Burns Coffee Morning at Christ Church Hatfield – 22nd January 2022
A number of us accepted an invitation from our sister church in Hatfield to attend their Burns Coffee Morning. It was very much an “in-house” event with young people from their Scottish Dance Group entertaining us with a range of dances across a wide age range.
The dancing was interspersed with a delightful soprano soloist, a violinist and an accordion player all with their own Scottish themes to contribute.
The event had been arranged and produced by Mary Birkett – Congratulations on a very enjoyable event!
For some highlights………
Lunchtime Recital – Stephen Jones plays our new Yamaha keyboard – 7th January 2022
This recital was the first on our new Yamaha keyboard, which had been funded from a bequest from Joan Knott – and John Knott was with us to celebrate the event (and turn the pages).
We had a slightly rocky start because Stephen had problems at home and we nearly had to cancel the recital, but he put them aside and played for us – to keep his mind off what was going on elsewhere, he told us. He started and finished with a couple of Joan Knott’s favourite pieces of music.
We typically have problems to balance the volume of the music and Stephen’s rather quiet voice (notwithstanding calls to “speak up!”) so many of those in the church and on Zoom may not have been able to appreciate Stephen’s commentary – both informative and humorous – in describing the capabilities of the keyboard, some background to the music and a few vignettes from his early progress, starting at 7 years, to become the consummate musician he is today.
It’s worth another listen, if you have the time.
A Festive Evening with the city Chamber Choir – 8th December 2021
We welcomed the City Chamber Choir back for a Festive Choral Concert to kick off this year’s Christmas activities. We’d had the CCC sing us out of lockdown in July, and hope very much that this concert will not have sung us back into more severe restrictions than Boris’s current Plan B.
The plan was to have Dr Richard Dunster-Sigtermans accompany the choir on our organ but at the last moment he’d had a fall and fractured his hip, so Stephen Jones had to play the organ and piano and conduct the choir – a multi-tasking ability for which we males are not renowned. But it went off without a hitch.
Numbers all round were a little less than usual because of illness and (perhaps) Covid hesitancy, but for those present – I think including the choir – it was a really enjoyable evening.
We always get a wide choice of music from the CCC, from the traditional and familiar to more modern arrangements and some newer choral pieces. The musical elements were interspersed with traditional Bible Readings, read by church members.
With the performance having elements of a concert and an act of worship there was initially a reluctance to applaud, but we were assured by Stephen that “if we wanted to applaud we could” (cue for laughter and some loud applause).
We had the full lyrics for the evening’s recital prepared for us by CCC’s Janet Gilbert – much appreciated by the audience. It is attached here for anyone who wants to view or revisit the video of the concert.
We rounded off the evening with the now traditional mulled wine and mince pies and were please that so many choir members stayed to partake and chat.
Orpheus Papafilippou and Gina Kruger play Dubussy & Brahms – Lunchtime recital 3rd December 2021
It was great to have Gina Kruger back with us in person (another very welcomed Zoom Recital performer last year!) and this time she brough the violinist Orpheus Papafilippou to play us violin Sonatas from Debussy and Brahms. It’s the first time we have had a solo violinist play in for us in a recital, and it was a real joy to watch and to listen.
They led off with Debussy’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in G minor, then Gina played us two short piano pieces – Reverie from Debussy to calm us down, and an Intermezzo from Brahms – before Orpheus returned to finish the recital with Brahms’s Sonata No.3 in D minor Op.108.
One of the pleasures of watching a live performance close up is to see the little signals between the performers, the watchful eye, the raised eyebrows, the fleeting smile. And a great flourish from both of them to finish!
We were pleased that Orpheus’s father and mother were with us on Zoom as was Tony Corfe in a Covid isolation hotel having just got back safely from Zambia.
A big thankyou to both Gina and Orpheus!
Lunchtime Organ Recital by Ivan Linford on 5th November 2021
It was great to have Ivan back with us for his 4th Lunchtime Recital. He first played for us on the 6th April 2018, which was the first time we had combined the recitals with our Charity Lunches, so it was fitting that he was with us again for a recital and the restart of our regular Charity Lunches on the first Friday of each month.
