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Lead me, Lord

Singing Tour of Churches in the Vale of the White Horse
: Bank Holiday Monday, May 3rd 2010 2 - 6pm


Peter Smith
Magdalen College School
Cynthia Hall
Leamington, All Saints'

This peripatetic Evensong took us to some of the most westerly parishes of Oxfordshire (and in the Archdeaconry of Berkshire). 70 singers gathered at All Saints', Faringdon to rehearse the service music under the direction of Peter Smith ( Magdalen College School, Oxford) with Cynthia Hall (Leamington All Saints’) at the organ. Then at 3 pm, the group joined a coach to take them first to Coleshill All Saints’. The church stands on a hill with a view of Wiltshire countryside in part of the Diocese of Bristol. After the organ voluntary, we sang the Introit Lead me, Lord, chosen to acknowledge the 200th anniversary this year of the birth of its composer, S. S. Wesley. After the opening Ferial Responses, it was off to St Giles', Great Coxwell, parts of which are even more ancient than the nearby and more famous 13th century tithe barn. At St. Giles’s Church, we sang Psalm 81 (Sing we merrily unto God our strength) to a chant by Henry Smart, and after the First Lesson we went on to St Mary's, Uffington, the “Cathedral of the Vale” (with its octagonal tower and superb modern pews) where we were greeted by the Revd Rosanna Martin, incumbent of both Uffington and the next church in our tour, Shellingford St. Faith. At Uffington, we sang the Office Hymn His cheering message from the grave to a plainsong melody, followed by the Magnificat to Sir George Dyson’s unison setting in C minor. After the Second Lesson, we left sunny Uffington for the delightful church of St Faith, Shellingford, along a route full of spring colour and blossom. This predominently-Norman church has a 17th century spire with a fibreglass upper section! There we sang the Nunc Dimittis to the Dyson setting, said the Apostles’ Creed, the Lesser Litany and The Lord’s Prayer and sang the Responses. We returned to Faringdon to sing the anthem, O thou the central Orb by Charles Wood and the final hymn, The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended (St. Clement), between which the Revd Canon Timothy Wimbush (Rector of Wykeham) gave a short Address and led us in prayer. Cynthia Hall played the Theodore Dubois Toccata for the final voluntary before we all enjoyed a splendid tea provided by All Saints'. We are very grateful to Terence Carter, Chairman of RSCM Oxfordshire, for his meticulous planning of this very happy and successful event.












1) Faringdon, All Saints'
2) Coleshill, All Saints'
3) Great Coxwell, St Giles'
4) Uffington, St Mary
5) Shellingford, St Faith
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