Saturday, 14th June 2014.

It was a warm summer’s evening when a group of talented musicians and singers from the parish, gave a spellbinding performance of classical and religious music that Fr. Blackford would himself have enjoyed. Their audience of parishioners may have been small, but there was a very happy and relaxed atmosphere throughout the concert, which was conducted by Mary Lister.

The concert opened with Ray D’Inverno at the piano, playing the romantic song, Besame Mucho,’ by Velasquez, which seems to lose something in translation as: ‘Kiss me a lot, as I’m afraid of losing you afterwards.’ Then, as a lively contrast, he followed up with Billy Taylor’s, ‘I wish I knew how to be free’ – part of an album by this popular American jazz pianist.

Margaret Boucherie, who has a very pure soprano voice, sang a number of religious works, and gave a moving performance of Lorenc’s ‘Ave Maria,’ also Handel’s, ‘O that I on wings could rise.’ 

The second pianist for the evening was Peter MacDonald who, at short notice, took over from Gordon Hawthornthwaite, as he had been taken ill. Peter gave a very impressive performance, despite the limited time in which he had to practice four pieces of music that included two Bach Preludes and Gounod’s arrangement of Ave Maria.  Phil Macdonald, his brother, followed with a sensitive treatment of Beethoven’s Sonata Pathetique and two very beautiful Nocturnes - one by John Field and the other Chopin’s Nocturne in Eb major.

Other highlights of the evening came towards the end of the concert, as the singing group performed Akers, ‘Lead us, guide us.’ Originally an African chant, it was apparently popular with both soldiers and civilians during the First World War. The combined choirs then sang ‘Ave Verum,’ a hymn to the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.

Finally, everyone in the Hall joined in with the singers and musicians in a rousing rendition of ‘Jerusalem.’

After the long round of applause, Fr. Jean-Patrice then paid tribute to all who had taken part in the Concert, including the six members of the MacDonald family, thanking them for an excellent evening’s entertainment.

Drinks and refreshments were then brought round to each table as audience and performers mingled and chatted for at least another hour …

Fr. Blackford would certainly have relished the entire evening.

 The singing group at the Blackford concert