The Thirteen soar at St. Peter’s

  Tuesday, October 22, 2013  (full size gallery)

The Thirteen, twelve singers with conductor Matthew Robertson, brought the  Renaissance to life for 100 concert goers on Tuesday night. It was a young group that tackled an ambitious program of two key Renaissance composers – Tallis and Palestrina, both 16th century composers of sacred music in England and Italy, respectively. Their opening number contemporary composer Benjamin Britten brought up a saint from Roman times,  St. Cecelia, the patroness of music.  

The Thirteen fit St. Peter’s into their tour south and actually was their first stop. As such it was the North American premier of the Palestrina, actually a collaborative work with other Italians. The term "heavenly", "ethereal", "music awash in sound" are apt descriptions of the music we heard. No, everything was not perfect (some off note pitches) but their spirit and energy overcame these deficiencies.  It is music that has stood the test of time for 400+ years.   The Thirteen is a young group of post college age young people that has a bright future.


Above all the young singers appreciated St. Peter’s cooks and attention to details. Johnny’s venizon, barbecue and vegetables plus several variety of cakes were highlights for the dinner. Catherine was attentive to their needs from the program down to the lighting.  Cookie did much of the advertising, including the banner in the front.



Despite being a smaller venue,  St. Peter’s ability to carry the music through its acoustics and the enthusiastic audience was its own draw. Matthew Robertson, the conductor, is an organist by training and has offered to come to down in the future to play our George Stevens organ for expenses only.  

Some of us think that music could be its own form of outreach. John Vreeland at St. George’s brought some of his singers. Members from Zion Methodist at Spotsylvania Courthouse came.  John and friends  have offered to play at St. Peter’s bringing over 30 years of experience. 

St. Asaph’s  contributed not only funding but time and effort in putting together a wine and cheese reception. It was a gathering time to get ready for the concert – to meet old friends and to meet new ones or simply to enjoy a mild October evening.  What a wonderful idea to have it in the front on the St. Peter’s lawn.

It was a stimulating night and included music examples of Renaissance forms, such as mass and madrigels as well as the driving force of this music, polyphany 

Above all it was a group effort to make this a reality – from the Vestry to those that contributed funding, to those that contriubted food and sleeping accomodations.  It was a stretch for a small church.  But for both for the singers and St. Peter’s it will be a fond memory.  

Jim Patton who wrote about music at St. Peter’s and Nell Clarke, former music director, would have been proud and certainly were with us in spirit.   

Continue on to watch the videos

View the concert program

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