I was looking ahead on Monday, making sure that the diary was as clean as possible and that any trip hazards over the coming weeks were cleared away, and among the emails I sent out was one to confirm a concert booking in October. Sadly, the reply came back that the choir concerned no longer exists, the cancellation of their Christmas concert at short notice last year when the venue suddenly changed its Covid policy taking the wind out of sails that had only just been unfurled.

I feel sad at this news for several reasons: Firstly, the death of any choir diminishes me, and therefore never send to ask for whom the bell tolls. Secondly, I have been working with this choir for a long, long time, at least fifteen years, so feel its probable demise very keenly. Thirdly, a couple of years ago I wrote a piece for the choir as a gesture of thanks because, when Covid first hit and concerts were cancelled, they paid me my fee anyway, which was quite the kindest thing.

That piece now sits on my computer unperformed, but with the dedication still in place on the score, and I have spent a good half hour or so this afternoon wondering what to do with it. As with all of my pieces, there are moments that I might change, given the half a chance which I now seem to have, but it seems wrong to offer it to other people, so I might instead just sneak it into one of the services along the way for which I am organising the music.

Talking of Christ Church, Hampstead, I have been beavering away on this term’s music provision and am really pleased to see that, bar from maybe one or two slots, we have all our singers in place. It is quite a luxury to have all of this sorted out at the start of the term, and I am already thinking about what I might put onto the music list for early 2023, excited about what we might be able to achieve.

As for composition, well, apart from a little bit of scouting around for competitions and the like and a dab of editing here and there it has been a touch on the slow side since the start of the week but, in my defence, there has been a constant stream of emails going back and forth changing the music lists for the coming weekend. I console myself in the knowledge that I have not had to get up and down five flights of stairs to muffle bells (mourning), then unmuffle them (proclamation), and then muffle them again (mourning), likewise to lower, raise and then lower flags. Spare a thought for those behind the scenes making sure that everything happens.