June 2014

Without music, life would be a mistake.

I thought I might share with you three events from the past few months that really stand out in my memory: first, an evening of extraordinary talent and enthusiasm with the Youth Big Bands of Northamptonshire, secondly, as fine a performance as one is ever likely to hear of Schubert’s String Quintet in C major, and thirdly John Dowland’s ravishing lute songs.

What do they all have in common? They all took place as parts on concerts in our churches. And these memories are both recent and selective. I could have included the world premiere of the Village Quire’s Precious Bane or a glorious summer afternoon with the Pax Singers.

All of this gives rise to a number of thoughts. First, we are so lucky with the sheer number and quality of musicals events happening in this area. Sue Norrington is very much the trail-blazer in this regard with her remarkable series of Concerts for Craswall, now celebrating its 20th anniversary of introducing music and musicians of the highest quality to the area. Others, however, have followed and the variety of music has grown. the Big Bands have already been mentioned, but nobody present is likely to forget a winter’s evening with Mercury Prize nominated folk singer Sam Lee. And we must not forget local talent. They have been much in evidence at Craswall’s Fringe Concerts, and it is excellent to see that Joyce Hvass is organising a concert for July 15th for our brilliant young musicians. All of this wealth of music adds so much to the lives of all of us here and we are all enriched by it.

Secondly, it is marvellous to see our churches being used for this purpose. Churches were always designed to be used by the community and not just for worship. In the past they will have been used for storage, for meetings, for courts, even here for refuge from and protection against the marauding Welsh: that they are used now , amongst other things, for music is only right and proper, not least because they all have such excellent acoustics. It underlines an important fact that churches are meant to be community buildings for the whole community, not just to be places of worship one day a week.

I would encourage everyone to come and enjoy the music in our churches and have put a Music in our Churches page up on the website. It may not be the fullest part of the website, but I hope that in time it will grow. If there are any ideas you may have for how we can make our musical life even broader, do please let me know. (No types of music are excluded!)

And the title of this piece is a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche