RSCM France – Singing Day, Maisons-Laffitte, 23rd February 2019
The delightful, spring-like weather lasted all day. So too did the good humour and enthusiasm of the participants in RSCM France’s first Singing Day of 2019, held in the lovely surroundings of Maisons-Laffitte, to the west of Paris, on the last Saturday in February.
For one reason or another, the exact number of participants was not known until the day itself, but in the end some twenty-two choristers turned up and threw themselves enthusiastically into learning some delightful new four-part music in preparation for a service of Evening Prayer.
The venue was Holy Trinity Anglican Church, where our Vice-Chair, Joan Bauman, is Organist, and where we have held successful events in the past. Parishioners welcomed the singers with traditional hospitality, while Revd Olaf Eriksson, the parish priest – a good friend of RSCM France – led the Service and preached a memorable homily on the theme of music and worship.
The Responsorial Psalm and hymns were taken from the RSCM Festival Book, King of Glory, King of Peace. Zachary Ullery, RSCM France YPO Officer and Canon Director of Music at the American Cathedral, Paris, also provided some accessible and tuneful music that was sufficiently challenging to maintain interest. By general consent, he proved a most encouraging Director, who produced a remarkably unified sound from singers who had only come together as a choir that morning. Something that stood out was the clear, logical planning of the rehearsals, one result of which was the feeling that the participants had made genuine progress.
Malcolm Wisener, organist at St George’s Anglican Church in Paris, was our accompanist for the day, dashing expertly between the piano in the chancel and the organ in the gallery, and using his skills to assist Zachary Ullery in encouraging the singers to give of their best.
To judge from comments heard after the Day, the experience had been well worthwhile. Both the training tips that were given and the music that was sung are likely to find a place in the work and repertoire of many of the choirs represented.
The Day ended with a Champagne reception to bid farewell to Fr Olaf, who is leaving Maisons-Laffitte to take up a church post in Sweden. Our very best wishes go with him and his wife.
Our thanks to Shirley Rowson, RSCM France Secretary, who expertly arranged the complex administration of the event, and to our Vice-Chair, Joan Bauman, who coordinated things so well on the ground. Yet again, the extent of the appreciation for the work of these two officers may be seen by the enthusiasm of participants to experience another such event as soon as possible!