Saturday, 15 January 2011

The Drapers' New Year Service

Some of St Michael's Choir at lunch at the Drapers' Hall

The City New Year Service is traditionally held at St Michaels', Cornhill in January and lunch is offered afterwards by the Drapers Livery Company, who have been patrons of St Michael's for 500 years, at their Hall nearby (recently in use as the setting for some of the scenes in The King's Speech). St Michael's vicar, the Rev Dr Peter Mullen, is a traditionalist Anglican of deep learning and of often amusing and outspoken views, who holds services based on the Book of Common Prayer and King James' Bible.

The City New Year's Service follows a traditional pattern of prayers and hymns - including Jerusalem and I Vow To The My Country - and some beautiful anthems from the choir, which, led by Jonathan Rennert, is  one of the finest in London. Unlike the choir of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, the female sopranos are taught to sing like trebles, as Rennert believes that most church music was written for boy trebles. As a result, there's a wonderful purity to their voices.

This year the Master Draper, Maj-Gen Adrian Lyons, invited a fellow soldier, Maj-Gen Tim Cross, to give the address. In a superb talk, he pointed to the decline in human values in British society (which he called a 'cut-flower society', a brief and flashy show without roots and leaving no lasting seed) and called for leaders to emerge to reinstate them.  His address can be read here.

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