Category Archives: music

A song of praise to a great afternoon

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 ClockWhere 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.

SW

 

Pictured top: The choir with Wendy and Margaret.

 

Music through the years (and a cream tea!)

 

Music, cream teas and happy memories come together at St John’s this weekend in Singing and Reminiscing from 3-5pm on Saturday, August 3.

As part of the St John’s 175th anniversary celebrations, we are holding an informal afternoon of community singing, with songs from each of the decades of the past 175 years, from My Grandfather’s Clock from 1844 to John Rutter’s 2017 composition A Flower Remembered, plus a new number, composed this year, Song for St. John’s by Margaret Emberson. Cream teas will be served and there will be plenty of opportunity to reminisce.

The afternoon will be led by Wendy Edwards and Margaret Emberson and the combined choirs of St John’s and St George’s. Wendy Edwards explains the thinking behind the afternoon: “There must have been billions of musical notes which have resounded through St John’s Church over the last 175 years. Most of these will have been in the form of hymns, anthems, solos, organ pieces, sung mass settings and concerts, formal and informal. We want to celebrate the musical spirit of St John’s.

“We will sing one song for each decade of the last 175 years. These have been carefully selected to be well known and to provide a flavour of that decade. We have traditional and popular songs, a hymn and songs from shows which we hope everyone will enjoy singing with us. The words will be provided.”

Everyone is welcome to this afternoon of music and memories. To help with catering, it would be useful to know how many are coming. Anyone who is planning to come is asked to contact Wendy Edwards at llm.wendy@badshotleaandhale.org or ring the parish office on 07842 761919. However, if you make a last-minute decision to drop in, there will always be room.

Emily the organ sings again

Emily, the Edwardian organ at St Mark’s Church, showed off her versatility in a concert on Saturday, July 20, to celebrate her restoration.

Emily, named after the eccentric local benefactor Emily Mangles who left money to the church in 1912, was celebrated in a light-hearted evening during which John Mansfield, Geoff Willis, Stephen Lacey, Rob Goldfinch and Frances Whewell of the North Hampshire Organists Association (NHOA) performed a varied programme which ranged from Bach’s Toccata in D minor to Gershwin’s I got Rhythm, with vocal accompaniment by singer Wendy Edwards. There was also a demonstration of how an organ works using props worthy of Blue Peter, and some surprises in how individual stops work. We learned some of the background to when and how Emily was built in 1912 and why she needed restoring, and there was even an interview with Emily Mangles herself – in the form of the original Emily’s great-great-great niece.

Emily Mangles the younger told the audience about the family who lived in Poyle Park (near Tongham) and who numbered among them an MP and serious collectors of plants from overseas. There is even an Emily Mangles rhododendron and the family introduced garden designer Gertrude Jekyll to architect Edwin Lutyens, a partnership responsible for some of the country’s most beautiful houses and gardens. The modern Emily Mangles had brought with her a copy of a poem written by her Victorian predecessors called The Hubbub of Poyle which features Emily as ‘Daddy The Good’, referring to her good works in the parish and her love of playing the organ and leading a choir, as well as her passion for pigs and love of crumpets.

While admitting to feeling slightly spooked by seeing the words ‘In Memory of Emily Mangles’ on the organ itself, Emily said how amazed she was at the affection shown for the organ. That was something that shone through the whole evening. There was affection not just from the musicians, but from the large audience, some of whom had known the organ many years ago and had come back to see and hear her, and some of whom were discovering her for the first time.

Emily the organ was made in Hastings, installed in the church in 1912 and is now sounding as good as ever thanks to the restoration by Dean and Shawn from FH Browne & Sons. However, that restoration hasn’t been entirely paid for. At the end of the concert Lesley Crawley told us that, during the course of restoration, new problems had been found. Dean and Shawn had continued the work, trusting that the church would raise the money, so a new appeal has been launched to raise £2,000 more. Details of the appeal appear here and you can give via our JustGiving page by clicking  here.

 

Emily needs a little more help

Emily the organ is asking for help.

Emily, the 107-year-old organ in St Mark’s, has just been restored following several years of fundraising, but in the course of that restoration some new problems emerged. We have already raised £23,000 for the organ, and now need to find a further £2,000 to pay for the extra work.

