Music is good for the health – studies in recent years have shown its importance to our mental, physical and emotional health. It can certainly lift our mood and bring people together, as was ably demonstrated on Saturday by Singing and Reminiscing, a celebration at St John’s Church of the past 175 years in music and memories.
Wendy Edwards and Margaret Emberson led the audience, along with members of the choirs of St John’s and St George’s, in singing songs from each decade since St John’s Church was founded in 1844.
Though some of these were from years that no-one would be able to remember, Wendy and Margaret had gone to the trouble of finding ones which were well enough known for us to be able to sing along with ease. So we happily joined in with familiar numbers such as My Grandfather’s Clock; Where Did You Get That Hat?; and Keep the Home Fires Burning, and then moved on to those which at least most in the audience could remember from the original recordings – including Sunrise, Sunset; a Beatles medley; some ABBA; The Music of the Night (with a very effective solo from Bill Thomas and an extremely high E from Margaret); and the moving A Flower Remembered, written by John Rutter as a commemoration of the victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami followed by a nuclear accident at Fukushima in Japan.
For the present day there was a new song, which we sang in a round under Margaret’s guidance – Song for Saint John’s, which Margaret had written to celebrate what we do at the church – and rounded off with a rousing version of the hymn For All the Saints.
In between Wendy spoke about the history of St John’s and the area and even produced a picture of the church’s founder Bishop Charles Sumner and his wife Jennie, which had to have been taken before 1849 as Jennie died that year.
Part way through we stopped for a cream tea with melt-in-the-mouth homemade scones, and there was plenty of reminiscing as old friends caught up with each other.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and huge thanks must go not just to Wendy and Margaret and the choir, but to all those who worked so hard behind the scenes to make this a success.
There has been an unprecedented number of special events at St John’s over the past few months as we have celebrated the 175th birthday of the church and without the hard work and support of church members these events would never have happened. The whole parish is truly grateful – and a little bit awed!
Wendy, Margaret and the choirs are taking Singing and Reminiscing to Farnham Mill nursing home in November where I know it will be hugely appreciated.
Pictured top: The choir with Wendy and Margaret.