The warmth of the welcome from everyone at Sellack, including the Rev. Crispin Pemberton, for the first concert of the 2016-17 Music in Quiet Places series at St. Tysilio’s Church was outstanding and the generosity of the catering had to be seen to be believed. Tray after tray of sandwiches, cakes and canapes arrived and the fact that nearly everything was consumed by audience and perfomers alike testifies to their quality. It was quite somethng for Hereford Cathedral School Senior Chamber Choir and Chamber Musicians to be able to sing and play after the interval.
Sing and play they did, once more to a very high standard, performing pieces as varied as the theme from The Incredible Hulk and Bridge Over Troubled Water, to Brahms’ Geistliches Lied. There were items from Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols sung by the ladies and conducted by Livi van Warmelo, a choir member who took her place with the baton, and a capella items by the gentlemen (directed by Ben Abbott) including the Teddy Bears Picnic. The full choir is fortunate to include among its members two girls with lovely solo voices, one high enough to do justice to the top soprano in Lord Lloyd Webber’s Pie Jesu while John Tavener’s Song for Athene, sung at the funeral of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, was particularly haunting. The young man who provided the sustained bass throughout did an extraordinary job. It was hard to remember that many of these young people only had four weeks of experience with the choir.
We listened to instrumentalists too, the Senior Piano Trio (piano, cello and violin) and Michael D’Avanzo played a piece by Faure. There was even audience participation in the form of a competition between one side of the church and another in attempting to pronounce llanfairpwllgwyngyll-gogerychwyrndrobwll-llantysilio-gogogoch. You may notice the name Tysilio in there – St. Tysilio’s at Sellack is the only English church dedicated to this Celtic saint but David Evans, Musical Director at the Cathedral School, is Welsh…..
The entire evening was a pleasure and a delight, much enjoyed by everybody present, the interior of this lovely small church providing an intimate experience for us all.