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Thriving church music group celebrates composer with special concert

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The group was formed eight years ago after a previous vicar’s wife, Mo Stride, recognised the way music could bring people of the benefice together and how she could use the talents of the congregation to do this.

Known as the Waterside Scratch Band, they meet for practice, fellowship, fun and a tea break every Thursday evening at 7.30pm usually in one of the local churches, or in Ludham Church rooms during the winter months. There is no formal membership, but they have grown into a thriving music group, which provides music for Catfield, Ludham and Potter Heigham. The band also provides music at the monthly benefice service and for other special services and events, including carols in pubs and care homes.

Recently they took part in a concert to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birthday of composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. The concert took place in the beautiful setting of medieval All Saints church in Catfield.

The evening included the hymn tunes King’s Lynn (‘O God of Earth and Altar’), Down Ampney (‘Come Down O Love Divine’, Forest Green (‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’) and Sine Nomine (‘For All the Saints’). David Frost led it all with informal instructions to all before each hymn and Chris Marshall provided an introduction to each piece.

The evening ended with a blessing from Revd Gary Noyes. Revd Gary writes:

“It was a real delight to be part of such an evening at All Saints, and to hear our Scratch Band celebrate the music and Norfolk connections of Ralph Vaughan Williams, who just happens to be one of my favourite composers. The church was full, and it was extra special that we were able to use our local church space to celebrate the glory of God with some of the many hymns that RVW arranged for the English Hymnal.”