Wall of Sound goes to town

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On Tuesday December 6,  I was privileged to be part of a wonderful experience in London. Wall of Sound, the Rye and London-based choir run and conducted by the talented and irrepressible Royal-Academy-trained Sandra Scott, had been asked to sing at a candlelit service of carols and readings in aid of Dame Esther Rantzen’s Silver Line appeal. The service took place in the church of St Bartholomew the Great in Smithfield. Founded in 1123 this is the oldest church in London.

St Bartholomews Church
St Bartholomews Church

About 12 Rye members made their various ways to London and met up with about the same number of London members at the church at 4:30pm to run through our songs and to rehearse our procession into the church. Without exception all of the Rye contingent were impressed by the majesty and atmosphere of the building and we realised how lucky we were to be performing there.

The service took the form of carols with audience participation and several readings and poems. These were given by Miriam Margolyes, Susannah Reid and Nicholas Parsons. Nicholas recited Christmas Day in the Workhouse, which is a good five minutes long, and did it from memory with no faltering – no mean feat at 92 years old. Dame Esther then gave a brief talk on the work done by the Silver Line appeal.

Interspersed between these, Wall of Sound sang five festive songs arranged by Sandra and which we sang unaccompanied, as is all our material. Seated up in the choir stalls, we sang our hearts out. We felt so privileged to be singing in that magnificent place and space. Afterwards several people came and said how much they enjoyed it. So good to hear.

I am afraid to report that the evening then took on a slightly different aspect. Most of us decided that a drink would be a good way to round off the day and we repaired to the Butcher’s Hook just around the corner There we treated the customers of this very busy pub to a lively rendition of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Time beckoned and the Rye contingent made their way to St Pancras and thence to Ashford and myself back to Guestling Green. A great night and all thanks to Sandra for all her hard work and for putting Rye on the map .

Photo: David Hance

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