2012 Choral Evensong
29 January 2012
2012 Choral Evensong for the Commemoration of Charles, King and Martyr
On a bitterly cold January evening, a group of Old Carolians and their wives attended a Choral Evensong at St. Mary's and All Saints' Parish Church to commemorate the death of Charles 1st on January 3oth 1649.
As in previous years, Canon Owain Bell, Vicar of St. Marys, led the service. On this occasion however, the service was held, not in the usual Whittall Chapel, but in the main body of this lovely church. In the past there is usually only a select gathering for this Evensong , taken from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, but on this occasion St. Mary's was packed. Canon Bell, Old Carolian David Morgan and the fellow Directors of Music at 4 other local churches had agreed to bring all the choirs together for this Evensong Service on a special day - this year marks the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Choirs from St. Mary's, St. John's, St. George's, St. Barnabas (Franche) and St. Cassian's ( Chaddesley Corbett ) took part and the individual Directors of Music shared the conducting and organ playing duties. Although there are many lovers of the quiet serenity within the Whittall Chapel, it has to be said that this Evensong was a hugely successful occasion, helped by some superb singing from the joint choirs and a large congregation. Particularly memorable were the Magnificat, the Nunc Dimittis, the Anthem, Non Nobis Domine and the descant singing in the final hymn, " O worship the King, all glorious above." How perfectly appropriate is that?
The first lesson was read by the Headmaster of King Charles 1 School, Tim Gulliver ( 2 Samuel 18: 24-33 ) while the second was read by Old Carolian President Andy Moule ( St. John 18: 28-38. )
Canon Bell, in his interesting and lively address, mentioned his academic background in modern history and his love of real historical stories. He drew together, and reflected the parallels in the three tragedies of King Richard 11 and his death at Pomfret Castle, the Old Testament story of King David mourning the loss of his rebellious son Absalom, and the tragic martyrdom of King Charles in Whitehall in 1649.
As the congregation left the church, there were many expressing the hope that this Joint Evensong can be repeated on this date in 2013. Fellow Old Carolians also noted the absence of our esteemed magazine editor Norman Broadfield who has not missed the Evensong Service in all his years wedded to the Old Carolians' Association. We have it on good authority, that the reason he was unable to attend the service was because he had not awoken from an afternoon's drinking session at Kidderminster Cricket Club. He did attempt to lessen his embarrassment by claiming that at least he had been drinking Abbot Ale. Those of us from the same generation will be enormously sympathetic - the man has gone through so much in the past year and is such an integral part of Kidderminster sporting life that almost anything - and certainly a few relaxing jars - is instantly forgiveable.
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