetschen as our Musical Director, and our very own Frikki Walker on the organ.

Choral Evensong – St Mary’s Edinburgh 4pm on 15th September

Can’t wait to get our teeth into the music for our first outing fresh from our residential in August – music by Parry, Bairstow along with the Rose responses. If you’re in the area – and it’s easy to find from the Haymarket Station – we’d love to see you. If you like what you hear, why not enquire about joining? We’re on the lookout to augment the choir and we’d love to hear from you. You could be singing with us in our outings to Dunblane, Glasgow, Perth and back to Edinburgh for our birthday party in St Giles!

Next outing – 15th September at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh

The next outing of the choir is a return to a fantastic Cathedral in Edinburgh – St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral. What a space to sing in! We are really looking forward to this outing, and if you’re in the vicinity on the 15th September, why not come along and join in the service? We’d love to see you there, and meet up with you after the service.

New website and new Administrator

As I start out in my new role as Administrator for the choir, I just wanted to publicly record in this historical sequence of the Choir’s history, the phenomenal contribution Gary Young has made to the choir, to more than just the choir members. All the posts in this blog were from Gary, recording every outing, and letting everyone see what we were doing, planning to do, and had just done.

The existence of the choir, and how it operates so effectively, is as much to do with Gary as Frikki – their combination of friendship and professionalism made the choir what it is today. As the choir members found out at the Residential at the start of August, Gary’s grasp of data and statistics and analysis of the data is second to none.

Gary has left me with a stunning panoply of spreadsheets, word documents, and social media tools to use. He has also left me with a very large pair of shoes to fill. Gary is taking a well-earned break from the choir for a short time. We wish him well and hope he enjoys his well-deserved relaxation.

Haste ye back, Gary!

Sun, weddings, football, and Evensong

Glorious weather, a Royal wedding, and two football cup finals.  How could Saturday 19th May 2018 be any better?

Well, the answer to that of course is connected to 38 singers, a musical director, and an organist making their collective way south from Scotland to the awesome Durham Cathedral to sing Choral Evensong.

We absolutely LOVED Durham, a true high spot in our choir’s ten year history, we were made to feel very welcome, and we look forward to a return visit at some time in the future.

Directed as ever by the wonderful Frikki Walker, we sang the responses by Herbert Sumsion (very appropriate since they were written by him for Richard Lloyd and Durham Cathedral choir), Sir John Stainer’s B flat setting of the Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis, and the somewhat epic Evening Hymn by Henry Balfour Gardiner, so plenty opportunity for our organist Kevin Duggan to explore the tubas and 32′ stops of the magnificent cathedral organ, the showpiece of Durham based organ builders Harrison & Harrison .

That draws to a close the first half of the 2018 season of RSCM Scottish Voices, other than us singing as part of the massed choirs at the 2018 RSCM Scotland Triennial Festival in Dundee on 2nd June, as well as during that service singing Let all mortal flesh keep silence by Bairstow as our own contribution on the day.

We have exciting trips in the second half of the year, with visits to St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh, Dunblane Cathedral, and Kings College Chapel in Aberdeen, but before all of them we are very much looking forward to our residential rehearsal weekend in August when we will be returning to the Scottish Police College to learn some repertoire and to socialise together.  Both very important activities!

Watch this space for details of our music lists, and please like our page on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, to keep up with all our news and activities.

Chrism Mass

Our 2018 season started in fine style yesterday with a totally unaccompanied Choral Evensong in the wonderful acoustic of the mediaeval quire of historic Bothwell Parish Church, directed by Frikki Walker and with the service led by Rev Jim Gibson, Minister of Bothwell and Chaplain in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen in Scotland.

Our thoughts turn now to our next meeting, on Saturday 24th March, when at 4pm we shall be providing the music for the Chrism Mass in St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow, led by the Bishop of Glasgow & Galloway, the Right Reverend Dr Gregor Duncan

Frikki will, as normal, be directing the choir and we are glad to be accompanied again by Kevin Duggan of Dunblane Cathedral.

Setting: Communion Service in G (Dr Francis Jackson)
Motet: A new commandment (Peter Nardone)
Motet: Let all mortal flesh keep silence (Sir Edward Cuthbert Bairstow)

We will remember them

Our 2017 season drew to a close yesterday, fittingly on Armistice Day, when we sang a Remembrance themed Choral Evensong in St Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Dundee, directed by Frikki Walker and accompanied by Kevin Duggan.

St Paul’s continue to be most welcoming and generous hosts, and we look forward to future visits.  Thanks are particularly due to the Pastoral Musician Stuart Muir for his help in making the arrangements and for his tireless work on the day making us tea and coffee and generally being helpful, and to the Provost the Very Revd Jeremy Auld not only for allowing us to visit but for his sensitive leading of the service and his singing as cantor in the responses.

So our year finishes and whilst the thoughts of our singers turn towards the music they will sing in their home choirs over Advent and Christmas our Musical Director and particularly our Administrator put their minds to the various behind the scenes changes involved in the impending change from oversight by the RSCM Scotland committee to oversight by RSCM HQ in Salisbury, and all that entails. Initially a “child” of the RSCM Scotland committee back in 2008 the choir has gone from strength to strength with the magnificent support of the committee since we first sang a service together in January 2009, and we thank committee members past and present for that support, whilst looking forward with excitement to the new chapter in our corporate life and the opportunities that may present themselves.

