...keeping Somerset's churches & chapels alive


Autumn Talk becomes Singalong


We ended our 2017 programme with a most successful talk and organ recital by Ray Willis at The Bishop's Palace Chapel in Wells on Friday 24th November with everyone joining in a rendition of The Old Hundredth to demonstrate the development of church music down the ages. Click on the heading for more.

Ray Willis is not only the organist at the Bishop's Palace Chapel but is also one of the Bath and Wells Diocesan Committee Organ Advisors, organist at Yeovil Parish Church and Musical Director to the Exeter University Choral Society. Ray took time out of his busy schedule to explain to us and to demonstrate with organ pieces how church music has developed and the important part it plays in the church liturgy.

The chapel was filled to capacity and Ray got us all on our feet to sing "All people that on earth do dwell" starting very slowly and in unison and finally with the last verse sung at a modern tempo and with full harmonies on the organ to demonstrate how the interpretation of music in churches has developed over the centuries. Members of the trust love looking at church buildings but Ray's talk made us realise that it is music that brings those building to life. 

A request from a member of the audience resulted in an impromptu performance of the toccata from Widor's fifth organ symphony in F an unexpected and thrilling end to a great talk and recital.

We then retired to the great entrance hall in the Palace for a glass of wine and the chance to warm up by a roaring log fire. Christmas didn't seem that far away.
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