Monday, 7 July 2014

Writer's Block

My blog silence recently has been due in the main to a total lack of inspiration combined with tendency to snooze in the afternoons.

Saturday brought about a change,

It was Roald Dahl day, an annual event in Aylesbury and celebrated by the town as a whole, and traditionally at St. Mary's.

Every year there is a procession starting at the church and making its way down into the town centre and eventually back to St. M's

This consists of a fabulous variety of characters from Dahl's books in puppet form, some tiny and hand held, some gigantic and needing several adults to manipulate.

Local schools spend weeks making the puppets and the procession is led by a brass band.

There are related events throughout the day and  always a lot of activity in the church.  Displays of flower arranging with the chance for people to make their own little arrangements, stalls with Dahl related chocolate
bars in a chocolate tombola, raffles and a lucky dip for the smallest children.

The choir puts on a couple of 20 minute shows of mixed music.

A local dance group for handicapped children gives a short display, and there is a hamburger and hot-dog stall in the churchyard.

The refectory and kitchen are run off their feet,  and about 3.oopm everyone capsizes heaves a sigh of relief and toddles off home.

I had my lunch at 4.oo pm and reluctantly cleaned myself up and headed back to town for a concert in the church.

I am so very glad I went.

The concert was called "The road home", was given by an a cappella chorale called "Oasis", and I can say with all my heart it was the best choir I have ever heard in my long life.

It was formed in 2003 by a group of young Anabaptist people who worked in a home for handicapped children.

They invited a conductor to join them and began to recruit members from all over America and Canada.

These are all volunteers and are drawn from many Mennonite missions and care organisations.

They have toured the UK before and also Ireland and all down America's East coast.

The choir we heard had 36 members, 18 each of men and women, and had some of the best voices I've ever heard,

They resemble the Shakers in some ways, dress very simply and without ornament and are active in prison ministry and in promoting peace.

They mingled with us in the congregation before the concert, in the interval and afterwards.

Several of us found ourselves in tears by the end of the concert, not just because of the beauty of the sound but the overwhelming feeling of love they generated.

The final item in the concert was "God be with you till we meet again", beautifully sung and made even more moving by the way they left their positions in the choir and began to slowly walk among and around the church until we were surrounded by these lovely people and an immense feeling of peace.

Terrific theatre I know, but not theatrical.

There was absolute silence briefly as they finished then a roar which would take the roof off.

There was not a trace of cynicism on any face and the whole audience wanted to stay an talk all night.

Eventually we let the poor tired people get into their coach to their hotel begging them to return soon.

Saturday was lovely!!.


  1. That sounds wonderful. I have just googled the Oasis Chorale and now have them singing "Guide me o Thou Great Jehovah".

    I had never heard of them before.

    1. Neither had I Susan, but it was worth the wait.

  2. I'm glad it overcame your sounds is a powerful force for good and this group have learned to use it to inspire as well as entertain! Welcome back Ray!

  3. Thanks Jean. It was an overwhelming experience and we are still talking about it.

  4. What a marvellous way to beat writer's block, Ray. That sounds like a truly wonderful day from beginning to end. I really envy you the concert. Now off to google the Oasis Chorale.

  5. You'd have loved it Perpetua. The bits I've found on u tube fail to convey any of the mesmeric atmosphere, and even the singing is not anything like the live thing.
    Have just returned from "Iolanthe" jointly performed by the local music centre and some members of St. M's.
    Great fun to watch (warts and all), but not to be compared in any way with the other concert.
    What a hectic life I am living to be sure:)