It is rather difficult to believe that I am approaching my last few weeks here at St Mary’s. As I write this, I am on a train somewhere in sunny Cambridgeshire having spent the last week in Bury St Edmunds. It was quite the week, getting to know the department, its patterns and its amazing working space… least of all the music library is impeccable! If I had managed to stay an extra week, it would have been 4 years on the nose I would have been with you, alas, we will have to settle for 3 years and 51 weeks!
While sad, I am hopeful that my successor may continue the good work we have done. These 3 years and 51 weeks have been rollercoaster and a half, with COVID, then having our brethren from St Andrew’s join us while they renovated the building and most recently the departure of our Rector. While these have all brought their challenges, we have weathered many storms together and made good music through them. With our successful evensongs, extravagant 9 Lessons & Carols and our concerts – it has certainly been a role I have enjoyed and there has never been a dull moment with you all! Needless to say, the last few years have been great fun for me and I hope you have both enjoyed and that the music for services has been enhancing the liturgy and not a hindrance (even if the voluntaries can be rather long!).
I will leave you with the words by Thomas Campion, set by Herbert Howells:
Never weather-beaten sail more willing bent to shore.
Never tired pilgrim’s limbs affected slumber more,
Than my wearied sprite now longs to fly out of my troubled breast:
O come quickly, sweetest Lord, and take my soul to rest.
Ever blooming are the joys of Heaven’s high Paradise.
Cold age deafs not there our ears nor vapour dims our eyes:
Glory there the sun outshines whose beams the blessed only see:
O come quickly, glorious Lord, and raise my sprite to thee.