His programme started with fireworks and for each piece he gave us an informative introduction. The pieces were chosen to highlight the clarity or transparency of the sound of our refurbished organ.
And those fingers and toes just flew over the keys! For those who could see those dancing feet, there was an extra surprise in store!
All in all it was an inspiring performance, which was followed by the new style “ploughman’s” – also a veritable feast, but this time one for the eyes and stomach, not the ears.
Church Quiz Night 16th October 2021
It was great to be face-to-face again for a Quiz night, even though (not surprisingly) many had decided it was not yet for them. We had 6 tables nicely spaced out and some of our fire doors open to keep good ventilation – and make sure nobody got overheated!
We were so please to have friends from Brookmans Park and Hatfield URCs making up two of the tables. We know from their comments that they had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
Our usual Quizmaster, Steve England, offered us his usual mix of questions for which you might have an answer, leavened with the odd “googly” that only the especially quiz-gifted could answer so we did get a winner.
For the first time we had fish or chicken and chips delivered (on time and nicely hot) from outside and with generous portions, there was just enough space in our “tums” for an individual plate of fruit salad and a home baked cookie prepared by Glenis, a good friend of Mary Deller – delicious!
Brookmans Park URC (above)
Christ Churhchatfiled URC (above)
We marked each other’s answer sheets, so our table, table 3 had an inkling that table 6 had indeed more than their fair share of the quiz-gifted, though until the end it remained a close race (at least for the front runners).
We all awaited the final result.
Some were pleased with their score.
The winners were celebrating.
As our table was in fierce competition with Hatfield URC for the wooden spoon, there was also a ‘frission’ of tension at the other end of the score table.
So the winners were Table 6
And the wooden spoon went to………
John Knott expressed our thanks to Steve and to Janet and Jean as organisers and to everybody for turning out to make a fun evening.
Lunchtime Recital 8th October 2021 – Stephen Jones plays his Harpsichord
Stephen had brought his harpsichord, a copy of a Ruckers – a Flemish family dynasty of harpsichord makers. He explained that he had purchased it for £25, thus saving it from a journey to the recycling centre, but had then had it extensively restored and modified to make it more playable.
Ruckers were very popular around the turn of the seventeenth century and copiously decorated with inlaid woodwork. The decorations on his harpsichord were painted on to a hand-prepared paper but looked (from a little distance) like the real thing!
Stephen played us music from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book and Parthenia, two important collections of keyboard music from the 17th century and also dance music by William Byrd, Peter Philips and John Bull – and all accompanied by his informative commentary.
Give that he’d just had a rather painful tooth pulled (we didn’t notice a thing) we are exceptionally grateful for a great recital.
Stephen is putting together a lunchtime recital programme to take us into 2022. The next two recitals are:
November 5th Ivan Linwood on the organ
December 3rd Gina Kruger on piano with a violinist
– details to follow.
We are also re-starting our Charity Lunches to follow the recitals on the 5th November (no fireworks, we hope). The food will be in the form of a “Ploughmans” – a plated meal, to avoid the cross-infection risk of our traditional self-service approach.
There will be a poster in the church vestibule for those in church to sign up for the lunch. If you are not a regular user of our church, please e-mail Janet O’Connor email@example.com to let her know you intend to stay for the lunch.
City Chamber Choir – “In Concert” – 7th July 2021
Our first Concert and the first live singing in our church for more than 15 months – so pleased to have the City Chamber Choir lift the curtain for us on “new normal” as the Covid restrictions are relaxed. We were operating under DCMS guidance, and both the choir and the audience were socially distanced, with the latter masked as our Covid Protocol still requires.
The audience (perhaps reflecting the Euro 2020 England vs Denmark match which we’d not planned for) was outnumbered by the choir, but that made it a particularly personal as well as very enjoyable experience.
The programme comprised choral pieces interspersed with piano and organ solos from Stephen Jones.
Stephen gave us his traditional informed commentary on the pieces and since our organ (and the organist) had been in hibernation since March 2020, he put on his magic shoes to help him operate the foot keyboard. The magic worked!
We’ll look forward to the resumption of our musical events in the second half of 2021.
