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Cream Tea and Quiz

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Cream Tea
Go on – indulge yourself

Knowledge and Taste hand in hand

It’s that time of year again.  The days are getting longer, the daffodils are starting to poke their heads out cautiously at the sun, and thoughts turn to an afternoon out and the South Devon Choir Cream Tea and Quiz.

Where better than Castle Barton Tea Rooms where you can indulge in a thoroughly satisfying cream tea in cosy surroundings, safe in the knowledge that you are fully justified in doing so for several reasons.

 

 

  1. You have just burned up lots of calories using your brain and digging out all that general knowledge you thought you’d forgotten.
  2. You have spent money in a good cause – because this is a social fundraiser for South Devon Choir.
  3. You have also bought a ticket or two in the raffle, which will also contribute to South Devon Choir funds.

Tickets at £8.00 per person are available from Prim Wood Telephone 01803 872296 or from choir members.

Join us on Wednesday 28 March at 2pm until approximately 5pm at Castle Barton Tea Rooms, Compton, Nr Marldon. For a map click here.

Glorious Russian Choral Music

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A Talk by Simon Dunbavand

Simon Dunbavand
Simon Dunbavand

#torquay #music #Russia # choral –  South Devon Choir are adding to their social calendar this spring with a talk by lecturer and musician, Simon Dunbavand.  He has entitled the talk “Glorious Russian Choral Music” and it promises to be gloriously illustrated with music and a fascinating account by Simon which you can be sure will include some interesting personal anecdotes.

Simon describes himself as an organist, pianist, conductor, choral animateur, lecturer, researcher, writer, composer, teacher, and traveller.  Not only that, Simon is also a Cambridge graduate and was an Organ Scholar of Peterhouse, now resident in Torquay he is also organist at Paignton Parish Church and is accompanist to South Devon Choir among his many other roles.

One of Simon’s passions is Russian Choral music and he has directed performances of Russian Orthodox music, which he researches and collects in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kiev.

Simon is also a frequent lecturer on classical music themed-cruises, as well as inspiring singers in the Choirs-at-Sea programme. Travel is his greatest pleasure, and when combined with music, produces a thrilling anthropological and ethnographical cocktail, from the ghats of Varanasi, to the monasteries of Luang Prabang in Laos. Simon is proud to have played the ceremonial gong at a Hindu watermelon ritual on Moheshkhali Island in Bangladesh, and trekked to the ancient Buddhist Monasteries of Inle Lake, Burma, across the mountains of the forbidden Shan State to the two-thousand stupas of Kakku with their bells tinkling in the breeze. Simon has visited the Mursi tribe of the Lower Omo Valley in Ethiopia and attended the chanting of the St George’s Day rites in the rock-hewn orthodox churches of the holy city of Lalibella. Recently he took the infamous Tazara train from Dar es Salaam to Zambia, and continued onwards into Zimbabwe and South Africa. In 2015 he has particularly enjoyed visiting the Corcovado district of Costa Rica, Bocas del Toro in Panama, and travelling by train across Uzbekistan.

The event will take place in The Rougemont Room, Toorak Hotel, Chestnut Avenue, Torquay, Devon, TQ2 5JS on Tuesday 6 March commencing at 7pm.  There is a bar and tea/coffee are also available.  The cost for the event is £7.00 per person – tickets are available from Prim Wood, Telephone 01803 872296, or on the door.

Find out more about Simon Dunbavand on his website.

Will the real Father Christmas please stand up

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St Nicolas, the real Father Christmas

Excitement builds in the minds of small children as Christmas Eve approaches and Santa leaves presents for them but what do we know of this magical person?  Who is he? Who was he?

The origin of Father Christmas, or to give him his proper name, St Nicolas, is shrouded in the mists of time.  All we know of him is largely down to a writer from the 9th century giving an account of a figure who lived some 500 years before, one Nicolas of Myra.

Nicolas of Myra was reputed to have performed a number of kindly, indeed saintly, acts including the restoration to life of children whom he raised from the dead, the rescues of three sisters destined for a life of misery and prostitution, three men from an unjust death and three drowning sailors off the coast of Turkey.  You can see the influence of the holy number three in these accounts.

His diverse activities have earned him the patronage of unmarried girls, pawnbrokers, merchants, perfumiers and apothecaries as well as the modern fame in which he is now held.

At our concert on 25 November we will sing of the life of St Nicolas, including the restoration to life of the children.  In the Britten Cantata the children are three small boys, Timothy, Mark and John, whose parents are in anguish at their disappearance.  Nicolas realises that the boys have been pickled in brine by an unscrupulous butcher and supplied as meat to a landlord in the famine stricken land. He restores them to life and you will hear them in the concert as their parts are sung by three choristers from Exeter Cathedral.

Forget Strictly, catch up on iPlayer, and come out for an evening of choral entertainment with us as we sing St Nicolas and the famous Bach Cantata BMV140 Sleepers, Wake!  and if you would like to join us for a finger buffet afterwards then be quick and buy tickets for that too – the deadline is Saturday 18 November (for catering purposes) but concert tickets will be available on the door on the night.

Tickets are available online click here

For more information about the concert click here – do join us.

Sing in a choir for health

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Gareth Malone rehearsing the Trafalgar Square audience in singing part of Bizet's Carmen.
Gareth Malone rehearsing the Trafalgar Square audience in singing part of Bizet’s Carmen.

Once singing in a choir was reserved for church on Sundays but in the last few years choral singing has become more and more popular.  Gareth Malone and his series The Choir and other reality TV shows, such as the X Factor, have inspired people to find their voice and find a choir to sing in.  In fact, it is now estimated that 2.8 million people in Briton take part in a choir or singing group and many more probably sing solo in the shower, the kitchen and the car as they go about their daily business. Music is a mood influencer and we have only to look at the amount of music written over centuries to see its powerful effects.

