I’ve been spending time in another church. Not on Sundays, this is for choir rehearsal. Where we usually rehearse has been double booked and All Saints in Kingston offered us their church.
I sing with a community choir. Our songs range from folk, world, pop and…just about anything and this December we have four performances (though I’m doing just the three). We have sung in All Saints before in the past – concerts as well as rehearsals – but this time we are there for some weeks. It is an old church, so old that the first King of England was crowned there, well at least on that site. Now needing a lot of work it is due to be cleaned, an extra entrance added along with new buildings and extra toilets (hurray!). Being right in the centre of Kingston it will become the hub of the town.
I have a long association with the church as my parents sang here when they were members of a choral society and my brother and I were dragged along to concerts but we always loved the Christmas concerts. We also used to come some Sunday mornings with them but all I did was long for the end of the service!
Now I am back admiring this church. It truly is beautiful. This morning the sun was pouring in through the stained glass windows and with the poppy displays still there and the red banners the building felt warm and cosy. As part of our main concert in Kingston’s Rose Theatre (Charity concert) we will sing four Christmas carols – some with the audience and some on our own. What a fitting place to rehearse these, our voices swelling and filling this beautiful place.
When not singing and our musical director was working with the altos, tenors and bases, I sat taking in the wonderful colours of the windows and also the architecture. I am learning some basics of Art History via correspondence course and have been reading about columns, flying buttresses (this doesn’t have any but I think there is a groined vault!) and arches. Rehearsing in All Saints feels good and though it can get difficult with so many of us (nearing 100 on a good day) I do love the atmosphere. We have a succession of different ‘audiences’ from the homeless to tourists, shoppers popping in for coffee and to buy charity Christmas cards, and today we had a small flock of students who clapped!
One of our members told me that a lady came over to her this morning and said that she had not long lost her husband and listening to us was a great comfort. Wow! We can’t do that in the places where we normally rehearse. Here we really are a community choir!
(Do have a look at the website of All Saints including some videos on the tab Where it all Began)