Paul Feast Concert With A Difference.

Monday 19th October, 2020 - 12:06pm

On Sunday 11th October Mousehole Male Voice Choir gave the traditional feast concert in the parish church. This concert though, was different. Due to the on-going Covid-19 situation, the concert itself was a virtual one featuring songs performed by the choir and recorded for posterity and available on ‘You Tube’. A very limited audience was present, in line with the restrictions, and the ‘choir’ were hosted for the evening by the choir’s indomitable musical director, Steve Lawry.

The evening followed the same format as a proper concert (ie groups of three). The first group commenced with the hymn tune “I Need Thee Every Hour” which had been performed at an outdoor concert in Mousehole, conducted by Tom Waters and accompanied by John Harry. This was followed by songs recorded on one of the choir’s very successful tours and performed in Southark Cathedral, London. 

During the interval the audience were entertained by the pupils of Mousehole school and videoed at the school. This included a piece called Paul feast calypso.

What made this evening unique was the presentation to one of the choir’s top tenors, Derek Harvey. Derek celebrates 70 years in the choir on 19th October this year. In 1950, when he joined he was auditioned by the then musical director, Maddern Williams. After being accepted, Derek said “You weren’t allowed to sing in a concert unless the conductor thought you were able to - you never had any probation period then and never did a concert until the following Summer”. The choir’s president, Kath Matthews presented Derek with a certificate recognising 70 years of singing from the The Cornwall Federation of Male Choirs. The choir’s Chairman, Jon Pender, also spoke a few words about Derek and presented him with a Congratulations card from the Choir. Jon read the words in the card out to the audience “To Derek, Many congratulations and a special thank you for achieving a remarkable 70 years dedicated and loyal service. This is not only as a first tenor singer but also as an outstanding assistant treasurer for most of your service. Best wishes from all your friends in Mousehole MVC”. Derek then received a well deserved standing ovation from all present.  

The choir will present Derek with something more substantial once the restrictions have eased and all the choir can gather to mark this wonderful anniversary together. Maybe this anecdote sums up Derek’s dedication, as a carpenter and joiner he said “I was working on a roof. fell off, fractured three vertebrae and did the Summer Concert in agony. We did ‘Nidaros’ and I was determined I was going to sing that after all the practice we had done on it over such a long time. I went to the concert - but I wasn’t very comfortable”.

The two outstanding pieces of music during the evening was the Choir singing ‘Gwahoddiad’ with the Sierra wind Orchestra USA at St Mary's church during the Golowan festival and also ‘And Can It Be’ at the International Choir Festival Competition in 2019 in  Truro Cathedral. The final section included ‘The Old Woman’  conducted by Portia Grant at Mousehole Chapel in 2009 and  ‘You'll Never Walk Alone’ with guest artist Faryl Smith from a recent Summer festival concert in St Mary's Church, Penzance and the popular and most appropriate piece in these difficult times "We Rise Again” recorded at Barnstaple Parish Church. The evening finished with the blessing and prayer given by the Vicar, Rev Andrew Yates.

This evening would not have happened and been as successful as it was without the amazing work which went into creating the virtual concert by Steve Lawry and Kevin Wild. Thanks must also go to Rev Andrew Yates in hosting this special evening. 

Photo Credits: Jon Pender & Jane Harvey

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