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It’s always a challenge to learn a complex piece of music – especially if you don’t read music. South Devon Choir is a community choir and a recent survey of members revealed that 25% of members read music very little. Nonetheless, you don’t have to read music to be able to sing very complex music – ears are the key. Hearing the music as others sing it, listening to the piano and practice, practice, practice are what enables the singer to learn.
Here South Devon Choir practice the Sanctus from the Verdi Requiem with the passionate John Hobbs, their Musical Director. Each part (SATB) is split in two – so there are 8 parts singing. Timing is complex, the music intricate. With plenty of time to go until the actual performance members of the Choir concentrate on learning the unfamiliar notes and timing.
The performance itself will feature over 200 voices as South Devon Choir combines with choirs from North Devon and Cornwall to form the Coast to Coast Choir in an epic staging of the Requiem in the Assembly Rooms, Torquay Town Hall, Torquay – on 2nd July 2016 and again in Barnstaple Pannier Market on 3rd July. Accompanying them will be the Festival Orchestra and professional soloists Cheryl Brendish, Heloise West, David Webb and Darren Jeffery. Tickets are available from Visitor Centres in Torquay, Paignton and Newton Abbot, on our website (click here for tickets) or you can buy them on our Facebook page.
Our lovely chairperson, Sally Laird, is a singing addict and she attends lots of choral workshops and signs up for other one-off choir performances. She explains, in what follows, how she feels about singing and why it is so good for her and for other people.
“What a totally stunning experience it was to sing Britten’s incredible War Requiem to a full Exeter Cathedral recently. Worth every minute of committed rehearsal from all the musical forces gathered there. And of course what can one say about Marion Wood who led us all so wonderfully. Sadly her last concert with the Exeter Music Group. My goodness how we will all miss her calm, knowledgeable, witty, entertaining, charming, intelligent leadership and conducting. Exhausted afterwards but occasions like that are very good for the soul, even if the knees etc ache a bit!
Through singing in concerts like this virtually all my life I feel I’ve made a whole lot of new friends – in every voice part!
Which is why – for all the above reasons – I should like to recommend to anyone glancing at this website and wondering about joining a choir- don’t hesitate! It can change your life.
I believe belonging to one choir sort of opens the door to knowing about opportunities to do mind-blowing things in other choirs and leads to life enhancement and enrichment and as I’ve already suggested…having the chance to get to know lovely people with similar interests and sharing experiences with them.”
When we see a professional singer on the stage, in their home environment, performing in front of a big audience we often forget that for every professional singer there are hundreds of amateurs and young professionals putting themselves out there for all to hear and judge.
At our concert on Saturday 12th March South Devon Choir was pleased to welcome a new young singer who performed the soprano part in Schubert’s Mass in G.
Clare Lash-Williams attended Sherborne School for Girls where she excelled in music. Fast becoming an in-demand Soprano soloist Claire has appeared as a singer on regional TV.
As member of the Collati Singers, Clare regularly sings for a range of choral events and has recently worked with the Alvington Singers, the Lympstone Military Wives and the Crediton Singers. She also sings for weddings and special events and is currently expanding her teaching practice.
Despite being afflicted with a cold and cough (which seems to be norm for this end of a long damp winter) Clare Lash Williams demonstrated that she has a lovely voice with pure top notes and gave a performance much enjoyed by the Choir and audience alike. Our thanks go to her for travelling to be with us for a short but much appreciated participation in the concert; we hope that we will see and hear more of her in the future (and that her cold gets better very quickly).
Choir members usually stay bashfully in the body of the Choir but one of our tenors, John Christian, came out to perform a solo in the Schubert Mass.
John has been singing as a tenor with the South Devon Choir since 2002 during which time he has also been developing as a solo singer – he has sung for local choirs, including The Stanborough Chorus, singing the tenor solos in Mendelssohn’s Hymn of Praise and Elijah, Coleridge-Taylor’s Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast and making various guest appearances. He is also a soloist at St Paul’s, Preston, in their regular Easter gathering of singers for Stainer’s Crucifixion and Maunder’s Olivet to Calvary.
John studies locally with Veronica Layne and sings in S.W. England Festivals both in Torbay and Plymouth.
It is great to have such enthusiasm and talent within the Choir and John displays his artistic side both as a singer and a maritime artist. In the past he has also been kind enough to donate pictures for Choir funding raising activities so one way and another the Choir has much to say thank you to him for. (You can see his pictures on his website .)
Famous Choral Classic for a Royal Birthday Celebration
There are some pieces of music which are so familiar and well-loved and I was glad by Sir Hubert Parry is surely one of them.
Sung at the entrance of the Monarch at the Coronation and at royal celebrations such as weddings, with the advent of widespread television, this anthem will be well-known to millions. South Devon Choir will conclude its Choral Classics concert on 12 March 2016 with this lovely piece of music – as a tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as she approaches the occasion of her 90th birthday.
For further details of this concert and to obtain tickets please click here.
Tickets are also available on the door – the concert starts at 7.30pm at Central Church, Torquay.
#queenelizabeth #royalbirthday #torquay #music #concert
Catch a Choral Workshop ticket
Discounted tickets will be available until 12th February, so being an Early Bird is advisable.
The all-day workshop has been arranged to assist members of the Choir as they prepare to perform the Requiem on 2nd July in Torquay and members of other choirs and the general public are also very welcome.
Tickets have been selling fast to beat the Early Bird expiry date of 12 February but there are places still available and the Choir will run a waiting list if the Workshop is over-subscribed. If you are interested in attending the Workshop more information is available here.
We promise – it will be an experience that you won’t forget.