Angel delight!

A memorable Angelic weekend 

AN ANGEL FESTIVAL with angels filling every nook and cranny of the Parish Church was a resounding success. The occasion began on the Friday with a crowded Coffee and Cake Morning with entertainment provided by cherubs from the School. The event  continued on the Saturday with an all-day 'open house' and continued in the evening with an outstanding Angel Tidings Concert featuring the talented Voces Seraphorum. And on the Sunday the weekend concluded with a Christingle service (see report below). The church was beautifully decorated with angels, many lighted, on the altar, window sills, lectern and font. Among the exhibits was a remarkable screen put together by Sheila Kindon who used pictures of angels taken from the Bible presented to her grandmother in 1902 to decorate it. The event, which took over two months to plan, was put together by a team of almost 20 parishioners led by Sue Short with contributions from the School and The Stitchers. The Festival was an amazingly successful event which has impressed everyone who has attended any part of it.

 
 A welcoming angel.  Angel wings made from feathers from pillows.
   
 Looks of wonder from Luke and Alyssa. Sheila Kindon's angelic screen.
   
 Refreshment team: Angel  cakes with every cuppa.  Waiting to wait on you - Theo, aged 7

 
 A crowded Church on Friday for coffee and cake and to hear the angelic voices of cherubs from the School.

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This Christingle service was bang up to date!


This year's new style Christingle service at the Parish Church had particular resonance for the children.

Stuart Newsome,  Lay Worship Leader, produced a giant orange lampshade which he said represented the world. He then invited children in the congregation to come forward and give it a good bang with a stick which is the end would result in all its sweet contents pouring out!

The children needed no second invitation, and formed a long queue down the central aisle, waiting their turn. The world slowly disintegrated, and eventually fell apart pouring wrapped  sweets and chocolate out all over the floor. There was then a scramble to recover and share their just deserts!

The process , of course, was accompanied by a message. Our world, like to lampshade, was broken and needed mending so items for a repair kits were found. In real terms the way of repairing a broken world was goodness, kindness and prayer.

In a later more traditional part of the Christingle service children were given candles, formed a queue again down the central aisle and one by one had their little candles lighted.

The service also saw the start of the Jerusalem Journey in which a figurine of Mary, Joseph and a donkey will 'lodge' with a different family round the village every night before it is returned to the Church on Christmas Eve for the Crib service. The Newsomes were first to provide  hospitality for the holy family.

Parish priest,The Revd Sheila Murray, again thanked everyone who had contributed to the huge success of the Angel Festival weekend.

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We just can't wait for the return of this choir!

By Alan Ebbutt

A large audience gathered in our beautifully decorated Church on Advent Saturday to hear a wonderful concert by this Harrogate Choir. I am sure you were able to join in the Angel Festival in some way, but if you couldn’t get to the concert then you missed a treat.

The choir, consisting of 22 singers ably conducted by Musical Director Kevin Paynes, presented a programme of 19 choral songs in four sections separated by ensemble items.  The first section looked back to early music from the renaissance and it was perhaps surprising to hear how modern these pieces sound.  ‘Angelus ad Virginem’ arranged by David Willcocks remains a popular piece with choirs and was beautifully sung.

Next some traditional Christmas songs including ‘Angel Tidings’ arranged by John Rutter and ‘Rise up Shepherd’ arranged by Gordon Thornett.  The two sections were separated by a beautiful arrangement of ‘Schon Rosmarin’ for flute and piano, a Bach chorale and organ prelude and the duet ‘Evening Prayer’, for soprano and alto.

A choral miscellany followed the interval where the stand out piece was ‘O Magnum Mysterium’ by Morten Lauridsen - hauntingly beautiful song brilliantly performed by the choir.  If you haven’t heard it, you need to go to u-tube immediately and listen to the version performed by Kings College Choir.  Suffice to say that Voces Seraphorum’s performance compared very well with the college choir.

Gabriel’s Oboe by Morricone followed and then an amusing performance of the Goslings by Frank Bridge. The final section featuring present day songs included the ‘Carol of the Bells’ by Leontovich and John Rutter’s ‘Angels’ Carol’ but perhaps most striking was the less well known ‘Only in Sleep’ by Eriks Esenvalds featuring a beautiful soprano solo.

We hope to hear the choir back in St John’s in 2019.  Once the date is finalised please enter it in large print in your diary.  It will be an occasion that you 
cannot afford to miss.

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