It seemed as if the singing was accompanied by the church organ, but the sound which filled the church came entirely from the voices of thirty-two members of a mixed choir singing “Immortal Bach” by Kurt Nystedt.
It was the fifth number in a recital by the Westphalian Chamber Choir from Munster, Germany, held in St Peter and St Paul’s Church in West Wittering on Saturday, April 14th.
The recital had been organised by Ken and Sarah Stanhope of West Wittering and the church’s warden, Anne Conyers, as a novel way of raising money for the organ fund. As well as two songs by Nystedt, the one-and-a-half hour programme featured sacred music by Allessandro Scarlatti, Quirino Gasparini, Johann Sebastian Bach, Max Reger, Felix Bartholdy, Javier Busto, and three humouristic folk songs. A packed church enjoyed the high quality singing which featured a remarkable purity of tone, melodious mixing of voices, long-held notes and staccato effects.
While the audience waited for the arrival of the choir they were entertained by a brass band and it is rumoured that, when the musicians went to the local pub for a meal after their recital, both singers and band spontaneously burst into song and music again to the enjoyment of the pub’s customers.