Concerts in Eastbourne and Ringmer in February 2018

We’re giving two concerts in February 2018 and hope to see you there!

Where and when:

  1. All Saints Church, Grange Road, Eastbourne, BN21 4HE on Saturday 24th February 2018 at 6pm.
  2. St Mary’s Church, Ringmer on Sunday 25th February 2018 at 3.30pm.

Programme:

A chance to hear three choral masterpieces of the twentieth century: Benjamin Britten’s Rojoice in the Lamb, Gerald Finzi’s Lo, the Full Final Sacrifice and Aaron Copland’s stunning In the Beginning featuring mezzo-soprano soloist Briony Lambert. We’re delighted to welcome back organist Iestyn Evans, director of music at St James’s Church, Marylebone, and former organ scholar at Westminster Cathedral.

Tickets:

£10 (under 19s free) on the door (subject to availability) or in advance – tel 01323 410761.

Let us know you’re coming on our Facebook event page…

Christmas concert at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton

The music room at The Royal Pavilion, Brighton
The music room at The Royal Pavilion, Brighton

We’re delighted to have been invited to sing in the Music Room of the Royal Pavilion, together with the Brighton Consort, in their annual Christmas charity event on December 7th.

The Royal Pavilion is a magical place at Christmas, and the Music Room will be a fantastic place to sing.

Our programme will include Kenneth Leighton Lully Lulla, Rutter Nativity Carol, Tavener’s The Lamb and a lovely arrangement of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.  We’ll be joining with the Consort to sing Mendelssohn’s stirring Weihnachten.

Nick will also be accompanying some numbers on his chamber organ.

Chichester Cathedral next month & 2018 plans

We’re back at Chichester Cathedral to sing the services on September 2nd and 3rd. Two anthems by Clive Osgood, Arvo Part’s Nunc Dimittis and William Byrd’s Four Part Mass are some of the pieces we’ll be singing.

We’ve had the first of our two rehearsal days and are looking forward to the weekend.

Plans for 2018 are shaping up well. In February we are giving audiences another chance to hear our 2014 concert ‘Masterpieces of the 1940s’ , featuring the wonderful Briony Lambert who takes the mezzo solo role in Aaron Copland’s ‘In the beginning’. More details on our Concerts page and even more detail nearer the time.

Come July we will back at Westminster Abbey, our fourth visit, for a weekend of services. We love singing there, it’s such an experience and a privilege.

Looking ahead to December 2018, plans are underway for a Christmas concert – unforeseen circumstances meant we didn’t have a 2016 Christmas concert, but we’re now keen to get back onto our regular biennial appearance at St Michael’s which is always popular (we even had to turn people away last time, which is always a shame!) More details nearer the time. We’re looking forward to seeing all our lovely supporters for another magical evening of Christmas music.

September concert – ‘Faire is the Heaven’

Faire is the Heaven poster

We’ve a concert coming up in Lewes, at St Michael’s Church, on Saturday 26th September at 6pm.

We’re calling it ‘Faire is the Heaven’ after the anthem of that name by English composer William Harris. It’s one of two Harris anthems on the programme, which also includes two of J S Bach’s mighty motets, Komm, Jesu, Komm and Lobet den Herrn, motets by Charles Villiers Stanford and the Requiem by Herbert Howells.

We sang Faire is the Heaven at Westminster Abbey last month when we sang five services over three days. Tiring, but wonderful. They can seat up to a thousand people for services, and that’s just in the Quire and transept, not the main nave (which only gets used on special occasions). The atmosphere in the Quire is always magical, but there’s something a little disconcerting to know you’re being watched round the corner on screens by who knows how many hundreds of people.

The transept at Westminster Abbey before a service

Westminster Abbey is the final resting place of many fine musicians, writers & artists. Polly took a pic of Nick and I by the monument to Henry Purcell.

Nick & Robin Houghton at Purcell's grave, Westminster Abbey

Purcell was the organist at the Abbey from 1679 to 1695 and he’s buried a few feet away from where we’re standing. We always try to sing something by Purcell at Westminster Abbey and this time is was ‘O God, Thou art my God’ at Sunday Evensong.

The music for the September concert is on order and we’ll soon be sending it out to singers prior to our first rehearsal on September 12th. Incidentally, if you’re in Lewes do drop by St Michael’s during the day – not only will you hear us in rehearsal, but it’s Heritage Open Day at the church and it’s a good chance to have a nose around and hear more about this fascinating building. There are many other historic properties open in Lewes on that day – full details here.

New recording up on site

Many thanks to Ed Hughes who made a sneaky recording of our Christmas concert! Good thing too, as we never seem to have much luck doing it ourselves. So we’ve finally got around to editing and choosing some of the best bits to put on the site.

‘Stille Nacht’ is now up on the ‘Listen’ page. There may be other extracts in due course. Hope you enjoy it!

No room at the Inn (well, the church anyway)

Julia Bishop

Hurrah! Our concert on Sunday was a sellout – we lined up extra chairs and tried to get everyone in, but I did actually have to turn about 5 or 6 people away, which was such a shame, although they took it really well. What a buzz. It was so exciting to see St Michael’s full, with all the candles, and the string quartet, it was magical. I think we sang really well, it was just so enjoyable and even the tricky moments seemed easy and wonderful, including the ‘surprise’ encore which wasn’t on the programme (OK, that was my idea!) Lots of lovely comments from the audience and even afterwards on Twitter – I’ve put them up here, in the time-honoured tradition of bragging!

So many thankyous are due – to all the singers, of course, who give their time and dedication to coming to rehearsals, learning and performing the music so brilliantly, plus helping with everything from getting posters put up around to town to shifting chairs and music stands on the day, gathering up music, lighting candles and helping serve drinks. Longstanding helpers Nicola and Rob lent us their essential calm and efficiency on the night, and Churchwarden Ann was on hand all evening. Julia Bishop and the players gave the performance such a lift – Julia is such a patient and sensitive player (and TEAM player, even more to the point) and the least diva-esque of anyone I know with the qualifications for that title!

Nick is so tired after working every single day (and many of the evenings!) for the last 6 weeks or more. He was doing the vacuuming about an hour ago but it’s gone all quiet upstairs, so I expect he’s taking 40 winks – which is fair enough as he still has to play for Midnight Mass this evening and Mass tomorrow morning before he can properly relax.

We’ve already been discussing the next concert – probably next September, following on from our stint at Westminster Abbey. I’m now signing off for 2014 now – Happy Christmas and there’ll be more from us in the New Year.

Lewes Christmas Concert – programme latest

Vivaldi Gloria flyer

Posters & flyers for Christmas concertAs well as the Vivaldi Gloria, there’s going to a be lovely mix of seasonal stuff at our Christmas concert. Although there’ll be several unaccompanied numbers such as John Tavener’s The Lamb and Victoria O Magnum Mysterium, some plainchant and possibly even some 20th century schmaltz (!) we’re taking advantage of having Nick’s chamber organ and a string quartet. They’ll be playing with us in numbers like Gardiner’s Tomorrow Shall be my Dancing Day and John Rutter’s Nativity Carol.

For some pieces, Nick has to write parts for each instrument  – somehow how he’s going to find time for this around his ‘day job’ which is full-on this time of year, plus playing for (or conducting) concerts every weekend.

The string quartet are also going to play Pachelbel’s Canon and a movement from Corelli’s Christmas Concerto. We’re very excited to have the magnificent Julia Bishop on violin – taking time out from her busy international touring schedule with Red Priest. The whole concert should be a wonderful feast of music.