On two successive days in early July, Edington showed the breadth of its hospitality by hosting a violin concert by promising young violin students - as well as slapstick from an ordained clown! Julia Taylor reports ...

   
Edington Priory Church showed the breadth of its hospitality when it hosted, on two successive days, a concert by a promising young violinist and some of her fellow-students, for an audience of about 60 music-lovers, and a demonstration of skill and slapstick on the slackrope by an ordained clown, for a similar number of spellbound children.
In memory of  Liz Lawrence (writer, broadcaster, creator of the Open Door reading scheme for the young, music-lover and encourager of young talent) the Wiltshire Rural Music School administers an annual award – currently £1000 per annum – to assist the further studies of the winner. This year the winner was Christabell Pidduck who on Friday July 5th, with other young performers, gave us an excellent selection of pieces for strings, piano and chamber choir, beautifully played and sung. Some was familiar – such as the two Bach Partitas played by Christabell – and some less so, including Messaien and Svendsen. Indeed Matthew Olyver played a viola piece of his own composition, Tears of the Clown, a moving and strikingly original work.
     
 
The Reverend Roly Bain styles himself The Church's Jester. His performance on Saturday the 6th consisted of an attempt to walk along a slackrope strung along the tower crossing towards a cross; commentary, often very funny but deeply Christian, was provided by himself, while 60 or so children cheered, shouted encouragement, and laughed uproariously. Having (like Christians throughout Church history) gained his goal after numerous failures, he turned to plate-spinning, encouraging the children, many of whom acquired surprising proficiency before the end of the event and are perhaps now practising with their parents' ancestral dinner-services.
 
On Sunday the 7th the church returned to its primary purpose and celebrated with a Communion service the anniversary of its dedication in 1361. Whether or not those present 652 years ago would have approved of our new understanding of 'service', it is surely certain that God does.
 
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