Saturday, October 13, 2007

Edwardtide Glory (and fun) in London.

Last night, I took the Oxford Tube (my first double-decker bus) to London. The main reason was a Sung Eucharist on the Eve of the Translation of St. Edward the Confessor at Westminster Abbey.

King Edward was the founder of Westminster Abbey (hence, their celebration of “Edwardtide”) so I thought it would be special. And was I right!

First, I got off the bus early on a whim to walk through Hyde Park. Broad green spaces are therapeutic for me. It became a bit warm though. I guess I better stop complaining about cold, grey days.

The service at Westminster was excellent. Of course, I could nitpick like any traditionalist neophyte liturgist. But the usher, without any prompting from me, guided me to the “Canada” seat on the back row of the choir. And it was a very comfortable, relatively private, and excellent place to hear and view the service. Heck, I was right next to one of the lectors. Arriving early has its perks. And I guess I’ll have to stop blaming Canada . . . for a while.

The choir sang Byrd’s Mass for Five Voices very well. The organ pieces, mainly from Bach, were very well selected and played. (By the way, Bach’s organ pieces can really speak to me.)

I liked the sermon from the Dean, which pointed out that we celebrate King Edward in part because England is not a (nasty) secular state like France.

We sang excellent hymns in praise of St. Edward. Yes, I love that sort of thing.

And after the service, the screen was opened for us to go behind it and circumnavigate the shrine of St. Edward. Very medieval.

The bells were ringing like crazy, which only increased my joy from the service when I stepped outside. I was so happy as I walked to the excellent Italian dinner I stumbled upon (Spaghetti House near St. Martins-at-the-Fields is expensive, but good.).

Then I attended my first ever London theatre to see Spamalot. I bought the ticket online during a discount promotion. It was A-10, so I thought it would a good front row seat in the balconies. Wrong! It was FRONT ROW, PERIOD!

(Now, be warned that Spamalot is more bawdy than the Monty Python and the Holy Grail it “lovingly” rips off. But, with that caveat, it was good fun.)

Yes, it was an auspicious evening.

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