THERE is a chance to hear again the team who captivated a sell-out audience at St Mary’s Ross-on-Wye at the end of April, with their concert for the coronation A Celebration for the King on Saturday 15th July (7.30pm).
Musicians of The Musical and Amicable Society, playing period instruments, will once again be joined by soprano Hannah Davey singing the Wedding Cantata Weichnet nur BWV 202 by Johann Sebastian Bach, and some favourite Handel arias from Iulio Cesare and Alcina.
There will then be two virtuoso concertos: Handel’s Organ Concerto op 4 no 2, and Vivaldi’s Oboe Concerto in D minor. Sadly, the organ concerto cannot be performed on the church’s recently rebuilt Walker organ of 1869, because it is tuned to the modern pitch which is about a semitone higher than the baroque, to which the Musical and Amicables tune, so Martin Perkins brings an electronic instrument, which, from the sound it makes, you wouldn’t know wasn’t from the 18th century.
And that’s not all! Hentland church was fortunate to receive a six-figure grant from Heritage Lottery Fund to restore and renovate the decoration in the chancel, which was a rare example of work by the Victorian architect John Pollard Seddon, who was a friend of the then vicar William Poole.
The renovation,, scheduled to take three to four months, in the end took almost three years, thanks to the presence of a breeding colony of horseshoe bats, who nowadays enjoy priority over everything else, so that work could only take place in two 30-day ‘windows’ in the year.
If that were not enough, along came Covid Omicron with its lockdowns, so the whole project, which included new roofing over half the chancel roof, and the complete dismantling and rebuilding of the Walker organ, took the best part of three years, until the end of 2022.
But now it is all complete and the chancel is a beautiful sight. Modern restoration is a restrained affair, with nothing recreated ‘as new’ where it would be intrusive in a 130 year-old mural. Instead, faded details are, with great skill, gently coaxed back to visibility. Where the decoration has faded away completely, it is not renewed, so the overall impression is of more one of ripe old age.
Tickets for the concert £20 each are obtainable from www.amicables.co.uk and on the door - cash and cheques only. Under 18s and full-time students have free entry, and wine and canapés will be served in the interval, all in the price of a ticket. Enquiries: [email protected] telephone 01989 730439