Lesley Crawley explains the problem: “When the restorers took Emily apart they found some leatherwork which had perished. It seems to be the original leatherwork so is over 100 years old, and if we hadn’t replaced it, the organ would have soon failed.

“The restorers have kindly trusted us to raise the extra money but we need the help to do so, so we are asking the community to give us a hand with this. We are very fond of Emily and she is a real community asset which we are very lucky to have – not many churches have an instrument of such character and appeal. That character and the love people have for her was clearly demonstrated at the concert we held to celebrate in July. We are also lucky to have such willing and entertaining musicians to play her and we look forward to many more concerts as well as being able to use Emily in worship. Added to this, she is now a fine instrument for people to use when learning to play the organ.”

There is more than one way to help raise the £2,000. It is possible to sponsor a pipe – there are 524 of them – and sponsorship starts at £15. Click here to find out more.

Or you can make a donation via our JustGiving page by clicking here. Anyone who donates at least £10 will be invited to an organ concert at St Mark’s in December to hear this wonderful old instrument played by highly skilled and entertaining musicians.

But if you want to come to the concert, please don’t be shy – give your name on the JustGiving page, then email admin@badshotleaandhale.org and you will receive an invitation to the concert in December.

If you prefer, you can send a cheque to The Rectory at 25 Upper Hale Road, Farnham,  GU9 0NX, made payable to The Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale, and again, if you want to come to the concert, add your name and contact details.

Pictured top: Emily the organ. Photo by George Britton.
georgebrittonphotography@gmail.com Instagram – @g3xrg3

Happy birthday party!

St John’s Church celebrated its 175th birthday with a community party on Saturday, July 20, attended by everyone from tiny tots to the Mayor of Farnham.

Cllr Pat Evans, Mayor of Farnham, helped Lesley Crawley to cut a birthday cake, and local residents, including the Mayor’s Consort David Evans and Hale and Heath End councillor Michaela Gray, tucked in to a buffet accompanied by Pimms, tea and coffee, while listening to classic songs performed by singer/songwriters Jasper and the Island, aka Olivia Jasper, and Meg Wassell.

Heavy rain in the morning meant that the festivities had to be moved indoors but that didn’t dampen the party spirit with people spilling over from the crowded tables into the pews. Guests came not just from the Church of England but from other churches and none and we were particularly pleased to welcome members of the Godalming Baha’I community.

There are many people to thank – in particular those from the St John’s congregation who worked tirelessly and cheerfully as they have done at all the events so far, those who made the cakes and Sainsbury’s and Waitrose who generously donated much of the food.

As well as adding her thanks, Lesley Crawley said: “There was a lovely atmosphere with new friendships being formed, and others being deepened, and I believe there were even a couple of old colleagues who bumped into each other after many years. Relationship is central to our understanding of God and it is through our contact with each other that we can express God’s love.”

The next event to celebrate the 175th anniversary of St John’s is an afternoon of Singing and Reminiscing which will take place on Saturday, August 3, from 3-5pm. There will be a cream tea and plenty of opportunities to join in singing old favourites. Everyone is welcome and it would be helpful to know approximate numbers where possible. If you would like to come, please give Wendy Edwards a call on 01252 406772 or 07740 082460. But if you decide to come at the last moment, then please just drop in and join us.

Below: The Mayor and Lesley Crawley cut the cake. 

Bottom: Crown Daisy Nursery enjoyed the celebrations. Jasper and the Island. Happy partygoers (x2). Little Anastasia came from Alton with her mother to join the fun.

Cllr Pat Evans and Rev'd Lesley Crawley

 

Emily’s ready! Come hear the music play

She’s suited, she’s booted and she’s definitely not muted! Emily the organ is playing again at St Mark’s Church on Saturday, July 20, from 7.30pm at a free concert to which everyone is invited.

Emily the pipe organ, named after her benefactor and noted woman of Hale, Emily Mangles, is more than 100 years old and, as befitted her age (she was installed in 1912) needed an overhaul. She has now been completely restored to her former glory by organ specialists FH Browne and Sons and you can hear her play at Saturday’s free concert where performances by members of the North Hampshire Organists’ Association (NHOA) will demonstrate just how good she can sound with a varied programme of work from Gershwin to Bach, with Schubert, Morricone, Grieg and others in between.