And looking into the near’ish future, the next time we sing together will be in the Mediaeval Quire of Bothwell Parish Church in Lanarkshire, when we will sing an unaccompanied Choral Evensong at 4pm on Saturday 17th February 2018.  We hope to see you there!

They shall grow not old

After a most enjoyable Choral Evensong yesterday in St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow under the direction of James Kealey and with Christopher Nickol accompanying, our thoughts turn to our next event, the last of 2017, when we will be singing  a special Choral Evensong for Remembrance at 4pm on Saturday 11th November in St Paul’s Cathedral, Dundee, led by our Musical Director Frikki Walker and accompanied on this occasion by Kevin Duggan, Musical Director of Dunblane Cathedral.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
we will remember them.
                                                     Laurence Binyon

A first for RSCM Scottish Voices

Our next meeting is a return to the familiar and much loved territory of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow, where our Musical Director Frikki Walker is Director of Music and where a fair number of our singers are in the Cathedral Choir, to sing Choral Evensong at 4pm on Saturday 7th October 2017.

Introit: O pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Herbert Howells)
Responses: Bernard Rose
Psalm: 37 vv 1-11
Canticles: Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis in F (Peter Aston)
Anthem: Evening Hymn (Henry Balfour-Gardiner)

While the venue is very familiar to us, this will be a first for RSCM Scottish Voices since because of the recent departure to Ely of our now former Assistant Musical Director Richard Walmsley and the non-availability on this occasion of our Musical Director Frikki Walker, we will be directed and accompanied by James Kealey and Christopher Nickol respectively, the very first time that any of our meetings hasn’t featured either (or more usually both) Frikki or Richard.

We are of course in safe hands, we wouldn’t be so foolish as to experiment wildly. 

James has recently moved to Glasgow from Somerset where he was Senior Organ Scholar and Second Assistant at Wells Cathedral (where Frikki was previously a Vicar Choral in the choir at the same time that Richard was a Treble in the choir, small world, isn’t it?) and he has taken up the position of Director of Choral Music at St Aloysius’ College in Glasgow (coincidentally replacing Keith Roberts who until he moved south a few weeks ago sang countertenor in the choir of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral under Frikki).

Christopher Nickol is quite simply legendary in choral and organ circles in Glasgow, famous for his undoubted organ playing skill but also for his party piece of being able to play anything you care to name, instantly, and without the need for music. Born in Cambridge, he was a music scholar at Ampleforth College, Organ Scholar at Royal Holloway College (University of London), and postgraduate scholar at the Royal College of Music, and is currently Director of Music at New Kilpatrick Church in Bearsden, staff pianist and organist at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, pianist at the Dance School of Scotland, accompanist of Bearsden Choir, and a regular deputy organist at both Glasgow Cathedral and Glasgow University. Christopher has performed as an organist and soloist with the BBC SSO, Caledonian Voices, Glasgow Cathedral Choir & Choral Society, Glasgow Chamber Choir, the National Youth Choir of Scotland, the RCS Chamber Choir, the RSNO and RSNO Chorus, and the choir of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow. He has given over 500 concerts on the organ in Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow, including one that went viral on social media on the day that the death was announced of David Bowie when, without any printed music, he played Life on Mars and a mobile phone video recording of it has been viewed on Facebook alone almost 2 million times.  It’s well worth a watch/listen and it can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-35292054
or a shorter clip on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsAYfEQMGkk

2017-18 music list

The music list for the next 12 months has just today been finalised and announced, and we’re really looking forward to a lovely balance of revisiting some previously performed classics and learning pieces we’ve never sung before. Please do come along to any of the services if you’re in the area.

All of it is contained on our “future services and events” page on this site, but is reproduced below.

7th October 2017
St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Glasgow
Choral Evensong at 4pm
Director: James Kealey
Organist: Christopher Nickol

Introit: O pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Herbert Howells)
Responses: Bernard Rose
Psalm: 37 vv 1-11
Canticles: Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis in F (Peter Aston)
Anthem: Evening Hymn (Henry Balfour-Gardiner)

11th November 2017
St Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, Dundee
Choral Evensong for Remembrance at 4pm
Director: Frikki Walker
Organist: Kevin Duggan

Introit: The souls of the righteous (Herbert Murrill)
Responses: John Bertalot
Psalms: 60 & 61
Canticles: Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis in F (George Dyson)
Anthem: Though I speak with the tongues of men (Edward Cuthbert Bairstow)
Vesper: For the fallen (Douglas Guest)

17th February 2018
Bothwell Parish Church
Unaccompanied Choral Evensong in Mediaeval Quire at 4pm
Directors: Frikki Walker & Kevin Duggan

Introit: This is the day which the Lord hath made (Anonymous, probably Osbert Parsley)
Responses: Richard Ayleward
Psalm: 43 (Scottish Paraphrase – tune: Martyrs)
Canticles: Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis First Service (Robert Parsons)
Anthem: Hear the voice and prayer (Thomas Tallis)

24th March 2018
St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Glasgow
Chrism Mass at 4pm
Director: Frikki Walker
Organist: Kevin Duggan

Setting: Communion Service in G (Francis Jackson)
Motet: A new commandment (Peter Nardone)
Motet: Let all mortal flesh keep silence (Edward Cuthbert Bairstow)

19th May 2018
Durham Cathedral
Choral Evensong at 5.15pm
Director: Frikki Walker
Organist: Kevin Duggan

Responses: Herbert Sumsion
Canticles: Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis in B flat (Sir John Stainer)
Anthem: Though I speak with the tongues of men (Edward Cuthbert Bairstow)