In Prosperity and Adversity
Immanuel’s Ground 12 July 2014
I attended the concert at St John the Baptist Church, Brinklow, Warwickshire on Saturday 12 July and was treated to another brilliant Immanuel’s Ground quire performance. The church provided a perfect setting for their West Gallery sound and the mix of music and drama was superbly offset with some excellent historical context.
The evening began with the mourning of the death of George II, a moving rendition of the funeral hymn to the tune Egypt, from the rear of the church. This was followed by the proclamation “Long live King George”, with the audience participating in the singing of God Save King George.
The evening continued with songs marking George III’s Jubilee, with members of the quire taking speaking parts giving the historical background. We were treated to The Poor Man’s Prayer, Come Celebrate the Auspicious Morn and Blow Ye the trumpet, Blow. Rule Britannia was enthusiastically sung by the audience.
The first half ended with reference to George’s Golden Jubilee, including releases of debtors from prisons and military manoeuvres. This section included the Sailors’ Hornpipe and The Liberty Song to the tune Hearts of Oak.
After much tea and homemade cakes the second half began with a wedding. I suspect there may have been some ad-libbing involved. This was followed by the wedding psalm. The audience took part in a round of Great Tom is Cast. Two drinking songs came next, including The Farmer’s Toast. In contrast we then had the Temperance song O Come, Come Away.
The quire then marked the death of George III, featuring the beautiful She Who Lies Here, during which there was not a sound to be heard in the church. The evening ended with celebrations and commemoration of the victory over Napoleon with the singing of Thanksgiving after a Victory followed by Peace to the Souls of the Heroes and finally The Arethusa.
The audience “bullied” the quire into an encore, where they sang Go, Feeble Tyrants.
Thanks to Immanuel’s Ground for another evening of wonderful music, humour and a history lesson.
Martyn and Wheeler