Alongside the music there will be a bit about the history of the organ and an interview with none other than Emily Mangles herself…. In fact, we will have the original Emily’s great-great-great niece with us, who is also called Emily Mangles.

All this and cheese and wine too!

The concert is free but there will be an appeal during the evening. Unfortunately, when she was being restored some further problems emerged. This means that we have to raise some more money – another £2,000 is our target – and the restorers have kindly trusted us to do so and finished the job.

The organ is, in the words of Frances Whewell, one of the main people working to ensure that Emily could be restored: “a most marvellous present to St Mark’s which will enhance our worship and all the community events”. She most certainly is.

So come along, listen to Emily and enjoy a special evening on Saturday at 7.30pm at St Mark’s, Alma Lane,  Farnham, GU9 0LT.

Picture by George Britton:
georgebrittonphotography@gmail.com
Instagram – @g3xrg3

 

 

 

It’s party time!

There’s a birthday party in St John’s churchyard, Hale, on Saturday, July 20, from 12-2pm, and everyone is invited.

The party, called Music in the Churchyard, will celebrate the 175th anniversary of St John’s. There will be food and drink and plenty of cake, all of it free, with music by Farnham artist Jasper and the Island, and fellow singer Meg Wassell. Both will be performing well-known songs by bands such as ABBA and Fleetwood Mac alongside classic jazz and old-style numbers.

Jasper and the Island is a singer/songwriter with influences from country, pop and folk, but who also enjoys performing theatre and covers. She currently has original songs on SoundCloud, but will be releasing her debut EP later this year. Jasper and the Island often performs on the last Wednesday of the month at The Plough in Farnham. Meg is a jazz/soul/pop singer songwriter whose influences include Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Amy Winehouse and Gregory Porter. In April, Meg released her debut EP Blood Orange and is vocalist for the Sundown Jazz Society band. She is currently creating new music, playing local festivals and holding jazz residencies in her hometown of Hereford.

Pictured from left: Jasper and the Island (photo by Daisy Sharp); Meg Wassell (photo by Ellie Burd).

The idea behind the party is not just to celebrate a milestone for this beautiful Victorian church which was consecrated in 1844, but to invite everyone to come and enjoy the hospitality which the church offers. Lesley Crawley said: “St John’s is everyone’s church and as well as celebrating our anniversary, we are looking forward to the future and we want the community to be involved in that future. We really want to hear from people what they want from the church and are running a survey for residents and local organisations to complete.” To find the survey click here.

Entry to the party is completely free but we need to know numbers so that we can prepare enough food and drink. Let us know if you are coming by emailing news@badshotleaandhale.org

What a Shindig!

Come to the Music and Art Shindig at St Mark’s, Hale, this Saturday (June 8) from 1.30pm to around 7.30pm.

The event is part of the Farnham Flash Festival 2019 and is open to all.  There will be a wide selection of music all day, starting with a more classical orientation with piano and a trio singing a selection of light music, and ending with a rock and blues jam session in the evening.

There is a very special choir coming – Kindred Spirits, which is a forum for people with breast cancer to come together for support and friendship. They will be singing a fantastic set and then there will be South American guitar, instrumental electric guitar, electric blues and a peformance of folk roots music by Cajun Boogaloo.

It all takes place at St Mark’s, Alma Lane, GU9 0LT. Doors open at 1.15pm; cash bar and café in the afternoon; barbecue at 5.30pm. The Amazing Mr McDonut will provide uproarious entertainment at 5pm.

Entry is free so you can come and go as you please, and the layout is informal, café-style.

There will be the opportunity to make donations to the charity Mary’s Meals (marysmeals.org.uk) which works in 18 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean to provide meals for school children who would otherwise go hungry.

Hundreds flock to first flower festival

“Warm, welcoming, colourful, life-affirming, loving, nourishing and sustaining.” That was just one description of the inaugural flower festival at St John’s Church over the weekend of May 18-19.

