Latest Event Updates
Timmy the Super Sleuth
Timmy has taken to the Jurassic Coast this time. He has visited some exciting places like Durdle Door and met some interesting and ghostly characters, some human and some canine.
His owner, Director of Music for South Devon Choir, Simon, has evidently enjoyed taking him for some long walks and visiting the hostelries in the area. Once we are all allowed out and about again you might be itching to follow in his footsteps.
To read the latest episode of Timmy’s adventures download a copy below.
As all Choir members know, we have a canine friend who comes along each week; he belongs to our Director of Music, Simon Dunbavand.
Initially Timmy found it very hard to keep quiet when we were singing. He had to go outside for a while as his impersonation of our choral efforts were not very complementary. Howling is not what we do! But Timmy has grown and matured and can now be quiet for a whole practice unless he thinks someone or something untoward is happening, when he will let us know with his loud bark. He found the night of the General Election particularly challenging and, let’s face it, he probably wasn’t alone. Read the rest of this entry »
Thank you to John Hobbs from South Devon Choir
Following the concert on 7th December 2019, a retirement celebration was held for John Hobbs. Although he steps down as Musical Director of South Devon Choir he will, instead, become an occasional soloist and our President so contact will be maintained.
A BIG THANK YOU FROM JOHN
Dear Sally, Committee Members and All SDC Members,
There is so much for me to thank you all for! I would love to write to you all individually, but so many of you have been involved in the wonderful presentations you have made for me that I apologise for resorting to this method of conveying my gratitude to the greatest number in the shortest space of time.
First of all, thank you for a splendid concert on Saturday 7 December. You were always comfortably on top of this work and I sensed you shared my enjoyment of what I consider to be one of Handel’s finest masterpieces! The final collaboration with our exceptional soloists and orchestra drew the very best from you and you entered into the drama of the work with great enthusiasm and musicianship. It is always very rewarding for a conductor to hear his interpretations of a composer’s brainchild performed faithfully on the day and to such good effect, as reflected in the many appreciative comments received afterwards from members of the audience. Well done and thank you for making the rehearsal period such an enjoyable time.
Now I offer you my heartfelt thanks for the post-concert reception, held in my honour, and the many warm tributes received:-
…for the amazingly generous collection you have raised on my behalf, which will probably be spent on replacing a substantial, but dead hedge on our entrance drive. This is currently of a type of evergreen which does not tolerate the severe trimming it has experienced in the past, and which Margaret and I would like to replace with a much more robust and attractive beech hedge. It is quite a major job, but, when completed, we will be able to look at it every day and reflect on the pleasures of our association with the South Devon Choir. I have often wondered what a Hedge Fund was; now I have my very own. Thank you!
…for the wonderful “Book of Memories” which you have so lovingly compiled. I have only managed to skim through it so far, but have already spotted some very clever poems, some most moving tributes, some amazing sketches, a crossword puzzle and many lovely photographs, including one of me, aged 38, with hair and dark as well! When the Christmas rush is over, Margaret and I will enjoy studying this volume at our leisure and recalling past events and old friends, for that is what you have become over the past twelve years. Thank you!
…for the welcome refreshments after a busy day of music-making together, and especially that magnificent cake. I have never experienced
a cake that one can sing first, and to my favourite chorus – “Tune your harps!” We are still marvelling at how this was achieved and are loth to cut into it, but, if we don’t, I shall go hungry and that will never do, so another huge slice of Thanks!
Finally, I want to tell you that it has never felt a chore to drive down to Torquay on a Thursday evening. I have thoroughly enjoyed the main object of our liaison, the musical performances, but, even greater than this has been the friendship which you have all so generously afforded me. When the musical memories have faded, the personal memories will be everlasting, ably assisted by your lovely Book. I am delighted that, in the roles of President and sometime soloist, our contact will be maintained and I look forward to catching up with all your news on those occasions when I make the trip south. That said, Margaret and I would love to welcome you to our new home, which is midway between Torrington and Barnstaple (ask a committee member for the actual address, please),. RHS Rosemoor is only about 20 mins away, should you feel like making a day of it.
Thank you all once again for twelve glorious years and every good wish for the future of the South Devon Choir under Simon, who I know you will take to your hearts.
With love from Margaret and myself,
Conductor sings in his own concert
John Hobbs has been conducting South Devon Choir since 2007 and during that time the choir hears his rich baritone voice on a very regular basis. There is nothing like hearing a difficult piece of music sung correctly for cementing it into the brain.
At this concert our audience will have the opportunity to hear John’s wonderful voice as he sings a tenor and baritone duet with Arthur Swan. You can look forward to hearing the wonderful Au Fond du Temple Saint from The Pearl Fishers by Bizet.
John Hobbs has enjoyed a wide and varied singing career but most recently he has sung the role of Germont in Verdi’s La Traviata, in 2017, with both Cheryl Brendish and Arthur Swan; and Falstaff in Nicolai’s Merry Wives of Windsor, in 2018, with Arthur. Both performances were with the Duchy Opera Company.
John is understudying the roles of Macbeth and Banquo in the same Company’s current production of Verdi’s Macbeth. On Palm Sunday 2019, he sang the Bass arias and supporting characters (Judas, Peter, High Priest and Pilate) in the Plymouth Philharmonic Choir’s performance of Bach’s St Matthew Passion.
Future performances include an operatic recital, with Arthur, for the Friends of Duchy Opera, in Newquay; and an open-air programme of operatic scenes, with Cheryl and her new company, Intimate Opera, at Trevince; both in June; and also the bass solos in Mozart’s Requiem, in Buckfast Abbey, in September. All this in addition to being Musical Director of the Bude Choral Society, North Devon Choral Society and the South Devon Choir.
