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RLSBC celebrates HM the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

RLSBC celebrates HM the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

Sunday 6th February 2022

Over 90 singers - and a good audience - joined the RLSBC at All Saints' Leamington Spa on Saturday 5th February, for a 'Last Night of the Proms' celebration

'Come and Sing' events, in which a large number of singers come together for a day to rehearse and perform some well known music, have been impossible during lockdown, and we have really missed them. There is something rather exhilarating about not quite knowing the notes, but somehow managing to pull off a creditable performance! No small credit in this case to the energy and enthusiasm of our Musical Director Lee Dunleavy, who carried us through a highly enjoyable day of music making, and enabled us to do better than we had dreamed possible when our audience arrived at 4pm.

The programme included some obvious royal occasion pieces, starting with Benjamin Britten's unusual arrangement of God Save the Queen and continuing with Handel's Zadok the Priest and Parry's I was glad. From the Last Night of the Proms repertoire, we had Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March no. 1 (Land of Hope and Glory!) and Henry Wood's Fantasia on British Sea Songs, including the famous foot-tapping hornpipe - and of course we ended with Jerusalem, allowing our audience another chance to join in.

The surprise choice - which as Lee freely admitted, had absolutely nothing to do with royal occasions or even the Last Night of the Proms! - was the Serenade to Music by Vaughan Williams. This sets wonderful lines from the last act of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice to equally ravishing music, and features a violin solo throughout - reminiscent of the better known The Lark Ascending. This was beautifully played for us by Alistair Kennedy, who also played the solo voice parts in Wood's Sea Songs. Most of us had never sung the Vaughan Williams before, so it was something of a challenge, but well worth while.

The star of the afternoon was undoubtedly our organist Colin Druce, who extracted the very best from the mighty organ of All Saints. As well as relishing the introductions to Zadok and I was glad, and finishing the hornpipe at breakneck speed, Colin also treated us to an organ arrangement of Nimrod from Elgar's Enigma Variations, literally 'pulling out all the stops' as the music swelled to its majestic conclusion.

We feel very privileged to be able to work with musicians of the calibre of Lee Dunleavy and Colin Druce, and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude for such an inspirational and enjoyable day of music-making. We are also very grateful to all members of the committee, and their many helpers, who worked so hard to make the day such a success.

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