Sunday, 20 April 2014

Handel's Messiah, Snibston Discovery Museum, Jennens and an international supermarket!

A couple of weeks ago I had the good fortune to be able to join in a mass sing through of some of the choruses from Handel's Messiah. And what a good sing this was! And what a wonderful venue!
My music score

The organisation, Music For Everyone (formerly Nottingham Choral Trust) offered the chance to local people for them to get together with a handful of proficient musicians and sing selected movements from The Messiah. There were literally hundreds of singers and we were separated into two groups, those with experience of singing, and those new to singing, each group being conducted by a very experienced conductor!

This is one you'll all know!

The enrolment fee was modest, the rehearsals were relatively short and the lunch superb! After about 4 hours of rehearsals, a public performance was given for friends and relatives who'd turned up to listen. This was also a treat for other people to, because the event took place in the wonderful Snibston Discovery Museum in Coalville, so visitors who'd come to the museum got an extra delight for their entrance fee!!

Of course, this meant that singers also had a reduced price entrance fee to the museum, and this was particularly relevant, as tucked away in a corner of the museum was a special exhibition about the life and times of Charles Jennens. Jennens, was a Leicestershire man, being brought up in Gopsall Hall, which I believe he had extended during his lifetime. Gopsall Hall was demolished in about 1952, and replaced by Gospall Leisure Park. But, Charles Jennens' memory lives on ... for he was a great friend of Handel, and wrote the words for that great Handel oratorio, The Messiah!

Today, there are a few small remnants of Gopsall Hall to be seen, which include the temple which was believed to have been where Handel wrote the Messiah. However, it seems to have been proved that actually the temple was built after the Messiah had been completed in 1741, and that although Handel frequently visited Jennens, there is little evidence that he actually stayed at Gopsall Hall. The temple, which was built as a homage to Jennens' friend Edward Holdsworth, a Latin poet and classical scholar, was the subject of a restoration in about 2003, and can still be visited today. 

The exhibition at Snibston was fantastic, being a commentary on Georgian life, a depiction of what Georgian entertainment was like, and a summary of the life of Charles Jennens. The relationship between Jennens and Handel also formed a large part of the exhibition.

One of the information boards.

I'm not sure how long this exhibition is on for, but it's well worth a visit. But then, so is Snibston worth a visit, before the museum in its present format is closed for good ... Here's the facebook page for the friends of the museum.

Did I say international supermarket?? Run out of time ... see next week's post for an exciting revelation in Loughborough!

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