Cathedral Voice

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June 13, 2023

The Choir of the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace performs at the Temple Church

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On the twelfth of May in the hallowed stone walls of Temple Church, a glorious musical celebration unfolded, bringing together worshippers and lovers of choral music alike. This special occasion, a Coronation Celebration Concert, was orchestrated by His Majesty’s Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace, my spiritual home and the beneficiary of the Cathedral Music Trust. The sheer splendour of the night was breath-taking. As the sun set, a symphony of voices filled the church with its magnificent acoustic, evoking a palpable sense of awe. With each choral and musical piece, the Chapel choir and the London Handel Players conjured centuries of music for coronations and royal festivals, allowing us a glimpse into our regal past and present.

The choir was nothing short of magnificent, their voices combining to create a mesmerising choral tapestry that reflected both their individual talents and their collective unity. Parry’s “I was Glad”, with its antiphonal choir effects, brass fanfares, and acclamations of “Vivat Rex” affirm that they are more than a choir; they are custodians of a rich and revered musical heritage. As the final note of the National Anthem faded into the hush of Temple Church, a wave of emotion washed over me. I was profoundly moved, not just by the music but also by the palpable sense of unity in the room. It was a night to remember, a testament to the enduring power of choral music and its connection with the Royal Family.

Two individuals who merit recognition for their contributions to the night’s success are Carl Jackson, the Director of Music, and Sophie Baylis, the Music and Choir Coordinator. Carl’s conducting was inspired; it was evident in each note, in the rhythmic ebb and flow of the performance. Sophie’s efforts in coordinating the choir and providing the programme notes were brilliant.

Being a part of such an evening was more than a pleasure; it was a privilege. I walked away with a renewed appreciation for, and love of, choral music and a heartfelt gratitude to the Cathedral Music Trust for all it does for our and other Foundations. With the echoes and memories of the beautiful music still ringing in my ears, I look forward to the many more celebrations to come.