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Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Texan cowboys rope in English congregations
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A group of rodeo cowboys from Texas are coming to England next month to give a very special performances in  some of our oldest cathedrals.

They will be joined by accountants, American federal judges, artists, computer experts,  couture fashion and jewelry designers, oil and gas geologists, surgeons and a doctor of aerospace medicine.

The cowboys are all members of the choir of St Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston which with more than 8,000 members is the biggest Episcopal Church in the United States.

The 61 choir members along with 20 other people from the Church are making a tour of England after meeting former Archbishop of Canterbury and previous Bishop of Bath and Wells, Most Revd George Carey who confirmed more than 150 people in St Martin’s in Autumn last year.

The Archbishop was so full of praise for the choir, which contains a mixture of professional singers and amateurs, that the idea for the trip was formed.

The concert, called Songs of Praise and Devotion,  will have a varied programme  and will include music from  two continents and range in style from ancient to modern.  

Two psalm settings by German composers Felix Mendelssohn and Hugo Distler will open the concert, followed by anthems focusing on aspects of light with settings of 'O nata lux' by Englishman Thomas Tallis and American contemporary Morten Lauridsen.
English anthems with organ are featured in Ireland’s 'Greater love hath no man' and Bainton’s 'And I saw a new heaven.'
Houston composer David Ashley White will be represented by two original hymn tunes.  The concert will conclude with a robust setting of the American folk hymn 'Come thou fount of every blessing' by the late Texas composer, Lloyd Pfautsch.

The Choir will be directed by newly-appointed choirmaster, Kevin Riehle, and accompanied by Director of Music and Parish Organist, Dr. David Henning.

Choir spokesman Hazel Bartram-Birchenough said: “We are all very excited by the trip which is really going to be something very special.”

The choir will sing Choral Evensong in Westminster Abbey on Tuesday 3 August at 5pm, lunchtime concerts in Canterbury Cathedral on Wednesday 4 August at 12noon; Windsor Castle St George’s Chapel on Thursday 5 August at 1.10pm and a lunchtime concert starting at 1.05pm on Friday 6 August.

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Tags: Cowboys, St Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston

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