A group of about 25 singers (the numbers fluctuated, but there were 25 at the service) met on 31st May to take part in Michael Procter’s annual Kilburn weekend. For your reviewer, and no doubt for many of the other participants, this event is one of the high points of the TVEMF calendar. It is always a delight to sing whatever Michael selects, even if, as has occasionally been the case, the setting might have been more accommodating to one’s vocal range. However, except to the extent that singers were bronchially challenged, there could be no such complaints on this occasion. Chest walls having been raised and heads suspended by the usual invisible wire, we renewed our acquaintance with the madrigal Quando lieta sperai by way of introduction to the mass itself. The special edition of the music which Michael produced for us, with the mass, the madrigal and the offertory motet Domine convertere all in one volume, was a most welcome innovation - a bargain at the price and a great convenience in that it reduced the number of pieces of paper required for the service. Michael patiently and sympathetically guided us through the Mass, breaking the sequence of movements at one stage to introduce us to the rather different challenges offered by Domine convertere with its sinuous lines and continually shifting harmonic structure reflecting the “turning” in the text. The performance at the service was not marred by any serious mishaps, though there were a few moments of uncertainty. However, all concerned seemed reasonably content with the outcome, and members of the congregation were very appreciative. After a lengthy and relaxing lunch, during which the management of the Queen’s Head indicated that they would be glad of our custom on future occasions, we returned to the church, sang the madrigal and spent some time on the Credo, which we had barely looked at on the Saturday. All in all, a very satisfactory week-end, for which much credit is due to Neil for organising the event (and commiserations to him for being unable to take part in the service) and to Penny Vinson and Jenny Robinson, “our fifth column in the church”, as Michael described them. The organisation of the church’s music was admirable and the tea-time cakes that they produced deserve a special mention. Warmest thanks to all three of them and to all the others who helped out with the washing-up and suchlike tasks. I take this opportunity of mentioning that Michael’s quatercentenary Croce edition in 14 volumes will be available both in hardback (we saw volume 1, and very well got up it is) and paperback in the relatively near future. There is a very fetching picture of croci (unaccompanied by text) on his web-site and he has produced a leaflet about it.
© Sidney Ross 2017