WE have grown used to changing arrangements at short notice, but Gordon Amery from Gillingham Methodist Church (GMC) thought he was safe in planning a concert on Saturday 6th May 2023. Then along came the Coronation.
So the scheduled performance of Elgar’s sublime choral work The Dream of Gerontius, with a 50-strong choir and international concert organist David Briggs playing the Sweetland organ and taking the place of the orchestra, will now be given on Sunday 7th. There will also be three well-known soloists, including tenor John Graham-Hall singing the role of Gerontius.
The concert is particularly poignant as the church, where Gordon has run the very successful Music at GMC programme for many years, will be closing its doors sometime during the next year. This will be the final concert, and the most ambitious event, in its history.
The Dream of Gerontius is generally acknowledged as one of the greatest pieces for chorus and orchestra ever written, and it has long been Gordon’s dream to hear it performed in Gillingham. David Briggs last came to GMC in 2019 for a performance of Louis Vierne’s Messe Solennelle, and it was during that visit that he and Gordon agreed that it would be amazing to perform The Dream with the same choir. Plans were drawn up during the latter part of that year and a performance was pencilled in for 2020. But, like so many other events, it was postponed by the pandemic. Since then it has been an uphill struggle to get the organist, the choir and the soloists free at the same time.
‘But I have finally managed to do it! says Gordon, who is keen to fill the church for the celebration of Music at GMC.
‘Sunday 7th May is the big day! I am sure that this will be a very special and spiritual (not to mention emotional) evening,’ he says.
For more information, visit Music at GMC , and tickets (£20) are available here.