It was a wonderful challenge for the Choristers of Schola Cantorum to sing Evensong for a Radio 3 live broadcast within the first three weeks of the new academic year. The opportunity provided a significant focus for the choir and from the start of term the boys concentrated hard on rehearsing for the big day.
Excitement started building the day before, when on arrival for Evensong, the BBC Outside Broadcast van was already in situ directly outside the Abbey. The service the choir sang reflected the programme for the broadcast, being the equivalent of a dress rehearsal.
The following day, live to millions (and repeated the following Sunday) it was an absolute triumph! The choir sang with terrific confidence, performing a wide range of musically challenging repertoire, with the most amazing blend of choral sounds reverberating through the Norman columns; it was a wonderful treat for the 100 strong congregation and a privilege to enjoy the benefit of Tewkesbury Abbey with Schola Cantorum at their best.
Chorister, Tom Elwes said, “The intensity of waiting to go live was amazing, we were all sitting, waiting for the red light to go off, and it was scary having lots of microphones everywhere. However, the following Sunday it was incredible to listen to, I felt really proud.”
There is no doubt that Mr Bell has been masterful in his recruitment of choristers in recent years – the talent pool, the blend of voices, the cohesion with the Lay Clerks and this Radio 3 live broadcast did not disappoint – yet another fantastic performance.