The promise of a feast of Rutter and Rhymes was amply fulfilled at St Michael’s Church, Amberley, last month.
A goodly crowd turned out to join in this celebration of the music of John Rutter on Sunday July 29, performed by an augmented Amberley Church Choir, and a miscellany of poetry chosen and read by villagers.
The choice of poetry ranged across the works of some of our best loved poets, and readers prefaced each reading with the reasons they had picked their particular piece. Many were urged by memories of being read to as a child or schoolday recollections of rhymes learned in the classroom. The result was an eclectic, sometimes thought provoking sometimes amusing, but in all cases, very personal blend of poetic delights.
Rev Alison Pattenden introduced the evening with a welcome and a reading of Psalm 150, which invites Christians to worship and praise irrespective of time or place.
Perhaps not unexpectedly for Amberley residents, the first group of readings had a decidedly horticultural, open air theme. Jane Mason read Walter de la Mare’s evocative ‘The Little Green Orchard’, followed by ‘Song’, John Clare’s hymn to the countryside read by Melanie Edge.
Fittingly, the choir, led by Shirley Linford, sand Rutter’s ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ which doesn’t sound a bit like the hymnbook favourite, but renders the familiar words fresh as the countryside on a summer’s day.
Another favourite was Rutter’s anthem for the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton ‘This is the Day’, with words taken from the Psalms.
The evening finished with a blessing followed by a glass of wine and canapés.