Now, as you all know, my choir have been working on Handel’s Messiah to be performed THIS SATURDAY at 7.30 at Langley Park Boys’ School’s marvellous concert hall (tickets available on the door,) and then in four weeks’ time in Neuwied, our twin town. Tonight was our first rehearsal with 36 members of the Neuwied choir who have come over to sing it with us on Saturday and a specially-invited selection of marvellous young string and oboe players who have been working on the Messiah score for a couple of days.

Our conductor, the wonderful Simon Sundermann is German himself and tonight conducted the rehearsal bilingually, or more bilingually than usual, for the benefit of his fellow countrymen guests. There we were, a choir of English and Germans, singing a great piece of music written in English by a German composer, directed by a German who normally speaks to us in English but tonight was speaking both English and German. It was delicious.

The musicians were great, especially considering that tonight was only their second view of the choruses we were singing and the German tenors augmented our home-grown lot fantastically. It made me laugh to hear the sudden change in their pronunciation from “And the glory…” to “End ze glory,” That seems a little culturally insensitive but it was actually very joyful. I wonder what they think about out pronunciation.

As usual, there were about 150 musicians in the room tonight and two non-white faces: me and a young black violinist. I always think this is a pity.

Our sound tonight was FANTASTIC and it promises to be a great concert on Saturday night. Do come along if you can.