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j CHURCH CHOIR FESIIYaL.

Tho eighth annual festival of the Sydney Diocesan Church Choir Association took place last evening at St Andrew's Cathedral and being the Feast of St. Andrew, the service formed a fitting close to the   dedication festival. In former years the conductor   ship has been undertaken by the precentor, the Rev   A. R. Rivers but in the absence of his successor the duies devolved upon Mr. Montague Younger, the   organist of the cathedral. An energetic committeieof clergy and laymen, with the Primate as president and Mr George H. Stayton as hon. secretary and treasurer performed the work of organisation. Mr. W . T. Sharp, of St John', Ashfield, acted as organist, and the Rev. S. S. Tovey, B.A. as precentor. The choirs represented were tho Cathedral, Christ Church,   St Paul's Burwood; St John's, Ashfield; St     St Thomas', North Sydney; St Mark's, Darling Point;     All Saints', Woollahra All Saints', Petersham; St Jonhn's, Darlinghurst; St Peters, Watson's Bay;  

St. James' and St. Bede's, Drummoyne, forming in    

all a surpliced choir of about 170 voices. Prior to the service tho chonisters were entertained at tea in   St. Andrew's schoolroom by Miss Snowdon Smith    

and ladies from each of the parishes concerned.      

Although the surpliced choir was supplemented in         the usual way by two or three score singers who took no part in tho procession it will be seen that the     chorus was much smaller than during previous years.    

In 1890, for example, the surpliced choir numbered         251,and last year 171 boys and 76 men formed the           procession. This in itself, would be a thing of little     significance if there had not been a considerable           falling off in the rendering of the festival as       a whole. This is partly attributable to the choice of the music, which was not so happy as usual. This     remark applies to tho processional hymn, the Rev. J      

Baden Powell's " Salve, Festa Dies " The words,   were obviously suited to such an occasion, but the     general character of the music was far from joyous, and the mere fact that the refrain had to be chanted     by six cantors shut it out from the category of hymns     which could be effectively employed for processional       purposes. Last night the cantors sung steadily tor the most part, but the voices had not sufficient weight in the large and lofty building to   prove impressive. The last four of David's

psalms were sung, the first three to chanys by Mon tague Younger, the last to a chant by P Humphreys.     Tho massed voices told well throughout, and the unisonal effect on Psalm c1 at the words 'Let everything that hath breath praise tho Lord," was   broad and majestic. The "Magnificat" and "Nuns     Dimittis" were sung to music by Dr Walmsley Little, whose versions will not compare with many settings by the older composers of Enghsish Church music. In the "Magnificat " either the singers or the organist did not always follow the conductor's beat,     for at the repeated "Holy is His Name," a familiar but charming effect was spoled by the fact that the   choristers had not completed the rallantando phrase when the solo stop of the instrument, ascending the scale above tho voices, had already sounded the key-     note The "Nunc Dimittis" was well rendered, but here the composer s ' Gloria " lacked roverence, so that the con spirito movement was altogether too flippant and modern in its tone for the sacred words.     Sir John Goss'a fine authemn, ' Praise the Lord, O   My Soul," showed the united choirs to advantage in   the portion for full chorus. In tho sweetly-rendered   hymn, "Oh for a Closer Walk with God' (Myles B. Foster) Mr Searl sang with care and feeling the tenor solo, and other hymns, as well as Handel s "Hallelujah Chorus," were given during the even-  

ing.

Tho lessons were read by the Dean of Sydney, and   the sermon was preached by the Bishop of Goulburn       upon tho 15th verse of tho 3rd chapter of the second      

Book of Kings: " And it came to pass, when the minstrel played that the band of tho Lord came   upon him". The Bishop pointed out that the   text referred to tho prophet Elisha, and re- minded his audience that Saul, a man of opposite character, reckless and irreligious, also owned the soothing emotional charm   of music . From the general influence of the a , upon the mind the preacher argued the intimate counection of man's dual nature, the physical and         the spiritual; and by illustration showed how often the Almighty used the machinery of sweet voices and         harmonious sound to raise and elevate and kindle into higher life the soul of man. Herein lay the rationale of solemn temples and stately strains and of   all other human art employed by God to bring the inner nature of His creatures into a state of re  

eceptivity for Divine revelation and spiritual inter-       communion. Hence the efforts now being made to   dedicate the highest forms of music to the service of   the sanctuary should be welcomed though at the same time the danger lest the surface only should be stirred by tho strite after artistic efliciency, whilst of the depths of our nature remained untouched , was   earnestly pointed out. The Benediction was followed     by the ' Senenfold Amen " composed by Sir John   Stainer, which the great choir renendered admirably   There was an immense congregation, and tho sacred soi vice was evidently followed with the greatest   interest and attention.

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