On the 1st of January 2023 our Parish Choir went to Peterborough Cathedral to lead worship in place of the Cathedral choir. The choir led the main Sunday Eucharist as well as the Choral Evensong.
New Year’s Day at Peterborough Cathedral
…an account by Vivian Anthony
A convoy of cars was setting out from Uppingham and elsewhere just as a glorious sun was rising inthe East above Peterborough – a good omen for the rest of the day. Our augmented UPC Choir included some singers with Wardle, Saunders or Riley connections. The Rector and her family were not only in full support throughout the day but actually provided the whole choir with a buffet lunch, a wonderful repast for her parish choir singing in her cathedral.
The Knights’ Chamber was the ideal place to gather and warm up, building our confidence straightaway for singing the Byrd 4-part Mass in full ecclesiastical setting in the splendid acoustic of the Nave of the cathedral. Being still within Christmastide, it was appropriate that the Eucharist hymns had seasonal flavour. The anthem during the communion was Rutter’s Nativity carol.
The music of Byrd’s Mass, a challenge for all but the most professional of choirs, was given a highly secure performance by our consort of 21 singers, marking the opening of his 400th anniversary year of birth, and members of the congregation, whom we met over coffee after the service, were generous in their praise. We heard superb organ playing from Peter Clements, and our two youngest singers were on loan from Salisbury Cathedral! We were very sorry to have lost Alison and John Green and Andrew Forbes to illness this New Year, and we wish them speedy recovery.
Six extra singers were welcomed for Choral Evensong, which was sung in the Quire, with its more intimate atmosphere. That the canticles (Stanford in G) were a complete triumph was largely down to the superb solo singing of Emma Saunders and Oliver Parker and the outstanding organ accompaniment of Peter Clements, with the choir singing highly sympathetically in support. The anthem (Sans Day Carol) was sung lightly and beautifully, and the well-known Sanders responses echoed dramatically through the building.
The sun had set before we left the cathedral precincts, tired but with a real sense of achievement – such visits do wonders for choir morale - well done, John!
The full team was: (* Evensong only)
Pat Cole Emma Saunders
Hui-yen Bloodworth Amelia Parker
Edward Parker Laura Clements
Heather Parker Alison Lewis
Laura Harley* Cécile Wignall*
Helen Chew Ros Anthony
Debbie Smith-Wilds* Janet Wardle
Jenny Harris Katharine Gaine
Philip Riley Vivian Anthony
John Woodhead John Riley*
Oliver Clements James Saunders
Geoff Thompson* Tom Saunders
Oliver Parker Harry Watts
Organist: Peter Clements Director: John Wardle