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Concert for Ukraine packs Bottesford church to raise more than £4,800

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A Concert for Ukraine held in St Mary's Church, Bottesford, raised more than £4,800 when the Cranmer Company of Singers & Chamber Orchestra, directed by Deborah Davies, played to a packed venue recently.

Orchestra member Andrew Spence has written a review (below) of the successful event.

“Libera me, Domine” ….. free me, Lord …… those words hung in the air of St Mary’s, Bottesford as the Fauré Requiem was performed to a packed church. Everybody present was thinking of the ongoing anguish in Europe, not so far from home.

The Concert for Ukraine in St Mary's Church. (55965937)
The Concert for Ukraine in St Mary's Church. (55965937)

“Tremens, tremens factum sum ego” …… terrified, terrified I have become. Deborah Davies again, with her Cranmer Company of Singers and Chamber Orchestra. Who knows how many charity concerts they have given over very many years, and how many thousands of pounds they have raised? FedirKurlak, Chief Executive of Ukrainians in Great Britain spoke movingly of his childhood and offered his heartfelt thanks in Ukrainian.

“Donaeisrequiem” …… grant them rest. Rose Tomlinson and Brean Hammond read, Guy Turner and Rachel Cropley sang, Viola Calthrop-Owen played flute, and Derek Williams played the violin solo. There was only one violin. This was an earlier version of the Requiem written for lower strings, harp, and horns - orchestration without some of the higher registers which seemed somehow appropriate for the occasion, a little more intimate.

It took very many years for Gabriel Fauré to finally make up his mind and arrive at the version of 1900 which used much fuller orchestration. Deborah’s choice was of the 1893 drafting - slightly understated, but further developed from the 1888 original. The choir was as good as ever, clearly focused on the solemnity of the moment, and demonstrating its impressive range of emotions - well drilled as ever by Deborah.

The Concert for Ukraine in St Mary's Church. (55965939)
The Concert for Ukraine in St Mary's Church. (55965939)

The orchestra did well, playing together for the first and only time on one rehearsal …… when the word goes out from Deborah, nobody declines to play. Why would you? The audience sang the Ukrainian national anthem with such poignancy …. “Ukraine’s freedom has not perished” - so it is to be hoped. And again, a prayer for Ukraine …….. “Protect our beloved Ukraine …… bless us with freedom”.

And so the free people of Nottinghamshire and beyond gathered to do what they could to help. Not much. Just making a bit of music. In a village church 1,500 miles from Kiev, so close. A two hour flight. Or so. Who could have imagined the horror of a war in Europe in 2022? Who would ever have thought it possible? Saturday 26th March 2022, Bottesford did something amazing.

There was no charge for the tickets - as people poured into the church, they were invited to donate. Yellow and blue ribbons were everywhere. And tie pins. And ear rings. And brooches. And people who did not go to concerts very often. And people who had never heard the Fauré requiem. And it was a coming together. Those people in that church on that occasion will never be together again.

And as the final D major chords of In Paridisium sank gently into the ancient stones of St Mary’s ……… “Aeternam habeas requiem” ………. may you have eternal rest ……… the choir and the orchestra and the audience remained still …… just still …… just for a few moments. And £4,803. All of it. To Ukraine.

Andrew Spence (Orchestra member)

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