Yesterday I went to North Walsham to take part in a singing day with the composer John Rutter
. He writes mainly sacred choral music which is very popular with church choirs and congregations/audiences (even if sometimes sniffed at by "serious" classical music buffs).
I was there with some 450 people to enjoy being guided through some of Rutter's vast output. We sang from his Requiem
; A Clare Benediction
; New Year
; For the beauty of the earth
; All things bright and beautiful
... and many more. It was a good day, despite the church where it was held having been double booked: we had to make way for a wedding at 1230.
During the enforced long lunch break I started walking towards the North Walsham and Dilham Canal, but gave up as it was just a bit too far away.
The town sign was the nearest I got to the canal.
In the evening, much nearer home, Jan and I went to a concert in Hethersett Methodist Church given by soprano Elizabeth Watts
, winner of the Cardiff Singer of the World 2007 song prize.
We were blown away - almost literally - by her performance (we were sitting in the front row). Lizzie is already a top-flight singer, and is still rising through the ranks. Why was she singing in little old Hethersett Methodist Church? She grew up in the village; that was her church; and it is from there that we know her. There's a good review of the evening here
. It was a great privilege to hear her sing on her home ground, in a humble church building, considering that she's performed at the Proms and in concert halls throughout the world. Did I mention she used to baby-sit for us?