Westergate Revival Concert Review

St Mary’s, Aldingbourne
Jane Weeden, soprano, and Grenville Richard Harding, pianist composer

The ancient walls of Aldingbourne’s St Mary’s Church glowed with candles in sconces and a spring evening of first class music ensued. Jane Weeden had put together a programme of songs over four centuries, followed by songs of prodigals, wanderings and homecomings. Many were affected by these and by Grenville Harding’s improvisation of Gospel songs, bringing out the lyrical beauty of “You are my Hiding Place”, and “Jesus, Holy and Anointed One” among others.

We knew that we were hearing high quality professional music as Jane’s voice soared above us and the keys of Grenville’s piano rippled. We were taken by surprise in this sombre Sussex church as Jane processed through the candle light singing, “It will not be long now”, accompanying herself on the Celtic bodhràn.

It was one of those special occasions, the intense green of spring outside, the tucked away location and the wonderful music. We were a group of people on a journey. St Mary’s Aldingbourne provided a centuries old atmosphere, even for the welcome interval refreshments.

Grenville spoke of John Newton’s (the writer of “Amazing Grace”) conversion from captain of a slave ship to vicar, and Jane gave a brief explanation of the songs in her programme.

If you get a chance to attend another of these evenings, do go.

Carole Woodiwis [original article]