Our Lady’s Dowry: Ely, Day 9.1

Here is a video of the choir from our last “performance,” you could say, in the Lady Chapel of the cathedral.  We’re singing Hail, Gladdening Light by Charles Wood.  The cathedral clergy and staff threw us a little party right after Evensong but we had wanted to sing this particular piece in that gloriously reverberant space before we left so we snuck it in before the party.  I do hope you enjoy this little part of our tour since you can’t be here yourself.

Anyway, the rest of the day was quite pleasant (continuing from my post earlier today) and our rehearsal went pretty smoothly and we sang Evensong under the Octagon, as Sunday services are done there.  We sang The Stewart Service: Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis by our choir director, Richard Webster, as well as his piece Attend to the Music Divine for our anthem.  We used the Tomkins responses and sang our rather short psalm.  The psalms are really one of my favorite parts of the service, as they are in any service I attend, since everything you need to know about anything is in them.  They are a wealth of knowledge, both spiritual and temporal.  Of course, singing them in Anglican chant only gets boring when you’re not doing it correctly but luckily Richard keeps us on our toes and the quality of musicians in the choir keeps us going.

Dinner this evening was a nice affair, I sat with some fellow choir members and one of their friends who was visiting, as well as the rector’s son.  It was quite good company and the conversation ranged from the need for mystery and reverence in the liturgy (to which all believed was needed, including “facing East” for services.  I was a bit surprised!)  to which Roald Dahl books we liked most.  Our meal was interrupted briefly by a false fire alarm but that provided us with only a few minutes entertainment.

Announcements preceded pudding, as usual, but we did get to add to our “tour chant.”  Now, some of you have probably been wondering what it is and I’ve been putting it off since I’m lazy, but I will now explain.

The Tour Chant is a recited “chant” that includes amusing quotes and in-jokes from the tour.  It always starts with a woman’s name and goes on from there.  Ours starts with the name “Audrey” because that is the corruption of the name, Etheldreda.  Since we are in St. Etheldreda’s city it was only natural we chose her name to start our chant.  There has also been an ongoing joke about St. Etheldreda’s preserved finger, since her relics are preserved in the local Roman Catholic church here in Ely.  I’m not the biggest fan of it, but that’s just me.  I will include the chant as it stands currently, but you will have to be content with no detailed explanation about each line.  Here we go:

Audrey was fingered as tawdry.
Where’s the bus?  Get on the T, NOW!
Michael Behnke, make yourself known.
Rebecca, Rebecca let down your hair.
50p to pee by the tree.
Even the Queen sucks barley sugars.
Heidi, Heidi go sit on a cow.
Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. (Henry VIII wives)
*sung*O Lord save the sta-Queen!
Moab is my washpot.
stick hands in air like the statue of the Virgin Mary in the Lady Chapel*

That’s the tour chant, so far.  It’s quite amusing to all of us, but not so much if you weren’t there for all this stuff.  If you really want to know you’ll have to see one of us in person and ask, otherwise it’s too hard to explain.  So there.

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