Bible Reading Challenge!
On Thursday mornings, starting on Thursday 1st April, a small group will meet in the Church at 11.00 am to read the Bible out loud together. Our challenge is to achieve this within one year.
Do you want to be a part of it?
The 1st April is Maundy Thursday we will begin by reading about the Last Supper. From then we shall start with the suggested readings from the Kingsway course. We are all new to this so please join us without any worries about this being a heavy experience.
It will be a challenge but also an enrichment of our Christian life. All are welcome.
If you are interested, please book your seat with Tony Corfe (07486 374521 or firstname.lastname@example.org )
p.s. Please bring your own mug, teabag, or coffee or chocolate. We will provide the hot water, milk and wrapped biscuits.
Lunchtime Recital 9th December 2020 – Gina Kruger plays Chopin and Mendelssohn
We were delighted to welcome Gina Kruger back to play for us. She was last with us in June 2019. The recital featured Chopin and Mendelssohn – and all played without music!
We were challenged to identify the film in which the last Mendelssohn piece was used – and no, it was not Star Wars!
If you’d like to hear the recital again, watch those fingers gliding over the keys – and possibly check out whether you guessed correctly just start the video below.
Lunchtime Recital 4th November 2020 – Michael Broadway
We welcomed Michael Broadway to play his Pianola at our second Autumn Lunchtime Recital. Hopefully, we’ll be able to hold the final session in December, though for this one the timing was “one minute to midnight”!
Michael’s Programme was as follows:
Potters Bar United Reformed Church
Wednesday 4th November 2020
Album de Mai Op. 10 Ignacy Paderewski
Scherzino & Barcarolle 1860 – 1941
Andante & Rondo from Violin Concerto Op.64 Felix Mendelssohn
Transcribed by Henry Baumer 1809 – 1847
4th Nocturne Op. 36 Gabriel Faure
1845 – 1924
Leopold Godowsky 150th Anniversary
Tango Op.165 No.2 Isaac Albeniz
Concert Transcription 1860 – 1909
Rondino (on a Theme by Beethoven) Fritz Kreisler
Concert Transcription 1875 – 1962
Valse-Idyll Op.14 No.3 Leopold Godowsky
Original composition 1870 – 1938
Perpetuum Mobile (Rondo – Sonata Op.24) Carl Maria von Weber
Concert Transcription 1786 – 1826
Chanson Boheme from Bizet’s Carmen Maurice Moszkowski
Concert Transcription 1854 – 1925
It was fascinating to watch Michael fit his Orchestrelle Company ‘Push-Up’ Pianola of 1914 on to our Yamaha.
There appear to be three main Pianola variations: Upright, ‘Push-up’ and Grand.
This was Compton Mackenzie playing an upright.
Clara Butt playing a ‘push-up’ Pianola.
Michael has a Steinway Grand ‘Pianola’ piano like this at home but uses his ‘Push-up’ Pianola for concerts.
Michael gave us explanations on how a Pianola works and what it takes to become a “Pianolist”. At its simplest, just working the foot pedals will play the music on the paper rolls. The vacuum created by the bellows (connected to the foot pedals) drives the rollers and as the paper passes over the tracker bar each small inrush of air through a hole in the paper roll is amplified in two pneumatic stages to sufficient strength to operate the mechanical fingers to strike the keyboard.
A Pianolist uses different movements of the foot pedals to affect the volume of sound, sharp movements of the pedals increasing the volume. Levers below the paper roll mechanism control the rate that the paper advances over the tracker bar (RHS), the sustain pedal (LHS) and in the centre the twin levers which allow the Pianolist to pick out the melody and make it sing.
An experienced Pianolist can read the music from the holes in the paper roll, but Michael makes his own annotations on the rolls to reflect the additional information you would find on a musical score.
All in all, a great recital, an impressive demonstration of artistry, and a fascinating insight into the blending of musical skill and technology to create a memorable experience.
Lunchtime Recital 7th October 2020 – Alan Dorn
We were delighted to welcome Alan Dorn back to start our Autumn season of Lunchtime Recitals and if you were in the Church as a few of us were you would have had a really great concert experience. It was simply enthralling!
