Experiencing the majesty and glory of the traditional hymns

Thank you to Mary Anne and Andrew David for the inspiring programme ‘A Feast of Hymns’ on Saturday, October 9 at St. Paul’s Church, Milagiriya. The very large gathering, indeed overflowing into the garden demonstrated that there is not a niche but a chasm for such a singing experience. This in spite of the low- key advertisement of the event. We in the enthusiastic audience did experience the majesty and the glory of the traditional hymns.

The choir leading the singing included the Merry-An Singers and choristers from churches in Colombo (well over 50 in number). They themselves seemed to be enjoying singing. Mary Anne was able to get a degree of melodious harmonization inspite of the few practice sessions.

The programme was collated by Andrew and sequenced by Mary Anne so that each section flowed smoothly without interruption. Niranjan is always a wizard at the organ and assisted in making the evening a success. Perhaps the placement of the organ was not appropriate and it didn’t sound that well, but his flourishes at producing sounds of the trumpets and flutes added to the grandeur.

The audience, many of them choral singers themselves, sang in harmony from wherever they were seated and what a glorious sound it was, the likes of which I have heard only at Lylie Godridge’s funeral or memorial service. The fervour and inspiration on their faces as they sang hymns like ‘How Great Thou Art’, “Great is Thy faithfulness’ was evident.

I quote: “ It is more than the tune of the song he sings
And more than the poet’s rhyme
It is the spirit of God through these things
That gives them their power sublime” (Author unknown)
The programme was artistically printed, it will certainly not end up in the waste paper basket. However it was too long. Perhaps you could cut down the number of verses in a long hymn or reduce the number of hymns.

The venue will have to be larger to accommodate the crowd if another such Festival of Hymns is in the pipe line.

I quote from one of the snippets used as fillers in the programme
“ Music is God’s gift to man The only art of heaven given to earth
And the only art of earth we take to heaven”- Walter Savage Landor
There is quite a choir waiting for us to join them- Lylie, Father Claver, Lorraine……

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