Monday, 18 July 2011

Singing with Lesley Garrett

Did I mention that I sang with Lesley Garrett last Saturday evening? Oh, I did …

Here’s how it happened.

Last February, I responded to an advert for 40 men to supplement the Peterborough Male Voice Choir in a ‘Sing for Heroes’ concert on 16th July. I am at least a passable bass/baritone, so I decided to give it a go. For five months, we rehearsed every Thursday evening (not quite every Thursday for this pastor, with meetings interrupting), with a couple of smaller performances en route to the main event. In June, the pressure increased with rehearsals on Mondays and Thursdays (even more of a challenge, but at least I could usually make one of them). We also had a promotional performance in the city centre, giving out leaflets, although by this stage most of the 1200 tickets were sold. By this stage, the countdown to the big day was well and truly on.

The day arrived. We did our stuff. Lesley did her stuff, very polished and professional, as you would expect. We concluded by backing Lesley in ‘You’ll never walk alone’, a performance which was spine-tingling (even though it has been stolen by Liverpool FC as an anthem!) and was rewarded with a standing ovation. It was a great night!

I reflected a little on the ‘Sing for Heroes’ choir in my sermon yesterday. What if we had gone on practising and perfecting our songs? There were certainly some that we could have done better. What if we had gone on meeting week by week, enjoying one another’s company and the singing that goes with it? What if we had done all that, but never actually reached what we were preparing for i.e. a concert?

Church can be like that. We meet every Sunday, and in between. We pray and make plans for the future. What if we never reached the main event that Jesus gives us; that is ‘to go into all the world and make disciples…’?

I don’t think my church is like that, and I hope yours (if you have one) isn’t either. Yet we might all ask: what is the goal of what we do?


  1. Jealous, jealous, jealous. As a sometime bass/baritone and even tenor at a push, I am extremely jealous that you were able to sing with Lesley Garrett. Glad you enjoyed it though :-)

    As to our habit of always preparing for, but never actually taking part in, the main event - it's not just churches that do this, although some are notorious for it. I think a major part of the problem is that we either don't set goals, or that we fail to break the journey to our ultimate goal into smaller manageable steps, thus giving ourselves a series of lesser targets by which to measure our progress. Clearly your choir got this right - a mix of rehearsals and a promotional performance being ideal steps on the way to the main event.

  2. I have to say that the choir was very well organised. I now have to consider whether I have time to join the main Male Voice Choir. A future performance includes Faure's Requiem at the Cathedral. I've preached there, but it would be good to sing too!

    Lesley was lovely - very down to earth. Maybe Katharine Jenkins next?

    You're right - goals are important - in church as well as elsewhere.

  3. Oooooh Faure's Requiem in a Cathedral! You just HAVE to do that!!