As we assembled to start the afternoon workshop with Jeffrey Skidmore, the heavens opened once again, proving that moving the Revels to midsummer is no guarantee of better weather! Of course, as soon as we started exploring the South American Baroque repertoire we could feel a hint of virtual sunshine even if the actual temperature stayed chilly for the time of year and we thought wistfully of the roaring fires that Middleton Hall staff kindly provide for Winter Revels.
The South American Baroque selection that Jeffrey had chosen allowed us to sample a variety of moods and languages from an area of music that he has studied extensively and continues to research for his group Ex Cathedra. With a balanced group of singers and instrumental group we tackled a lively celebration piece, a sweet invocation of the Virgin Mary, a solemn processional enlivened by discreet percussion, and others. Jeffrey Skidmore is not afraid to test out different combinations to enrich what are sometimes simple pieces, clearly written for local singers/congregation and band to learn by heart and no doubt play repeatedly during services, much as happens in some churches today.
After a satisfying workshop, the MEMF AGM took place. Welcome to two new Committee members, Meg Forgan and Jonathan Spencer. Farewell and heartfelt thanks to Jim Rowley (former Chairman) and Kate King-Smith – both long-standing members who have made a huge contribution to MEMF. Minutes will be sent round as usual.
The traditional evening entertainment allowed MEMF members to share some of their favourite party pieces, and take part in madrigal singing and Playford dances. What a treat to leave at the end of the evening in almost daylight!
A full review will appear in the next Newsletter as usual.