On Saturday 1st June, I was lucky to have the opportunity to attend a choral event with John Rutter, which was being held at Chelmsford Cathedral. Approximately 200 people attended the communal singing from 10am – 3.30pm. The purpose of the day was to raise funds for the Music Therapy Centre at Anglia Ruskin University. Rutter, one of Britain’s best known composers and conductors of choral music, received an Honorary Doctor of Music from Anglia Ruskin in 1999 and a CBE in 2007, in recognition of his outstanding services to music.
I was a bit apprehensive at first but I soon got into it. The other singers from choirs throughout Essex and East London were very friendly. We were organised into four parts (soprano, alto, tenor and bass) and were really put through our paces. John Rutter is an extremely warm and friendly man and he managed, with his humour and encouragement, to get us singing to our full ability and really enjoying it. He wasn’t nearly as intimidating as I had feared.
We sang ten pieces of music altogether, which included:
Laudate Dominum (from ‘Solemn Vespers’)
God so Loved the World – John Stainer
This is the Day (composed by Rutter for the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton in 2011)
It was possible to buy CDs and sheet music of John Rutter’s works and he was kind enough to sign the sheet music for those people who wanted him to (including me).
I was also impressed with Chelmsford Cathedral which I had never visited before. There is a lovely mix of old and new in the art and the artefacts around the cathedral. Also, the acoustics are very good because the building is large enough for the sound to reverberate but not so big that the sound gets ‘lost’ in the rafters. I was not surprised to learn that concerts are held there regularly and I would be happy to return to listen to music there one evening.
I had a wonderful day singing with some really nice people conducted by renowned British composer in a beautiful setting and it was all in a good cause.