2014 FESTIVAL EVENTS – A REVIEW
THE LIVERPOOL PASSION PLAYS AT HOLY TRINITY SOUTHPORT
On the evening before Palm Sunday, an audience of more than one hundred and fifty experienced a powerful and moving depiction of the passion and crucifixion of Jesus in the Liverpool Passion Plays, ‘This Is Our Story’ presented at Holy Trinity as part of the Trinity Arts Festival.
A cast and choir of around a hundred brought the raw details of the events of Holy Week to life in an emotionally charged performance that those who were there will remember for a very long time. The cast was made up of the Overcrofters, Liverpool Cathedral’s youth group. The music, which included works by J S Bach as well as a modern piece by Trinity’s own Nicholas Tudor, was provided by the Choir of Holy Trinity under the direction of Ian Wells. The enthusiasm and confidence of the young cast was remarkable – so much so that many of us forgot their youth. As Vicar, Canon Dr Rod Garner reminded the congregation on the following Sunday morning, the characters in the story of Jesus were all young people – Jesus was dead by the age of thirty three. Special mention should be made of a most remarkable performance by Mark Lewis playing the part of Jesus.
The Passion Play ‘This Is Our Story’ has been written by Mark Lovelady who sings with Holy Trinity Choir and is Youth Leader for The Overcrofters and Dan Bishop, Associate Organist at the Cathedral and a good friend of Trinity. This was the first occasion when the first three acts have been played on one evening – at Liverpool Cathedral they were played on successive evenings.
Perhaps the biggest testimony to the performance was that the audience was reluctant to leave the church at the end and eventually did so in silence.
click on small image above to enlarge and view below:
THE ART EXHIBITION
Once again this year the Art Exhibition proved an outstanding success. Some 300 exhibits included work in a range of mediums and styles with a small but excellent selection of photographs. The standard of work was exceptionally good this year. Our working artist was joined by a local potter and there was a display of hand crafted soaps.
All these, together with some super refreshments made a good show for the many visitors who attended during the two days of the exhibition. The legion organisers and helpers are too many to acknowledge but we can’t fail to mention the driving force behind the whole event – Christine Garner. Congratulations to her and to all her team and the exhibitors.
The following week saw our now customary range of lunchtime recitals – events that have their own very special following. This year commenced with Peter Hill & Alan Free giving a fascinating performance on seven different types of Clarinet. On the Wednesday, Alan Whitely, Organist at Birkdale United Reform Church, entertained us with a recital; he was followed on the Thursday by Trinity’s own Kyle Harrison-Pope with a fine Piano Recital. The series closed with John Walton (Organ & Piano) and David Crook (Tenor) from Standish Parish Church. It was a varied and highly enjoyable week of music.
GREAT WAR CENTENARY SERVICE
At the beginning of June, Trinity staged a special service to mark the centenary year of the outbreak of the First World War and the opening of the exhibition which documents the lives and deaths of some of the parishioners involved in that conflict. Appropriate music was performed by the choir directed by Ian Wells and accompanied by Professor Ian Tracey; it turned out to be a very moving occasion.
BEST OF BRITISH MUSICALS
On Saturday, 14th June, the Arts Festival played host to the Birkenhead Operatic Society who treated to us to a really fun evening of music from the shows, titled ‘The Best of British Musicals’. This talented group performed music ranging from Gilbert & Sullivan through to Andrew Lloyd Webber. A fine ensemble and some notable soloists gave us a great show which closed with a full blooded rendition of ‘Rule Britannia’.
TRINITY SUNDAY SERVICES
Two more memorable services followed on Trinity Sunday, 15th June when the same two Ians led the choir with some thrilling music. New to Trinity, we believe, was a piece by Sergei Rachmaninov, ‘Glory to God the Father’; equally exciting were the morning Communion setting in G by Francis Jackson and the Evensong canticles in C by Brian Kelly. The evening was rounded off with a performance of many people’s favourite, ‘How lovely are thy dwelling fair’ from Johannes Brahms’ “A German Requiem”. Much to the delight of those present, strawberries & cream were served after the Evensong.
SOUTHPORT BACH CHOIR
Saturday, 28th June saw and heard the Southport Bach Choir accompanied by the Crosby Symphony Orchestra perform Handel’s ‘Dixit Dominus’ and Mozart’s ‘Requiem’. It was an exciting (and big) sing for those taking part and much appreciated by the large audience.
