Yes, I did write beati-dudes by mistake and then I thought it was a good portmanteau word so I kept it. Last night’s Beatitudes concert was amazing! It was a mass for the homeless which took place in Leicester Cathedral and what was particularly brilliant about it was the coming-together of professional – or at least highly accomplished – singers and musicians with the amateur but enthusiastic and also stunning Sound Cafe choir. The professionals shone in their way and we in ours – and no, that isn’t being patronising; we really did. The two soloists, Beryl and Giles, sang from the very core of their being, and everyone else put their entire heart and soul into the work. Considering that we’d only been properly rehearsing for three weeks, the result was truly amazing, and all the credit for this must go to Helen. Helen is not so much an enthusiast as a force of nature; able to enthuse and engage people from all across the social and musical spectrum, from the all-clerical choir 8tave to the secular and highly-polished ensemble Amici; from the percussionists and soloists who performed the Beatitude Mass in the second half to the rainbow coalition which is the Sound Cafe choir, it all gelled. And it worked. I could never bring something like that together in a million years; let alone organise all the rehearsals, entry and exit of instruments and people, not to mention the food that was laid on for us in between rehearsal and performance so that we didn’t have to go home. There was even a room for us to keep all our stuff safely while we performed; though I was a little startled to find it full of clerics of both sexes in various states of undress, all gaily stripping down to their underwear without a scrap of self-consciousness.
Gosh. We never had that in my day…
My poem, ‘Spike’, was very well-received and a lot of the credit for that must go to Andrea. Andrea is an Italian student who learnt to play the djemba, or African drum, on the banks of the river in his native Napoli, and he’s very good at it. The drum and the poem work very well together, and now I’m really looking forward to Sonja setting the poem to music.
The audience were great: really supportive and enthusiastic and in the end they didn’t want to leave – we practically had to shove them out of the door so that the cathedral could be prepared for today’s services. Bishop Tim got up and spoke, which must have been hard for him as he has recently lost his daughter. He is, however, a great supporter of the project.
There will be photos at some point, and both radio Leicester and the Mercury were there, so I will be posting photos and links when they appear. Here’s a preliminary report from the Mercury: I’m not in the photo because I wasn’t there on Wednesday.
If you were there last night, thanks so much for coming – and if you weren’t, you missed a great evening. Part of the proceeds of the evening went to One Roof Leicester: you can donate online to them here:
I’m not sure how you can donate to Sound Cafe online: a google search turns up this blog at the top of the list. But if you’re in Leicester and free on a Wednesday afternoon, come along to St Martin’s House.