By five minutes to ten on Saturday 28 September, there was a sizeable queue waiting to enter the Mayfield Memorial Hall to take part in Mayfield Festival Choir’s “Come Sing with Us!” morning of choral music.
Jane Bolger (chair of the choir) explained “It has long been our ambition to hold an event that will give people, regardless of their singing expertise and experience, a chance to share in the joy of choral singing. We wanted to encourage anyone and everyone to come along and discover the magic of being surrounded by all those voices.”
The morning was led by the choir’s music director, Jeremy Summerly and accompanist Andrew Benians and started with a deceptively tricky scale exercise. It was immediately clear that Jeremy was bringing all his usual attention to detail to the pitch, timing and vowel sounds. After “The girl that I love, has given me the shove” sung in a four part round (hence the reason for paying such close attention to the timing!), the singers moved on to four versions of the Latin hymn “Ave verum corpus”, starting with an early plainsong. This was followed by settings by Byrd, Mozart and Elgar from the 16th, 18th and 20th centuries respectively.
The final performance of all four pieces was extremely moving and very impressive considering that only half the 75 or so singers were current members of the choir. Jane Bolger says “We were so delighted with the success of the morning, the number of guests who joined us and with the quality of music that was produced. It shows that there is a great deal of interest in singing and we are fortunate to live in an area that contains many choirs with a range of styles to suit all musical tastes.”