18 December 2018
On Sunday, the Stenton Singers gave us a treat with their ‘Carols at Stenton’. They pressed all the right buttons with Britten, Todd, Chilcott and Rutter. And started their programme with a French couplet.
They sang ‘Away in a Manger’ to the tune Normandy and sang the French carol, ‘Il est ne’ exquisitely. Their French was very good, practised well during a visit to France in the autumn, enriching and deepening friendships with another people,another culture.
Two highlights – Britten’s setting of Southwell’s poem, ‘This Little Babe’, was very exciting and Bob Chilcott’s arrangement of a sixteenth century carol was brilliantly enlivened by the addition of three percussion instruments – drums, triangle and maraca.
Violins were woven into two other carols. Elgar’s snow falling and Shaw’s shining light were beautifully portrayed in the instrumental line. And, of course, the congregation got to sing seven carols. One of them was new and very appealing.
Lynda is sometimes referred to as ‘our glorious leader’ by members of the choir. Whilst she doesn’t aspire to divinity, her hardwork and imagination did enable us to catch a glimpse of glory in Southwell’s ‘Little Babe’.
He sees the baby challenging Satan’s fold ‘with tears he fights and wins the field’and ‘his battering shot are babish cries’and ‘his martial ensigns cold and need,/and feeble flesh his warrior’s steed.’
The Singers are raising money for LORD – Late Onset of Retina Degeneration, a condition which results in loss of sight. There is a genetic component to the disease which can be traced back to an eighteenth century family in our neighbouring parish, Spott!