We were treated to an evening of choral and chamber music featuring musicians from Hereford Cathedral School and Malvern St. James, and what a glorious evening it was. David Furnival (Chairman of the Trust) gave a short introduction to the church, mentioning such fascinating details as the slot in the external stone wall (now in the porch) which was apparently used by archers to sharpen their arrowheads before venturing off to battle. The potential enemy to slaughter was probably the Welsh as the Crusaders (whose crosses can also be seen on the wall) would have blunted their arrow heads long before reaching the shores of the Holy Land. We can only speculate!
More certain was the talent to be found among the music students from both schools which had sent accomplished choirs to entertain us with modern pieces such as the Lux Aurumque by Whitacre and more traditional pieces like Steal Away, the well-known spiritual, sung with great feeling by the girls of Malvern St. James. The Whitacre, performed in the first half by the Cathedral School, was sung in an unusual formation with the singers moving to sing from individual spots at the back of the church rather than from a conventional choir grouping. Sung without accompaniment or scores for the choir this was a stunning performance and one which would have been even more atmospheric by candlelight.
Chamber music was provided by individuals and small groups with wonderful performances by Genevieve Phillipe of The Swan by Saint Saens and Mozart’s Fantasia in D Minor by Charmaine Li and Henry Wieniawsky’s Legende by Orlando Timmerman.
Perhaps the most unusual piece was the Cathedral School’s rendition of Elgar’s Nimrod, sung without words rather than with the usual orchestra. This was very effective and showed particularly well how voices are musical instruments in their own right.
The final piece, Ev’rytime I feel the Spirit, an African-American spiritual sung by the combined choirs, was a rousing and energetic end to a wonderful evening’s entertainment, appreciated by the audience in a full church. Huge credit must go to David Evans of the Cathedral School and Lynne Lyndner from Malvern St. James for preparing their students so well, and HHCT and audience alike owe a huge debt of gratitude to the vicar of Colwall (Melanie Horton) and the churchwardens for their help and extremely warm welcome.