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Sunday, 29 March 2009

Bath Abbey

Today was the day for Caolan McConnaughie to be fully admitted into the Bath Abbey choir, when he received his surplice at Evensong.

The family had kindly invited me to be there, and when I arrived in the wheel-chair I was expected and welcomed warmly. Caolan's grandparents were there, and Adrian was taking Evensong.

The young man himself seemed to be fitting it all in between rehearsals for Songs from the Shows, which he is appearing in. What a family of performers! I have always looked forward to being entertained whenever I went to their home.

I think I mentioned that I now have a disabled parking badge, which meant that Charlie could park about 100 yards from the Abbey doors. Great!

The music was superb in the Abbey. The organ was playing the Sweelink variations on Mein junges Leben hat ein End as we took our seats. The canticles were Gibbons Second Service, I think; what I noticed was the way voices seemed to emerge from the choir to play their parts, and then lapse into quietness again. The anthem was by Dvorak. Another early organ piece came at the end, while we had tea and cakes and lovely stuff provided by the McC family.

I did video the anthem that followed the surplicing, but when I asked, the Director of Music said, as I thought he would, that although Dvorak was long out of copyright there would probably be copyright problems with editions, so it had better not go on line. Take it from me, though. The singing was great.

The weather was once again clear and sunny. Charlie asked what the next great place of worship we were going to visit, after King's College Cambridge, Wells Cathedral (twice) and now Bath Abbey. I have been so blessed.

Chacquie came with us, and it was her first visit to the Abbey. She was duly overwhelmed!

I thought back, briefly, to the time in 1997 when I applied to be a curate at Bath Abbey. I don't know how I would have got on there. I would certainly have enjoyed the music. As far as other parts of the job went, I'm not sure - just as I wasn't sure when I thought of going to a cathedral as precentor instead of going to Woodbridge....

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