Papal Prayer Vigil, Hyde Park

Saturday, 18 September 2010



Eight of our number joined the ranks of the choir of singers from round the dioceses, for the Vigil of Prayer led by Pope Benedict in Hyde Park. 150-odd singers joined forces with the excellent New English Orchestra and Singers, all led by the energetic and charismatic Nigel Swinford, for a day of eclectic music-making. The programme ranged from plainchant (Tantum Ergo Sacramentum) to Graham Kendrick (Shine, Jesus, Shine), with every genre of devotional song in between. The Hallelujah Chorus, Chris Walker’s Save us, Lord our God, Jacques Berthier’s Adoramus Te, Domine and Cardinal Newman’s own Lead, Kindly Light went by in a blur; and there was lots more too.

Preparations for the event had their ups and downs, and it wasn’t until the second day of rehearsals (the day before the event) that things came together as they needed to. But the vicissitudes of organisation and rehearsal were swept away during the Vigil itself, in a celebration which, to my mind, was stunningly, movingly prayerful.

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