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Summer Evening of Praise

posted 9 Oct 2013, 09:00 by St. Thomas' Church Aboyne   [ updated 9 Oct 2013, 09:01 ]

Summer suns are glowing…………………. 

July was a ‘sparkler’ in a glorious summer, and a highlight of those bright, balmy days was the Evening of Praise in St Thomas’ Church, as part of the Aboyne and Deeside Festival. The service was planned and orchestrated by Sheila Maxwell, with Marcus Marsh conducting the members of the ‘Augmented Choir’ who gather at Sheila’s bidding to join the regular St Thomas’ choristers to sing new and old songs to the Lord! 

As a community event, there was hearty singing by everyone gathered in the beautiful sanctuary of St Thomas, Aboyne. Hymns suggested by the St Thomas congregation were used and sung with love and joy, and enriched in the final verses by sunny, soaring soprano descants. From the fanfare beginning of Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, through Lord of all Hopefulness, to the perfect ending of John Ellerton’s, The day Thou gavest, Lord, is ended, and the inclusion of two hymns, not normally sung on a high summer evening: Be still, my soul. The Lord is on thy side and John Basil Hume’s Praise to the Holiest in the height, the congregational hymns touched the experience of all present. 

Though heavily loaded with musical expectations and challenges this summer, due to the services to mark the end of the Rev James Curry’s ministry in Aboyne, Ballater and Braemar, with his call to a new ministry in Yorkshire, Sheila Maxwell chose an ambitious and inspiring selection of choral works to which the singers rose with courage, commitment and yes, at times, magnificence. 

Anne Harper’s outstanding presentation of the 150th Psalm, with voice and drum, drama and rhythm caught our attention immediately at the start of the service and was the perfect prelude to a dynamic modern work on the same psalm by Allan Bullard. 

W. Sterndale Bennet’s, God is Spirit, took us to the heart of understanding the Being of God and true worship, in quiet, rich sounds, and the peaceful benediction of John Rutter’s well-known Blessing completed the choir’s excellent contribution to the worship. 

Stuart Yarnell’s prayers and the chosen readings of Muriel Clark and Alison Innes, brought the unique blessing to worship of spoken and inspired words and the ethereal sounds of Tchaikovsky’s Melody lingered in the air in a truly heavenly way in Andy Linklater’s Viola Solo. 

Finishing with the customary St Thomas’ hospitality, the Summer Evening of Praise, at the high-point of the Aboyne and Deeside Festival, gladdened our hearts, inspired and comforted us, as the worship of the Living God of Love eternally does. 

Andrew Wilson