What’s more, it has been shown that if you join a choir you will feel part of a group more quickly than many other activities.  There is something special about singing, revealed in an October 2015 research project undertaken by The Royal Society which indicates that singing may be an evolutionary development that enables human beings to bond more quickly in social situations.

Singing can even act as a pain-killer probably due to the release of endorphins and can create a feeling of well-being, especially when singing as part of a group.  The harmonious activity acts to synchronise us together and creating a beautiful sound lifts the spirits.

We hope that this will have convinced you that a choir is worthwhile joining for all its beneficial effects.  Come along and try for yourself; the Choir resumes singing in September when we shall be practising the fantastic Messiah

 

Picture from https://www.flickr.com/photos/8176740@N05/4703393210/in/photolist-8aC7Wo-8ayTRB-8aC9nm-8aySuX-7YAzYS-7YAAKq-7YAAmh-7YAzBu

A Happy Chairperson

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Sally Laird - Chairperson of South Devon Choir
Sally Laird – Chairperson

What a wonderfully enjoyable concert our South Devon Choir gave on Saturday in Central Church Torquay!

I’m so proud of the Choir – they worked very hard and made a wonderful sound!

And I’ve never seen the audience look so happy!

 

 

 

John Hobbs - Musical Director pictured at the concert The Creation March 2015
John Hobbs – Musical Director pictured at the concert The Creation March 2015

We sang a glorious mix of favourite choral classics and Schubert’s Mass in G – conducted by our lovely Musical Director, John Hobbs ,who also stepped cheerfully into the breach and sang the short bass solos gloriously as always.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tim Matthews
Tim Matthews

As for our new accompanist – Tim Matthews- he never stopped playing all night – and all day too if you count the rehearsal time he put in. Those organ solos – wow!  Nearly blew the roof off at times; and lovely to hear the beautiful Steinway played so well.

Onward and upwards everybody – Verdi Requiem next – can’t wait!

From your very delighted Chairperson!

On the Eve of Advent

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Do you need an antidote to Black Friday?  

After the frantic buying, the news reports, the arguments over televisions, and general retail frenzy of Black Friday do you feel edgy, worried about getting everything done for Christmas and rather disillusioned with the whole thing?  Before Advent has even dawned do you wonder why we end up with the Season of Goodwill being more like the Season of Retail Madness?

A Winter Night
A Winter Night

On the Eve of Advent Sunday venture out into the winter night.  Leave the twinkling and glitter of Strictly, the adverts for turkey, iPads and toys that will be broken by Boxing Day.  Brave the cold and the damp;  make your way to St Marychurch Parish Church in Torquay.

Listen to the beginning of the Christmas Story – Mary’s song of joy, wonder and thanks for the impending and miraculous birth of a child.  Whether you believe or not, music weaves a magic that calms and restores the spirit, and the experience of hearing it, living, rising and falling, reverberating through the great space of St Marychurch will be a calming antidote to all the hustle and bustle.

Bach and Vivaldi both celebrated Mary’s song of joy with their versions of the Magnificat and the South Devon Choir will sing both of them on Saturday 28th November, together with the uplifting and well-known Vivaldi Gloria.  The Choir will accompany soloists Melanie Hoadley, Rebecca Smith, Sarah Farleigh and Daniel Hoadley.  The Choir and soloists will be conducted by John Hobbs, who will also sing a solo part.  The organist is Christopher Sears, Head of Music at Torquay Boys Grammar School.

Tickets are will be available online until Friday and are also be available on the door on Saturday night – £12, under age 19 free.

To buy tickets online click here.  For further information click here

Picture credit

In celebration of the life of Brian Armstrong (1945-2015)

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Our next concert, Magnificat & Gloria, celebrates the life of one of our popular Choir members Ronald Brian Armstrong (usually known as Brian) who died recently.

Brian very kindly left a legacy to the Choir and his request was that we perform the Vivaldi ‘Gloria’, his favourite choral piece.  Such was his love of this music that, despite being very ill and wheelchair-bound, he was spotted at a local choral workshop and performance of the ‘Gloria’ simply to participate and enjoy the wonderful music.  We shall miss him greatly.  If you would like to join us in celebrating his life, tickets can be obtained here

 

Brian Armstrong
Brian Armstrong

His Life

Although Brian only lived in Scotland until he was 18, he considered himself ‘Absolutely Scottish’. Born to Scottish parents, Hugh and Cathy, he grew up in Glasgow with 3 brothers, Blair, Kenneth and Michael.

After a ‘gap’ year with his best friend , Geoff,  in 60s London, working at St Stephens Hospital and pulling pints on the Kings Road, Brian decided to be a teacher.

He switched from the science subjects of his Highers and focused on history and drama. Later he earned degrees in educational leadership and in TEFL. He taught in Denmark for a year and learned passable Danish. After that he took up his first post in Saudi Arabia teaching English and for 9 years taught in secondary and intermediate  schools. He also taught in an adult education programme at the University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran. He was then recruited to teach at the university (later to be known as King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals). Several times he was ‘Teacher of the Year’,  known as Mr Brian throughout the Eastern Province ! He continued  to teach there as a valued member of English Language Centre until 2012 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Brian was passionate about everything he did. As well as his passion for the English language he played rugby, tennis, squash very  competitively and swam with great determination until the last stages of his illness. Poetry and music were pastimes which he always enjoyed and Brian was in choirs throughout his life. He had a particular love of choral music.

Brian was married to Marjorie for 30 years and is survived by their three sons, John, David and Mark and three grandchildren, Monty, Maple and Marigold in Canada.