Tickets for the concert are available online, from choir members and on the door, priced at £12 (Students 19 and under are free of charge). The concert takes place on Saturday 6 July 2019, doors open at 7.00pm and the concert starts at 7.30pm.
International Tenor sings Opera Classics
South African tenor Arthur Swan joins South Devon Choir once again for their summer concert on Saturday 6 July at Central Church, Tor Hill Road, Torquay.
You can expect to hear some real operatic treats including Lensky’s aria from Eugene Onedin by Tchaikovsky, Au Fond du Temple Saint, from The Pearl Fishers by Bizet, the famous tenor and baritone duet, where Arthur is joined by John Hobbs; and partnering soprano Cheryl Brendish, Brindisi from La Traviata by Verdi.
Arthur Swan studied opera at the South African College of Music and was a member of Cape Town Opera’s Young Artists’ Programme. After completing his undergraduate studies in 2004, he performed in theatres throughout Southern Africa before moving to London in 2008.
Arthur’s lyric tenor is in demand on both the concert and opera stage, in repertoire ranging from the baroque to late romantic, thanks to what critics have described as a “nobility” and “warmth” of tone, as well as his natural vocal flexibility and versatility.
His opera repertoire includes works by Mozart (Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte, and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni), Rossini (Almaviva in The Barber of Seville, Ramiro in La Cenerentola, and Osiride in Mosé in Egitto), Donizetti (Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, and Ernesto in Don Pasquale), Janáček (Steva in Jenůfa), Bizet (Don José in Carmen) and Puccini (Prunier in La Rondine, Rodolfo in La Bohème, and Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly). Arthur also recently made his first foray into operetta, performing the roles of Alfred in Die Fledermaus (J. Strauss II) and Marco in The Gondoliers (Gilbert and Sullivan) for North West Opera in Ireland.
In addition to his regular performances with regional and touring opera companies in the United Kingdom, Arthur’s association with Cape Town Opera has continued, with engagements including Hoffmann (Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann) and, more recently, the principal part of Whiteman in extended tours to the UK, Dubai and Hong Kong of The Mandela Trilogy, a musical tribute to the life of Nelson Mandela.
Tickets for the concert are available online as well as from choir members or on the door. Doors open at 7pm on Saturday 6 July and the concert starts at 7.30pm. #sdcopera
The Ups and Downs of Committee Life
|Ups and downs are inevitable in life. No sooner do we enjoy basking in another successful concert than it is time to start arranging the next one.
Despite our extensive forward plans sometimes things go adrift and our Spring 2019 concert has been one such occasion.
Sally Says Thank You
Our Chairlady says: I am a very happy Chairlady! Our concert on Saturday was wonderful and so enjoyable. Lots of very favourable comments from audience and Choir alike. Thank you so much everybody-you put your all into it!
And as for my team of committee members – how impressed and grateful I am for your commitment and hard work. I have to make a special mention of Mark Saxelby who is now our concert manager – so efficient and organised.
The orchestra was great and our little band of young chorus singers added so much to the very moving Tsunami Requiem. What variety we had with our excellent soloists in the Haydn. And finishing with the beautiful peaceful Lauridsen.
I’m delighted to say we collected £185 for the disaster relief funds. As always John Hobbs led us strongly from the front – and Simon Dunbavand worked his magic on the organ.
Singing at that level is unbelievably life enhancing. So thank you once again everybody. Onwards and upwards – Brahms Requiem next!
And So Does John Hobbs
John Hobbs says:
Dear SDC members
Thank you very much for a delightful concert last Saturday. The Haydn sparkled, with excellent soloists and orchestra, together with your own splendid singing, employing different dynamic levels and rhythmic accuracy – what a joy!
The second half was, in contrast, more powerful in its emotional impact, yet that came together so well in the evening, and I really believe you had not sung either work better.
The Requiem worked well with its brass ensemble, percussion and Simon on the organ, and the children’s chorus rose to the challenge of the concert, ably assisted by Pauline in the background, which added that extra volume. Moreover, you achieved the correct rhythms in the Dies Irae, which is a case of ‘peaking on the night’ and is always a good thing to do! The Agnus Dei was truly beautiful, as was the Lauridsen. The audience was indeed loath to break the spell at the end of both works, which is a sure sign of success. Congratulations on a job well done!
I hope to see many of you at the social event on 17th December, but if not, have a good Christmas and I look forward to our return on 3rd January when we begin rehearsing Brahms’ glorious ‘Requiem’.
Many thanks and all good wishes, John
Choir marks Armistice Centenary
Members of South Devon Choir helped commemorate the centenary of Armistice Day at Churston Parish Church on Remembrance Sunday.
About 20 members of the large choir assisted the church choristers in the Remembrance service, to help lead the congregation in singing and to perform an anthem.
“It was a wonderful way to mark the peace that eventually came to Europe exactly 100 years ago, after nearly five years of appalling warfare,” said Lisa Prager, Secretary of South Devon Choir.
“It was particularly apt, as our concert – ‘Calm after Chaos’ – is only a few weeks away, on 1 December. The concert was planned ages ago, and it includes Haydn’s Nelson Mass, written during another European war, and Chris Williams’ Tsunami Requiem, which is also particularly relevant given recent tsunamis and other natural disasters. At the concert, we’ll be inviting the audience to make donations for the Disasters Emergency Committee to help a number of UK charities.”
The concert, at Central Church, Torquay, starts at 7.30pm on Saturday 1 December; tickets are £12 (free for students under 19), and can be obtained by calling 01803 846058; on-line at http://www.southdevonchoir.org/tickets; or on the door. #sdcnelsonmass