MUSIC IN THE BRIDGE BENEFICE
The end of the Bridge Benefice
After 35 years of fruitful collaboration, friendship and community, the Bridge Benefice is being dissolved. The ties joining the three parishes of Sturminster Marshall, Kingston Lacy and Shapwick are to be broken and sadly we are having to go our separate ways. St Mary's, Sturminster Marshall, is to be absorbed into the Red Post Benefice. St Stephen's, Kingston Lacy, and St Bartholomew's, Shapwick will merge to become a single parish, which in turn will become part of the Wimborne Villages Benefice.
The end of the Bridge Benefice Choir
And with the dissolution of the Bridge Benefice, the Bridge Benefice Choir can no longer exist. This is a source of great sadness. Our fantastic choir - together with the many friends who join us for special occasions and performances - have been a source of joy in our worship life together. They sang at all the Sung Eucharist services throughout the Benefice, and at many other services besides, enriching our acts of worship. Times like Holy Week, Easter and Christmas have always been particularly music-intense and the choir worked very hard to ensure the excellence of their contribution.
The range of music which the choir sang was wide and varied, ranging from the 16th- to the 21st-centuries, including works by American, European, African and Russian composers, always sung in the original languages (including Russian, church Slavonic and African click languages).
And our activities didn't stop during lockdowns and church closures. We continued to provide music for our online services and events, and for our in-person services in church (when live singing hasn't been allowed) by learning and recording something new every week.
Our Good Friday Liturgies and our Services of Lessons and Carols have been broadcast on local radio. In fact, our Good Friday Service 2021 will be available to watch and listen to online (via this website and on our YouTube channel), in person in St Mary's Church, Sturminster Marshall at 2.00pm on Good Friday, and on Radio Wimborne "live" at 3.00pm on Good Friday, and thereafter on their "listen again" feature. The choir have rehearsed and recorded themselves individually in their own homes in order to produce a stunning performance. This will be their last musical outing as the Bridge Benefice Choir.
But all is not lost . . .
. . . because the members of the choir have decided to keep making music. From 1st May 2021 they will be known as the Dorset Bridge Choir and will continue to rehearse and perform beautiful music. The choir will have no formal affiliation to the church, but of course there may be times when they perform in our church buildings. In fact, we were getting ready to give a concert of fabulous music - all UK first performances - in St Mary's when the first lockdown was announced. THIS CONCERT WILL HAPPEN! Once it is safe for us all to meet together and sing, we will resume rehearsals.
Let's celebrate what we have achieved, both before and during Covid. Here are a few examples for you to enjoy. Click to listen.
And let's keep the music going!