Monday 14 October 2019

At the Manchester Monastery 13 October 2019

“I’d love to be with you when you walk into the Nave,” says the volunteer who greets me when I arrive. “You’ll find it quite a sight.”   

The cafĂ© is already buzzing and quite a few people are already making their way towards the main event.  Twelve choirs will sing today. 

Oh yes. The volunteer is right.  The monastery has been beautifully restored. Franciscans first came to Gorton in 1861. They wanted to create a great friary at the heart of the community. Architect Edward Pugin designed the monastery in 1866. He is associated with sacred geometry.  We may not understand what that is, but one thing is sure: the St Francis Monastery at Gorton, Manchester, is a fantastic place to sing in. Today it is lit with soft pink and violet lights. That goes nicely with our uniform, thank you! 

We’re able to listen to other choirs and then it’s our turn. The audience really appreciate Bridge Over Troubled Water. We offer another well-known song: The Water is Wide. Sway manages to go faster and faster just like it should. Then we finish with feel-good Everything I Do. 

Then it’s time for a round of drinks and snacks. Some of us manage to see a few more of the other choirs. It is always great at events like this how the choirs support each other. This was quite an informal gathering. A really lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon. 

Occasionally we hear a song that we know as well, or at least another version of it. Another choir declare that they have cake in the break during rehearsals and that’s what keeps them going. That sounds familiar!  

Finally it is time for all the choirs to sing together.  It’s one we know. What a Wonderful World.  It certainly is on days like this. 

Thank you so much to those who organised this. A fantastic day indeed.