Last night I had the evening of a lifetime. My husband and I attended a benefit concert for Cobalt, a medical charity that is working to raise £1,000,000 to purchase a much-needed CT scanner. The Brigham Young University Singers, performing at the majestic Gloucester Cathedral, couldn’t have chosen a better venue. Their voices were heavenly, and I’m not just trying to be clever because we were in a cathedral. As far as I could tell, every note was in tune, every voice was in perfect sync and harmony with every other voice in the choir. At certain times I was on the verge of tears, having goosebumps, or feeling vibrations in my bones. And most pieces had no musical accompaniment! At times, I don’t think a chorus of angels could have sounded any better.
I did not record any of the concert, but the BYU Singers’ website has a few videos. An example of what I’ve described can be heard in the “I’m on My Journey Home” clip. Amazing. Also, we were asked not to take any photographs, so I don’t have pictures either, but I did manage to take a few of the cathedral during intermission.
Before I get to the interior pictures, I thought I might give a sense of the location. I think the port city of Gloucester has something of a grittiness to it. Even though the once industrial port has been transformed and repurposed for more leisure uses, the working quality remains. (This photo and the one below were taken in February.)
Standing by the car in the parking structure, I saw what could be a perfect pictorial summary of Gloucester, with the cathedral playing a central role. So leaving the city’s aesthetic intermingling for the cathedral’s vaulted interior filled to the top with soaring vocals was like being transported to another time and place. At one point I thought to myself, “I am listening to amazing music in a cathedral in ENGLAND!” Sometimes life can be better than a dream.
Walking around at intermission, I went into the quire (choir) and looked back towards the performance area just beyond the arch. The organ provided a lovely backdrop for the concert, the silhouette of which can be seen here above the screen, but it was not played.
This lovely monument is to Sarah Morley from her devoted husband. Sarah, only twenty-nine, gave birth while at sea and died just a few days later. My husband and I were admiring this beautiful and touching yet tragic memorial when a gentleman walked over and spoke with us for a bit, telling us that it was carved by Wedgwood. Checking the cathedral’s website, I learned that, indeed, it was done by Wedgwood designer John Flaxman.
This last photo is of the high altar with the Great East Window behind. During the day, the window is full of color, but at night it seemed altogether different. In truth, the whole cathedral had a very different feel from when we visited in February. All in all, the night was unforgettable.