The programme was as follows – with a surprise extra piece and quiz question to finish:
Au lac de Wallenstadt from Années de Pèlerinage, Première Année, Suisse (1855)
Franz Liszt (1811-1886)
Hark, hark! the lark (1838)
transcribed from song by Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Petrarch Sonnet no. 123 from Années de Pèlerinage, Deuxième Année, Italie (1858)
Scherzo from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1933)
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1809-1847), transcribed by
Claude Debussy (1862-1918)
La fille aux cheveux de lin (Book 1, no. 8)
Feuilles mortes (Book 2, no. 2)
La danse de Puck (Book 1, no. 10)
Ballade no. 4, op. 52
Fryderyk Chopin (1810-1849)
Having looked at the Zoom recording, we know that at times both the video and audio streams had some problems. Luckily, the recording below has no such problems, beyond a bit of lens flare (the sun had moved after we set up!).
The next two Lunchtime recitals are on 4th November with Michael Broadway and 2nd of December with Gina Kruger (more details in due course). Put the dates in your diary before relaxing and listening to Alan’s recital. You won’t be disappointed!
Saying Goodbye to Rhoda,
9th July 2020.
As the Covid-19 Lockdown eased, we were able to say a final Goodbye to Rhoda Ballantyne, our longest serving church member, who died in November 2019.
Tony Corfe, had arranged for a cherry tree to be planted in her memory in our church grounds, and we held a short service to mark the moment – suitably distanced of course.
Tony, Frank Palmer and David Ramsay all read poems and Tony closed with a blessing. A moving ceremony for the surprisingly large group who came in Rhoda’s memory.
The timing was perfect – no sooner had Tony offered the final blessing, the heavens opened to water in the new cherry tree.
Rhoda would have approved!
Lunchtime Recital 3rd July 2020 – Stephen Jones plays William Byrd and other harpsichord music.
Stephen’s harpsichord was in quarantine at a school where he teaches so we were shown a picture – so we could imagine. Stephen’s harpsichord was made by Andrew Woodeson.
Stephen’s programme was based around the Virginalists – English keyboard composers of the late Tudor and early Jacobean periods. He’d first encountered the music whilst still at school and it had made a lasting impression on him. The pieces were mainly by William Byrd, but he included a piece by Thomas Tomkins and finished with ”Loth to depart” by Giles Farnaby.
Stephen’s first piece was “The Carman’s Whistle”, by William Byrd, a raunchy piece as he described it. In the 16th century, a Carman was a man with various sorts of horses and carriages for hire. Carmen were known for their habit of whistling, which apparently helped them manage their horses. The bawdy lyrics have survived, and Stephen started us off but after “At length he spied a fair maid Under a myrtle tree” – we were left to our imagination!
Stephen gave us a detailed introduction to each piece and showed us and example of the handwritten music of the time.
The second piece was Pavan and Galliard also by William Byrd and dedicated to the Earl of Salisbury, Robert Cecil and from the publisher Parthenia.
The third piece, La Volta, was a dance for Queen Elizabeth which involved some jumps (exposing the Queen’s ankles we were told – scandalous!). The piece ended with a reverence – a complex chord – and Stephen showed us an example of the chord and the complicated 6-line per stave music in the Fitzwilliam Virginal book.
The fourth piece was “The Queene’s Alman” – a stately garment – also by William Byrd.
The fifth piece was The Lady Folliots Galliard, by Thomas Tomkins, organist at Worcester Cathedral until the cathedral was desecrated and his own home destroyed by a Parliamentarian cannon ball. He went to live with his son Nathaniel, married Isabella Folliott, a wealthy widow. He composed his Galliard, The Lady Folliot’s in her honour aged 82.
The sixth piece was “Pavan & Galliard Earl Strafford” written in memory of Thomas Wentworth.
The seventh piece was “Toy made at Poole Court” , a pavan also written by Tomkins.
The last piece was “Loth to Depart” by Giles Farnaby – but first Stephen sang us a Loth to depart from a stage production of the time. A Loth to depart was a piece of music played when it was time to go home – perfect for us and for Stephen who had to go straight on to a session with one of his pupils.
Highly enjoyable and informative for us all.
