Member reviews
Monday 3 December 2018
A Festival of Advent Lessons and Carols at St Michael's Cornhill
followed by the opportunity to play

The CLESO visit to St. Michael's, Cornhill, was a very enjoyable event - a beautiful candlelit Advent Service and lovely refreshments, followed by a very interesting talk to CLESO members from the Director of Music, Jonathan Rennert, on the history of the magnificent organ and its organists. Members were then invited to play and gave an excellent, short and varied recital. A delightful evening.

As a visitor to a CLESO event, I found the introduction by the Director of Music really interesting. The organ was excellent and the playing opportunities were well managed - the optimum between no time wastage but no undue hurrying! I enjoyed the playing by your members and learned one new piece, a rarity at my age!

The well attended Annual Advent Carol Service featured superb singing by the professional choir supported by a wide range of soft tones from the organ which together demonstrated the superb acoustics of the church. Between the choir carols and the lessons, the powerful stops of the organ supported and encouraged some robust hymn singing by the congregation. The service concluded with a rendition of the Advent Chorale Prelude BWV 645 which again demonstrated the tones of the organ.  

After the traditional offering of mince pies and mulled wine, Jonathan Rennert, the Director of Music, gave us a quick history of St Michael's, starting in Roman times and covering a wide range of musicians who have served or been associated with the church. He also gave to members copies of a comprehensive booklet containing even more historical details. The event concluded with a generous allocation of time for members to have a ‘hands on’ playing experience on the superb organ.    

It was nice to attend a service and hear the organ first, although this did mean a bit of a late start to our playing.  Jonathan Rennert was very informative, friendly and accommodating - an excellent host.

It was a real privilege to have the opportunity to play the St. Michael's Cornhill historic instrument in such atmospheric surroundings made all the more enjoyable to be amongst CLESO's friendly group of enthusiastic organists and other members. There is always a welcome at every meeting for even the most amateur of organists and socialising in the pub afterwards is an added bonus.    

A lovely atmospheric evening to start the Advent/Christmas season topped off with a visit to the pub afterwards. It was good to meet with and share our experience with other folk who were not members but were clearly enjoying our event.

As an Observer, this was extremely enjoyable and informative.

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