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Our monthly Choral Evensongs:
The Cathedral Chamber Choir will sing. An organ prelude is at 4:45 p.m. Dwight Thomas is director and organist. A freewill offering is taken, and a reception follows
Choral Evensong: The Works of a Soldier and Musical Mentor
Our service of Choral Evensong on January 28 will offer the Evening Service in D by George Dyson, an English composer (1883-1964) who lived through two world wars and mentored future musical stars. Dyson served in the Royal Fusiliers in World War I, where he distinguished himself as an expert on grenade warfare and sustained shell shock. Upon his return to England he was the first former student at the Royal College of Music to become its director. He upgraded its physical plant and its standards for admitting and graduating students. He believed that, with first-rate performances of music easily and regularly available on radio and record, young performers now coming into the musical profession needed to attain the highest standards if they were to compete. He championed such future musical standouts as the conductor Colin Davis (who was refused admission to the conducting program at the RCM because of inadequate piano skills), the classical guitarist and lutenist Julian Bream (even though the RCM offered no guitar studies), and Malcolm Arnold, who went on to write the scores for more than 100 films, including The Bridge on the River Kwai.
Dyson's own output included works for orchestra, chamber group, piano, organ, chorus and orchestra, chorus with piano, organ, or unaccompanied, as well as hymns and songs. He wrote in a traditional idiom, reflecting the influence of his mentors at the Royal College of Music, including Hubert Parry and Charles Villiers Stanford. His works were well known during his lifetime but underwent a period of neglect before being revived in the late 20th century. The service of Evensong includes the Responses of Philip Radclife, the Anthem of Frank Boles, "Surge illuminare," and Hymn 493, "O for a thousand tongues to sing."