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Let us attend - May 2023 (With Fortismere Comunity Choir)


During the All-night Vigil service, following the chanting of O Gentle Light (Gladsome Light in our performance), the clergy conducting the service make three short exclamations including, “Let us attend”.


In our daily life, to be attentive or heedful is important. Yet the capacity to be attentive or heedful does not always come easily. Our intellect is predisposed to being forgetful and unfocused. It is difficult to force oneself to be attentive. The Church is aware of our weakness, and so it takes it upon itself to remind us with the phrase, “Let us attend!” which tells us: let us be attentive, let us be heedful, let us take note, let us be careful, let us gather our wits, and let us strain to focus our mind and our memory on what we are hearing. (The All-night Vigil. St.George Russian Orthodox Church. The Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, Australia and New Zealand Diocese.)


In the Fortismere Community Choir's performance of Rachmaninoff's All-night Vigil, a screen behind the choir displayed live feeds from various national and international news sources reporting on the environment and climate crisis against a backdrop of images from opposite positions on the planet, Iceland and New Zealand. Both countries have only been inhabited by humans relatively recently – 1200 and 800 years – and both also retain signs of geological youth; geothermal activity as a result of straddling fault lines and glaciation because of their proximity to the North, or South Pole.

The images are a contemplative and sometimes abstract view of these youthful signs. But with the text overlaid, is this where we have come from, or is this where we are going? For this All-night Vigil, this period of watchfulness, let us attend.


Sergei Rachmaninoff - All-night Vigil, Op. 37. Performed by Fortismere Community Choir, tenor Andrew Woodmansey, organ John Eady, musical director Marvin Perrott. Audio recording ℗ John Dillon 2023.

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