You can view or relive the recital here.
Lunchtime Zoom Recital
5th June 2020 – Anna Le Hair
We were so pleased to have Anna back with us (digitally) for another lunchtime piano recital. Anna was playing in her studio on her grand with her husband Edmund acting as sound engineer – many thanks! We couldn’t see the lovely garden outside (curtains drawn to avoid backlight problems), but from Friday’s “tester” session, I can tell you it was charming!
Stephen Jones introduced Anna and following a brief muting glitch all went to plan.
Anna gave us a short introduction to each piece. Her Programme was:
Bach – Prelude and Fugue in B flat major from Book 1
Beethoven – Adagio Cantabile from Sonata in C minor op. 13
Rachmaninov – Prelude in E flat major
Tschaikowsky – June from ‘The Seasons’
MacDowell – To a wild rose
Grieg – Wedding Day at Troldhaugen
It was a lovely programme, much enjoyed by all of us. If you missed it or would like to hear it again click below
Friday 1st May – our first Zoom Lunchtime Recital featuring Ivan Linford on the organ.
Another memorable moment, I think for our self-isolating community. We are so grateful to Ivan for having the courage to be our first “guinea pig” in performing a Lunchtime Concert on Zoom.
We had 18 “log-ins”, some were couples, so we were probably about 28 all in all, a number of whom are non-church members but regular Lunchtime Recital attendees.
Ivan introduced the pieces from his kitchen and was not interrupted by his cat – who normally likes to be close by when Ivan plays.
He played four pieces:
- A Trumpet Minuet Alfred Hollins (1865-1942)
- Largo from Serse George Frederick Handel (1685-1759)
- Mélodie in F Anton Rubinstein (1829-1894), arr William Faulkes (1863-1933)
- Sortie in E flat Louis James Alfred Lefébure-Wély (1817-1869/70)
If we missed the particular ambiance of our church sanctuary for the performance, the intimacy of a recital from Ivan’s kitchen made up for it.
Of course us all being on Zoom exposed a number of glasses of wine on peoples tables, which sparked a fairly wry comment from Ivan – and an ‘aide memoire’ for some others of us to prepare better for the next recital on 5th June, when we’ll welcome back Anna Le Hair to play for us.
Stephen Jones piano recital 6-3-20
Stephen stepped in at the last minute with a piano recital after Ivan Linford was unable to come to us as planned. The programme included:
Chopin Mazurkas op.17 no.4, op.24 nos 1 &2
Bartok Rumanian Folk Dances
Debussy Danse de Puck (Preludes no.11, bk.1
La fille aux cheveux de lin (Preludes no.8, bk.1
Stepehen Jones Lullaby for the Infant King
P A Grainger The man I love (Gershwin song)
Joseph Cooper Hidden Melodies
A real church Party – just like we used to have!
To celebrate his 75th Birthday our Church Secretary David Ramsay and wife Christina entertained 96 guests to an afternoon of country dancing, silly golf and football, Karaoke style songs and jokes, rounded off with music and dancing.
There were friends from the church and Synod, the Community Choir, numerous golf Clubs, U3A Country dancing and geology groups all reflecting David’s wide range of interests. And of course, the extended Ramsay family and friends.
Great fun for all (helped by copious Prosecco, and sandwiches from the Wyllyotts Centre catering). A rendering of Our Favourite Curmudgeon by Revd John Steele, previously performed on David’s retirement from URC Synod employment, was carefully re-mastered to reflect his 5 years as our Church Secretary.
Nobody could miss all the preparations put in by David and Christina to make the afternoon the resounding success it was. The extended Ramsay family was on hand for support, setting up, and clearing up – what stars!
We were able to express our thanks in monetary form as donations to David’s 3 charities. About £300 was collected.
You can get a flavour of the afternoon from the following video clip.
Alan Dorn – Lunchtime Piano Recital – 7-2-20
Alan delighted us with his piano recital on 7th February, entitled “The Spanish Connection”. His CV says “he enjoys constructing themed piano recital programmes” – and he certainly does!
The recital was performed from memory – an impressive feat (for us, at least!).
