Saturday, August 25, 2012

Marian Consort revisited

In July the cathedral choir decamped south to sing the services in Beverley Minster for the weekend, and to my surprise and delight one of the small number of 'extras' singing was a friend I knew very well from the 1990s when we both sang in The Marian Consort although we'd since lost contact and the last time we met or spoke was probably 1996.

The Marian Consort was an ad hoc choir consisting of friends of the choirmaster who he'd met during his time at various churches around the UK, including Glasgow, Wells and Horsham amongst other places. Between 1991 and 1996 we gathered from far and wide and met for a week each year singing the daily services to a very high standard in the cathedrals of Wells (twice), Lincoln, Norwich, Edinburgh (Episcopal). and Winchester. The increasing workload in organising this annual treat combined with young children meant that it sadly didn't continue beyond our Winchester visit, and although contact between some remained there were some good friendships which seemed to have fallen by the wayside. Some of those friendships still haven't been reestablished as yet, but I'm glad to say one has because of that visit to Beverley!

Reminiscing fondly in the pub at Beverley I was genuinely surprised when Becca pointed out that it was over 20 years since the choir had burst onto an unsuspecting Wells Cathedral, and so the talk inevitably turned to a reunion, so we've been putting our heads together and consulting some others and we think we've come up with a list of most of those who sang at some point over the six years of the choir's existence.

And so yesterday I sent an email to 19 people, asking if they'd be interested in getting together again for a weekend, hopefully next year, to sing somewhere. And of course to socialise, because that was one of the great things about the Marian Consort, we sang to an astonishingly high standard for a choir that only met for a single week every year and although most of that was down to the skill of our choirmaster, part of the reason for it was that we very quickly turned a group of people who didn't know each other into a cohesive body simply because we socialised together and became real friends really quickly. Lots and lots of alcohol, that was the key! Those weeks were genuinely some of the best ones of my life.

Hopefully most of the initial 19 people I just contacted will be up for it, and hopefully they'll still be in contact with some of the other people I named in the email but for whom I don't have contact details, so we can continue to spread the word.

Watch this space.

Oh, and I know there's currently a UK choir called the Marian Consort, but it's unconnected.

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