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Evening of Praise 2012

posted 3 Aug 2012, 10:58 by St. Thomas' Church Aboyne

By Di Robson

As part of the Aboyne and Deeside Festival, Sheila Maxwell made a huge contribution in the planning, then rehearsing with the extended choir and thereafter performing 'An Evening of Praise' in St. Thomas's Church. The choir, conducted by Owen Jenkins, surpassed themselves. From the singing of the first line of the hymn 'And did those feet in ancient time', we knew we were in for a treat, as the strength and joy of the music reverberated round the church.

Hymns, in which the congregation participated, were alternated with anthems sung by the choir, a soprano solo, piano and viola solos, and readings of poetry.

The sound of the choir singing 'Panis Angelicus' (Franck, arr. Rutter) swept over us, to be surpassed by Wesley's 'Blessed be the God and Father' which was breathtaking in it's dramatic performance. This was later balanced by the peaceful effect of Elgar's 'How calmly the evening'.

The soprano solo 'Come unto Him' from Handel's 'The Messiah' was beautifully sung by Lucy Bailey, and Marie Shanks and Andy Linklater added to our enjoyment by their solos, Marie on the piano with J.S.Bach's 'Jesu, joy of man's desiring' and Andy on the viola accompanied by Marie, when they played 'A Deeside Melody' composed by Sheila Maxwell.

A great variety in words and thought was expressed by the three readers of poetry. Muriel Clark chose 'Abou Ben Adhem by Leigh Hunt, Di Robson chose 'Fern Hill' by Dylan Thomas and in complete contrast Geoff Cormack amused us with 'A Subaltern's Love Song' by John Betjeman.

Owen Jenkins must be congratulated on both the conducting of the choir and the occasional use of his tenor voice to sing with the choir, as must Sheila Maxwell for her playing of the organ and also her persistence in gathering the choir together for rehearsals, without which we would not have had such an enjoyable and uplifting evening.