Alan is presenting “The Spanish Connection” at a number of venues this year and we were so pleased he came to play for us.
If you’d like to hear the recital again, play the video clip below.
Lunchtime Concert – 3rd January 2020
The cello duet lunchtime recital was a rare treat for those of us lucky enough to be present. Molly Parsons-Gurr and Lydia Dobson opened their programme with a beautiful Handel sonata, and were accompanied at the piano by Lydia’s father Jonathan Dobson, Director of Music at Queenswood School. That was followed by a sonata by Barriere, a leading 18th century French virtuoso cellist, for just the cellos alone. The final item was a suite by the Bohemian virtuoso cellist David Popper: this showed off our performers’ prowess to amazing effect and proved to be a stunning showpiece, again for just the two cellos, which at times sounded like an entire section of the orchestra, such was the complexity of the music. We hope to see these talented young ladies again in the not too distant future! One of our audience members today was Gay Potter, enjoying this wonderful recital on the day of her 90th birthday.
Quorum Singers Concert – “On Christmas Night” – 14th December 2019
A great evening of festive singing. We raised £375 for DIPPs (Defibrillators in Public Places), the charity that provided our church Defibrillator.
If you missed it, or would like to refresh your memory, see below.
Festive Community Open Day – 7th December 2019
Our first Festive Community Open Day was held on Saturday 7th November. It was an opportunity for all members of our Church Community to meet and to “showcase” the activities they hold in our church – to each other, to church members and to the public.
To give an added festive fling, church members manned a couple of our traditional stalls (a few echoes of Darkes Fayre) and provided tea, coffee, juice and biscuits. Local small enterprises added their ideas and their wares to the mix.
The dance demonstration events on the Tilbury Hall stage proved a real crowd pleaser. Angie’s Dance School, Nick’s Dance School and the Rythmix Dance Academy each provided a mix of dance styles to great acclaim. The U3A Country Dance Group kicked of the demonstrations in stately style, but then the tempo increased!
Angie’s Dance demos included her work with Special Educational Needs groups.
Our regular hirers – Kumon Maths, Angie’s Dance School UK, Nick’s Dance School & Rythmix, the Potters Bar Society and U3A Dancing all had stalls in the hall. Other stalls featured Flamingo Papiere (Greeting Cards), Usborne Books, Curly Swirls Bakes, Lucy Barnes Hair Scrunchies, Christmas Hampers, Face Painting, Face Glitter & Bows – the Patient Participation Groups of our three Potters Bar GP Practices combining for promotions on Health and Wellbeing.
The Open Day was planned and organised by our Lettings Team – Jane Wood and Caroline Sutherland.
You can see highlights of the day in the video below.
Simon Worley 8th November 2019
We ended the 2019 Lunchtime Concert Programme with a very enjoyable organ recital from Simon Worley, who is Music director at King Charles the Martyr in Potters Bar.
Our video clip (see below) picks up the concert at his second piece – Prelude, Fuge, et Variation, Op. 18 – Cesar Franck.
Simon finished up with Mozart Changes – Zsolt Gardonyi – a title which he suggests an association with jazz harmony. And indeed it did! – a light-hearted piece that was much appreciated by all.
If you would like to revisit the concert, or missed it, please click on the triangle on image the below.
Carrie Daggett 26th July 2019
We were delighted to welcome Carrie (and her mother Helen who accompanied her) to sing for us. Carrie certainly provided the flourish with which to end our series of lunchtime concerts, which now enters its summer break. We restart in October.
Carrie’s Programme was as follows;
• Ombra Mai fu – from Handel’s ‘Serse’
• Habanera – from Bizet’s ‘Carmen’
• Go lovely rose – Quilter
• King David – Howells
• A Chloris – R.Hahn
• L’enamouree – R.Hahn
• Tu n’est beau – from Offenbach’s ‘Perichole’
• So in love – Porter
• I could have danced – Lerner and Loewe
• The man I love – Gershwin
• Mister Snow – Rodgers and Hammerstein
• Can’t help lovin’ dat man – Kern
• My love is like a red red rose – Trad. Scottish
If you would like to revisit the concert, or missed it (eat your heart out!), please click on the triangle on image the below.