The festival was a huge success and attracted hundreds of visitors who gave warm praise for an event which was packed not just with people and flowers, but also with art, craft, music, refreshments and a happy, relaxed atmosphere.

Community groups, local organisations, artists, schools, churches, charities and other faith groups all came together to create floral displays, art and craft, filling the church with colour and scent. There were flowers on window sills, tables and in the pulpit; paintings on walls and easels and strung across the church; floral photographs on display; a table of hats with a floral theme; and even a chance to taste gin made with local elderflowers.

The tea and cake stand did brisk business, while others sipped Pimm’s, and a table full of plants from Bells Piece, the local Leonard Cheshire home, was almost emptied, partly thanks to the advice and selling skills of gardening expert John Negus. In all the festival made more than £1,100 for the church to help it in its work in north Farnham.

Visitors were enthusiastic with their praise. “Beautiful flowers to match the beautiful church,” said one visitor, while another said: “Lovely – so great to see community projects working together”, and another: “I had a brilliant time and was made to feel very welcome by all of you”. There have already been requests for another festival next year.

“Thank you so much to everyone who took part over the weekend,” said Rev’d Lesley Crawley. “The festival was a real celebration of community and creativity and was a fitting launch to a series of events to mark the 175th anniversary of St John’s Church. Thank you to those who visited the festival; to those who contributed displays, art and craft; to the musicians; the cake-bakers; those who served tea, coffee and cake; those who moved tables, washed up, put up posters and bunting – everyone who took part in any way.

“For the past 175 years, St John’s has been a focal point in the village and we want to ensure that it is being used by the community in a way that is relevant to contemporary needs. We have been conducting a survey to ask what people want from us and there is still time to take part. You can find the survey in the church or at  https://goo.gl/XQQ8qT.

“Please do come to the rest of our 175th anniversary events. First we have a talk on June 5 on Art, Architecture and Christianity in Victorian Britain by the renowned expert Christopher Herbert, and we will be following this with an arts and crafts exhibition on June 22-23, a party in the churchyard on July 20, an afternoon of tea and reminiscing on August 3, and a celebratory service with the Bishop of Guildford and former clergy from St John’s on November 24. Everyone is welcome at all or any of these events.”

 

Pictured top is the display by the Farnham Baha’is. Photo by George Britton.

 

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Favourite jazz for two of Farnham’s favourites: Jean and Ted Parratt

 

St Mark’s Church, Hale, was packed earlier this month for an evening of jazz music and memories of two of Farnham’s best-known residents – the late Jean and Ted Parratt.

Jean and Ted’s daughter Wendy Edwards put on Caravan Jazz in memory of her parents and the music which they would listen to in the early years of her life when the family was living in a series of caravans in Lincolnshire.

Wendy was joined by Teddy’s Café Bar Jazzmen and vocalists Melissa Heathcote and Mike Twiddy to sing songs by jazz greats including Django Reinhardt, Gershwin, Glenn Miller, and Rodgers and Hart. In between, she showed pictures of her family and talked about the early years of her life between 1956 and 1962. Ted was away during the week on his National Service, so Jean was often alone caring for the three children in a small caravan in Lincolnshire.  Weekends were precious when Ted came home and played jazz on his guitar. These were what Jean later described as the ‘hungry years’ when there was little money and she often made potato soup with very few potatoes, but she also recalled them as among the happiest years in their lives.

The large audience was grouped around café-style tables, with refreshments, while they listened to the music which Jean and Ted had loved, and looked at family photos projected onto a screen.

Afterwards Wendy Edwards said: “A huge thank-you to everyone who helped in any way to make Caravan Jazz the great success it was. I thoroughly enjoyed singing with the talented Teddy’s Café Bar Jazzmen and vocalists Melissa Heathcote and Mike Twiddy.  I could not have managed this event without the help of so many people who willingly gave their time, talents and money. Many thanks to you all.”

The event raised £900 for the Kitty Milroy Murals appeal to restore and protect a series of important murals painted a century ago.

Frances Whewell

 

Bluebird caravan 1957

 

Top: Jean and Ted Parratt in a field in 1956;
Above: The Bluebird Caravan in which the family lived in 1957 at Mere Road Caravan Site, Waddington, Lincolnshire.