Songs of the Soul along St Michael's Way

Songs of the Soul along St Michael's Way
Type of post: Choir news item
Sub-type: Latest News
Posted By: Jenny Lloyd
Status: Current
Date Posted: Mon, 27 Sep 2021
Songs of the Soul along St Michael’s Way

Members of Exeter Philharmonic Choir and friends received a very warm welcome in Cornwall over the weekend of 24 to 26 September as they walked the ancient pilgrimage route of St Michael’s Way, singing as they journeyed. The singers, who had renamed themselves as the Pilgrims’ Chorus, gave three short concerts, at St Uny’s Church in Lelant, St Paul’s Church in Ludgvan and, at journey’s end, in the Castle Chapel at St Michael’s Mount.

Stephen Tanner, EPC’s associate director of music, conducted an eclectic programme featuring Monteverdi, Palestrina, Bruckner and Haydn, alongside madrigals, folk songs and traditional spirituals arranged by the Soweto Gospel Choir.

It was a privilege for the Pilgrims’ Chorus to perform the première of Stephen Tanner’s most recent composition, a setting of Ave Verum Corpus, as well as to sing a work by the choir’s former director of music, Andrew Millington, entitled Give me my Scallop Shell, an arrangement of words from Sir Walter Raleigh’s The Passionate Man’s Pilgrimage.

The walking was as wonderful as the singing, along varied paths, through contrasting landscapes. Mist obscured the panoramic view from the highest point, the Iron Age hill fort on Trencrom Hill. But, as the walkers descended, St Michael’s Mount came into view, as well as the tower of St Paul’s Church, Ludgvan. And on the final day the sun shone, lighting the walkers’ path along the causeway and up to the Castle Chapel, where the Pilgrims’ Chorus gave its final performance, ending with Parry’s moving settting of Tennyson’s Crossing the Bar.