Sunday 21 October 2007

Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice

Jonathan Marler remembers:

Every morning was started with chapel in the gym/theatre. The choir sat on the stage and every service started with the singing of the Venite.

We would all go to the village church for the annual carol service. In my first year, I was called upon to sing the opening verse of Once in Royal David’s City, which was a great honour.

Funny, I don't remember the annual carol service in the village church myself. Apparently my memory is at fault again.

I do remember arriving at the school at the age of 9 and finding myself in chapel with a hymn book in my hands and no idea what I was supposed to do. My family wasn't religious and it was my first encounter with any kind of religion.

Stephen Fry seems to remember with horror the new tune for the hymn 'O Jesus I have promised' that was introduced partway through my time at the school. I remember that tune because I rather liked it (and its cheerful piano accompaniment), and I could still sing it from memory, if required. I'm afraid I don't remember the old tune.


Anonymous said...

Visits to the village church were often in my time, mid '70's. This was always on a Sunday with us having to wear our Sunday Best suits (dark grey) and shoes. We would walk there and I think the vicar at that time was the Reverend Davies. Sometimes he would come to school and take morning prayers too.
On one occasion I remember Mr Kemp having a bad 'turn' outside the church which was quite worrying especially when you're young.
We had a talented musician in our form, Nicholas Ridley who I believe played the organ at the church on at least one occasion.
Alan Davis

Julian Williams said...

Jonathan I think you are wrong since I also remember the annual carol services which took place every year in the church in Uley.

I think the carol service started with the choir walking through the church to their seats with a solo soprano singing the first verse of Once in Royal David's city. As Alan says we walked to the church and back in our Sunday best (grey herring-bone overcoats) In summer, or was it on sunny days, we wore boaters with navy-blue ribbon bands (I still have mine).

The uniforms were often second hand, passed down from one generation to the next, through the school who had a cupboard on the landing where they were all kept.

For new uniforms we had to go to Daniel Neil's in Cheltenham.

I think we had one practice session of the carol service before the final event. On one occasion I was caned for kicking a stone out on to the road on the way back from carol service practice.

There was a vicar from Uley church who came and conducted the school morning service in the gym (I think on Tuesdays. The same vicar conducted the carol service (I do not remember his name).

I remember the school services in the gym included a school choir with the choir boys dressed in traditional red and white(?)choir cassocks. The numbers for the hymns to be sung, such things as Onward Christian Soldiers, were on a wooden rack to one side.

Jonathan said...

Thanks, Alan and Julian. A bit worrying, that. If the whole school went every year I can't see how I could have avoided it, but I have no memory of the church in Uley at all. So much for my memory...

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, the village church, and the carol singing around the village.
Joey Evans, voice like an angel, doing the Once in Royal solo, (not to mention his performances in Salad Days and King and I).
The Venite was Sundays only, along with the Te Deum, and Soggie Sawden on the pedal organ...

Anonymous said...

There was a modern version of "At the name of Jesus" as well as of
"Oh Jesus I have promised".
I remember the hidden altar in the gym where you opened sliding doors and hey presto! the gym became a chapel, the prefect on duty used to have to get things ready I seem to remember, as you always had to track down a master who smoked to get some matches to light the candles. Then you had to line up all the boys in neat rows as they walked in.