As I write, we haven’t actually reached Christmas yet, however, I feel it is appropriate to pen a few thank you notes to all who helped in any way in arranging the amazing West Gallery Carol Concert by the lovely Ridgeway Singers and Band. What an awe-inspiring afternoon we had at Kingston under the direction of Tim Laycock and Phil Humphries- with lovely Dorset readings and unusual instruments (such as the Serpent) to enhance the event. The Church was packed to capacity, with a very friendly atmosphere, and people had travelled quite some distance. Thank you Robin and team, for enabling such a memorable evening, for so many.
We have just had our Village Carol Service - which quadrupled our congregation … so much so, that we had to move from the choir stalls into the main church. We welcomed a couple from London who are planning to marry at Kingston, and other visitors, as well as quite a few local people. Lovely to see our Church well supported and a huge ‘Thank You’ to Simon Phillips for leading the service. Much appreciated by all.
Before finishing, I’ll offer a word of encouragement to Mike Pitman and his team of bell ringers; some walkers who had been staying in a local B&B, wanted to visit a church, and came to St James’ Church, Kingston because they could hear the bells chiming to call us to worship. They were very complimentary and enjoyed joining the Christmas Carol Service. I was also asked by Jane Young to mention that her daughter Emily, who got married 2 years ago at Kingston, is now a proud mum of a lovely little boy, born about 8 weeks ago. I’m sure we all congratulate the ‘Young’ family on this lovely news.
Although at Kingston, we were unable to cope with the increasing manpower demands of the Christmas Tree Festival, we hear that two or three of the music contributions, who took part this year, are keen to do further concerts in Kingston Church during the warmer months. So please watch this space when Spring and Summer approach. The sheer number of people who visited the Festival in Swanage this year meant that even a much larger team of helpers at Emmanuel and the larger building were at times fully stretched!
I’ll conclude by wishing you all the very best for 2016, and hopefully, somebody else in future, will try to with provide the Dubber with some Kingston News (we miss you George!).
Following the sell-out success of the last two concerts in St James Church by folk duo Ninebarrow and by the Ridgeway Singers & Band, three more concerts are already booked for the first few months of the New Year.
First arrivals in February are the Imperial College String Ensemble who are coming from their London base for a weekend workshop in Purbeck culminating in an afternoon concert in Kingston on Sunday, 14 February, starting at 3pm. Since its formation in 2004, the ensemble, or ICSE for short, has established an enviable reputation for quality with concerts in London and on tour, many of them for charity.
March sees the much-anticipated return of The Hermitage Ensemble from St Petersburg who are due to perform on Thursday, 31 March at 7.30pm. They created quite a stir on their last visit here three years ago, attracting a capacity audience to hear their interpretations of Russian sacred music and folk song steeped in the inimitable Russian choral tradition.
For both these concerts, admission will be free but there will be a retiring collection to help preserve the Grade 1-listed St James Church with its fine acoustic. Interval refreshments will be served.
The third concert, which will be ticketed, will be given on Friday, 22 April at 7.30pm by Northern Harmony, an acclaimed vocal ensemble from the USA who will be on tour here under the auspices of Artsreach. Audiences will be treated to harmony singing in various traditional styles from Georgian to Gospel, a repertoire developed by the group over the many years since its first incarnation in 1993.