Saturday, June 27, 2009


Sunday 28th of June 2009 at 2 pm
All Saints' Church, Palmerston North

"Draw near all ye people..."

Thus sayeth/singeth the prophet ELIJAH (properly Eliyahu) when he invites the Israelites to watch the LORD sending fire from heaven to consume as a whole-burnt offering ('holocaust') a sacrifice on an altar, up on Mount Carmel.

Warning: violence may disturb ("Take all the prophets of Baal [we pronounce Baal as in Transvaal] and slay them").

The soprano proclaims "Hear ye, Israel, be not afraid"; the contralto comforts us with "O rest in the Lord, he shall give thee thy heart's desires"; the tenor encourages us with "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun"; the bass baritone (Elijah) declares "It is enough".

Massed choirs have been rampant in Palmerston North in recent years. The Renaissance Singers and the PN Choral Society have combined for The Creation and a Last Night at the Proms. And the Bach Choir of Wellington joined the Renaissance Singers for a concert a while back, and now they are coming to town again to unite with the Choral Society for Mendelssohn's wonderful oratorio ELIJAH.

A week ago they all performed it in the splendid acoustics of Saint Andrew's on the Terrace; this time it will be the expansive ambience of All Saints' on Church Street, with its magnificent organ ("a mighty wind").

Hail a fiery chariot, or catch a passing whirlwind to heaven, but tell the driver to set you down at ALL SAINTS' CHURCH, in Church Street, Palmerston North, opposite the civic square (Wow!).

Sunday 28th of June 2009 at 2 pm

At one point,the prophet Obadiah upbraids the multitude, saying:

"Ye people rend your hearts and not your garments".

The same line was uttered (or spluttered) by a Scottish minister when he surveyed the contents of the collection plate (more buttons than currency). But attendance at this church service will cost you no more than 20 small gold coins (though a single green $20 'bill' for the till will get you through the pearly gate more quickly).

The oratorio begins with a long-range weather forecast from the prophet:

"As God the Lord of Israel liveth, there shall be no rain".

But if there is any downpour or drizzle, still come; don't sit in your tent moaning about false prophets. Participate, and be able to echo the line "We heard it with our ears".

Here's a piece of pedantic nit-picking: when we sing "Will then the Lord be no more God in Zion?", we are guilty of anachronism and misplacement. You see, this quotation is from Jeremiah (Yirmyahu) preaching to Judah and Jerusalem (Zion, Siyon) in the 6th century BCE; but Elijah (Eliyahu) was denouncing the kingdom of Israel (not including Judah and Jerusalem) in the 9th century, and this Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians in the 8th century (722), and its population was deported into oblivion ('the lost ten tribes').

Never mind. They that shall endure to the end shall be saved.



For a more colourful presentation of the information (every hue of the rainbow) click 'open sesame' on these magic spells:

Yours respectfully and as unintrusively as possible,

Brian Colless

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