THE BAND OF HER MAJESTY’S ROYAL MARINES
On Friday, 11th July the church was full with an audience of well over three hundred people for a spectacular concert by the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines (Scotland). Guests included the Lord Lieutenant, The Mayor of Sefton and the Member of Parliament for Southport. It was a memorable occasion with some superb playing and a procession through the nave by the Band’s Corps of Drums. Music was very wide ranging with items from operetta, film music, military tunes and a thrilling performance of the last movement of Saint Saens’ Organ Symphony with Trinity’s own instrument well in evidence. In a short act of remembrance, Rod Garner, Vicar of Holy Trinity, made reference to the First World War, for which this concert was part of Trinity’s marking of the centenary of its outbreak; he closed by reading the poem ‘To you in France’ by Helen Dircks. (shown below). The proceedings closed with ‘Evening Hymn & Sunset’ followed by ‘Rule Britannia’ and ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ which gave the audience an opportunity to join in, and finally the Regimental marches ‘Heart of Oak’, ‘A Life on the Ocean Wave’ and “We’re ‘No Awa’ Te’ Bide Awa'”. It was a memorable occasion. The proceeds of the concert were in aid of the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charities who will have benefited from a very considerable sum.
To You in France Dear, now before the daylight fades away I wish that I could come and talk to you A little while, and tell you just a few Small things that make me happy in my day. I want to tell you of the perfect scent Of these red roses I have picked, and how An organ's playing in the street just now, And how this sunny afternoon I went Into the park, and how the children played; So that at all times in this bloody war, When you must kill to live, and have to see Things you hold best on this green earth betrayed, You will remember you are fighting for This little world of dear small things, and me.
THE LEYLAND BAND
On their fifth visit to the Trinity Arts Festival the band delighted us with some superb playing. They commenced very brightly with that exciting overture to ‘Candide’ by Leonard Bernstein. That was followed by an arrangement of Rule Britannia by band member Gary Westwood which featured a solo euphonium played by James McLeod. What a piece and what playing! The Last Night of the Proms has experienced many great singers who have executed some daring and interesting musical ornaments but few if any will have achieved the degree of virtuosity displayed here. More Bernstein followed and then a couple of show piece numbers – one with a Bb Tuba solo by Bill Carter.
After the interval the twin themes of the concert became more apparent with Blues to the fore followed by ‘The Last Night of the Proms’. There was some great music with a jazz feel and a notable performance by the cornet section before we were all allowed to join in by waving flag and then singing along to Jerusalem and Land of Hope and Glory. Although we think of the Leyland Band as a brass band, they also have a wonderful percussion section some of whose playing was not only heard but also felt. All in all it was really exciting Sunday afternoon.
THE TRINITY CONCERT – THESE YOU HAVE LOVED
On Saturday, 15th November, we enjoyed a really exciting concert in which many people were involved, both working for and performing.
A large audience experienced some thrilling performances. The young choristers of Holy Trinity were in very fine form. There were a number of high points in the evening notably the organ pieces played by Prof Ian Tracey & Dan Bishop. We were also thrilled by the singing of Kirsteen Robson & Stuart Keen. Of course all this would not have been possible without the wonderful leadership of our Director of Music, conductor & singer, Ian Wells. We don’t recall a concert with such a wide variety of music, Bach, Mozart & Handel with Wagner, Mahler & Strauss rubbing shoulders with Lennon & McCartney, Lehrer and Rogers & Hammerstein not to mention Britten, Jackson and Bishop. Wow!
It was certainly a concert to remember and there were many smiles on the faces of the audience as they left and many more lovely tributes by e-mail etc. The concert raised a significant sum towards the cost of the annual Choir Cathedral Singing Week at Chichester in 2015. A memorable night in many ways.
There is much more to come of course; details appear on the Events page but this is an appropriate place to say a big thank you from the Festival Committee to all our helpers and particularly our supporters for their attendance.
Many of the photographs shown on this website have been taken by Philip Righton; he not only captures images of exciting Festival events, he also has an artistic eye for the beauty of our Church and sometimes allows us to feel its spirituality as well. These are two more of his images, one showing Trinity with flags flying for the Marines Band Concert and the other which might be a reference to Psalm 150 verse 5. Thank you Philip.