A new addition to the School’s events calendar this year, the Advent Service held in Holy Trinity Church was a memorable occasion that gave the opportunity for reflection, spiritual engagement and to enjoy some exceptional music performed by the RGS’ Schola Cantorum under the leadership of Director of Music, Sam Orchard.
Beginning in darkness with the choir singing Marlow’s Advent Responsory, including an exquisite solo from Arthur Ford, the service charted the hope and expectation both of Christ’s arrival at Christmas and his second coming at the end of time through words and music. The readings from the Old and New Testaments, beautifully and dynamically delivered by Tom Bamber, Louis Wilby, Zac Warham and George Christianson complemented Father Robert Cotton’s incisive words explaining the meaning and significance of the Advent Candles as they were successively lit over the course of the evening.
The service was based around the seven Great O Antiphons that reflect on the themes of hope, peace, love and joy, and which the choir sang in plainsong with real beauty. The choir were in excellent voice en masse throughout the service, and the diverse choral pieces also allowed a number of remarkable solo performances that added significantly to the spiritually uplifting atmosphere: Ben Pilkington, Thomas McClean, Henry Franke, Robbie Mackay, Gabriel Meadowcroft, Orlando Meadowcroft and Daniel Bristow are all worthy of praise for their vocal contributions to these moments.
As the lights flooded the nave at the end of the service, to symbolise the coming of Christ, the Light of the World, the clear consensus of those present that this had been a moving and successful celebration, and one worthy of becoming a regular fixture of the School year.