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,
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
Tim Mirfin – Bass
We are very happy to welcome Tim Mirfin back to sing with us once more in our Rossini and Puccini concert on 21 April at Central Church, Torquay #sdevonchoirconcert
As a full time opera singer, Tim has sung in all major European countries, Australia, the US, Russia and the Middle East. He has performed major roles by Mozart, Handel, Britten, Puccini, Verdi and many others.
Opera companies he has worked with include Hamburg State Opera, Theater an der Wien, Frankfurt Opera, Lyon Opera, Welsh National Opera, Opera North, Scottish Opera, Holland Park Opera and The Bolshoi, Moscow.
He has a wide, varied concert repertoire ranging from the Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart and Verdi standards to rarities and premières. He has given concerts in the Vienna Musikverein, Amsterdam’s Conzert-gebouw, Melbourne Town Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Wigmore Hall, Usher Hall, Edinburgh (for the Festival) and various cathedrals and churches throughout the UK.
Tim has worked with a range of conductors including Sir Colin Davis, Sir John Elliot Gardiner, Sir Andrew Davis, Sir Donald Runnicles, Martyn Brabbins, Edward Gardner, Robin Ticciati.
He read Law at Cambridge, studying postgraduate singing at the Royal Academy of Music and the National Opera Studio.
Join us and hear Tim sing. Tickets are available online, from choir members and on the door.
Rebecca Smith – Second Soprano
We are also very pleased to welcome one of our regular soloists, Rebecca Smith, who will be singing in our Rossini & Puccini concert on Saturday 21 April at Central Church, Torquay. #sdevonchoirconcert
Hannah graduated from Trinity College of Music where she won many prizes and awards including the Morag Noble Scholarship for further study, Wilfred Greenhouse Prize for Oratorio and Cantata Singing, and the English Song Prize.
Since moving to Devon Rebecca teaches privately and adjudicates in competitions, as well as continuing to perform.
Operatic roles vary from Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, to Jocaste in Oedipus Rex, Stravinsky, and The Traveller in the premier of the opera, Victory over the Sun by Jeremy Arden performed at the Barbican.
She was a member of Glyndebourne Festival Chorus and Touring Opera for several seasons, touring also to Paris.
She has sung at the Purcell Room, London with the Company of Singers and Players to critical acclaim, at the Festival Hall, at several BBC Promenade concerts at the Albert Hall, and other venues such as the British Embassy, Brussels, St George’s, the Wigmore Hall, Hanover Square, St Martin-in-the-Fields, and Exeter and Truro Cathedrals.
Future engagements include performances of Handel’s Messiah, Stabat Mater by Roger Bosustow, Mozart Requiem, several performances of Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle and Schumann Frauen-Liebe und Leben.
Tickets are available online, from choir members and on the door.
Hannah Sawle – First Soprano
Performing in our Rossini and Puccini concert on Saturday 21 April at Central Church, Torquay #sdevonchoirconcert we are pleased to welcome soprano soloist Hannah Sawle.
Hannah studied at Chethams School of Music, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and on the English National Opera’s Opera Works Course. She is currently studying with Janice Chapman. Whilst at the Guildhall School of Music she won awards for her English and Contemporary Song and she has been guest soloist on BBC World Service, Radio 3 and Radio 4.
Recent roles include covering Ismene (Mitridate Re di Ponto) for the Royal Opera, Queen of the Night for Charles Court Opera and the title role in Lakme for Swansea City Opera. Other roles include Adina and Gianetta (L’elisir d’amore), Fiordiligi (Cosi fan tutte), Queen of the Night, Papagena and second boy (Die Zauberflote), Elletra (Idomeneo), Nedda (I pagliacci), Serpetta (la finta Giardiniera), Frasquita and Micaela (Carmen), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Mademoiselle Silberklang (The Impresario), Diana (Orpheus in the Underworld), Lena (la Princess Jaune), Slim Girl (A Village Romeo and Juliet), Lady Dunmow (A Dinner Engagement), Tsarevna (Kashei the Im-mortal) and Trio Soprano (Trouble in Tahiti).
Hannah has sung with South Devon Choir in the past and we are very much looking forward to hearing her sing again.
Tickets are available online, from choir members and on the door.