Our choir sing at Exeter Cathedral
Members of South Devon Choir were thrilled to be invited to perform at Exeter Cathedral for this year’s Festival of Remembrance, organised by the Royal British Legion, Devon.
The festival included a short concert featuring the choir as well as music by service bands, followed by the traditional Act of Remembrance and a procession of the many flags and standards of the British Legion, service associations and cadets.
“We were delighted to be able to take part in this important commemoratioin of the servoce and sadly the sacrifice of the many people who have taken part in past battles”, said Jill Stevens, Chair of the choir.
“The opportunity to perform in our county’s cathedral does not come very often. And this year’s event was particularly moving, as it was the 40th anniversary of the Falklands war.”
The choir sang a mixture of classical choral items by Faure, Mozart and Handel – many of them items already in rehearsal for their coming concert, Crown & Glory, being performed at St Matthias’ Church, Torquay on 26 November.
Jill said, “We were so pleased that we had a number of suitable pieces already prepared, such as the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ and ‘Zadok the Priest’ – and then, to sing them in that wonderfuf setting, with its fabulous organ and acoustics, was the icing on the cake!”
The choir is continuing to rehearse for their concert on 26 November, when they will be singing Mozart’s ‘Coronation Mass’ and some of Handel’s most loved choruses and arias, with professisonal soloists and a full orchestra.
Details of the concert and how to buy tickets can be found here.
A Ceremony of Psalms Workshop
A busy day of singing with composer, Paul Drayton, who taught us, coaxed us and drilled us in how to sing his beautiful and dramatic work, A Ceremony of Psalms, accompanied by Simon Dunbavand on the organ. A day full of amusement and lots of concentration on rhythm, articulation and dynamics.
Simon was taking notes as well as playing them.
Our choir mascot, Timmy, enjoyed the day and the music. See those musical ears?
To hear the work please come to our concert on 21 May 2022 at St Matthias Church, Babbacombe Road, Torquay. Tickets are now available from this link
John Hobbs sings Opera Classic
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.
St Nicolas-Julian Rippon
Julian Rippon – Bass
Julian Rippon treats us to the well-known solo ‘Mighty Lord’ by Bach from his famous ‘Christmas Oratorio’ in our forthcoming concert on Saturday 25 November at St Matthias’ Church, Wellswood, Torquay. In addition, he will perform in the beautiful Bach Cantata, ‘Sleepers, Wake!’ together with Elinor Chapman and Nick Hawker.
Julian is in constant demand as a soloist around the South West, performing in a wide range of choral and operatic works with many of the foremost groups in the region. He is also a full-time member of Exeter Cathedral Choir.
Julian began his singing career as a boy chorister with St Paul’s Cathedral Choir, and continued to sing regularly while an Engineering
undergraduate at Cambridge
University. He moved to Japan in 1990, and later to Shanghai,
returning to the UK in 2007. While in the Far East Julian appeared
frequently as soloist, both on the stage and in the concert hall.
His solo repertoire includes Monteverdi Vespers, Handel Messiah and Judas Maccabeus, J.S. Bach B
Minor Mass, St John Passion, St Matthew Passion and Christmas Oratorio, Mozart Requiem, Beet-hoven Symphony No. 9, Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle, Mendelssohn Elijah, Verdi Requiem, Brahms German Requiem, Stainer Crucifixion, Fauré Requiem, Mahler
Symphony No. 8, Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony and Fantasia on Christmas Carols, Carl Orff
Carmina Burana, Duruflé
Requiem, Britten War Requiem and Howard Goodall Requiem.
Julian recently performed in Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony and Britten’s War Requiem, and has a busy round of concerts leading up to Christmas, including Handel Messiah, Bach Magnificat, and Durulflé Requiem. He has also been invited to perform
Mahler’s ‘Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen’ (‘Songs of a Wayfarer’) in Sidmouth next spring.
To hear Julian join us on Saturday 25 November at the earlier time of 7pm.
Tickets are available priced £12 for the concert with a separate ticket of £4.00 for the finger buffet. As usual children and students under 19 are welcome to the concert free of charge but will require a finger buffet ticket at £4.00. Tickets can be obtained from Choir Members and online and of course, on the door. Please note that because we have to cater we are asking people to book tickets no later than Saturday 18 November. There may possibly be extra buffet tickets available on the night but first come, first served as they say.
To buy tickets now please use our secure online booking system
St Nicolas Concert Soloist
Our soprano soloist for our concert on 25 November at St Matthias’ Church, Wellswood, Torquay is the sublime singer, Elinor Chapman.
Elinor graduated with a degree in Law with French before taking a post-graduate diploma in performance and vocal studies at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Since then she has performed many operatic roles including Despina (Cosi), Oscar (Ballo in Maschera),
Adele (Fledermaus), Mercedes (Carmen) and Blonde (Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail) for
companies including Kentish Opera and Unexpected Opera. For Duchy Opera Elinor has played Malwina in Marschner’s The Vampire and Adina in Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love.
She has twice toured as a soloist with the Kent Sinfonia to China and has given concerts and recitals as far afield as New Zealand.
Oratorio work includes Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Judas Maccabbeus, Haydn’s The Seasons, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate and Faure’s Requiem. Future engagements include Mozart’s Requiem, Haydn’s Little Organ Mass and Handel’s L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato.
To hear Elinor perform in Bach’s ‘Sleepers, Wake!’ and ‘Let the Bright Seraphim’ from Handel’s Samson Oratorio join us on Saturday 25 November at the earlier time of 7pm.
Tickets are available priced £12 for the concert with a separate ticket of £4.00 for the finger buffet. As usual children and students under 19 are welcome to the concert free of charge but will require a finger buffet ticket at £4.00. Tickets can be obtained from Choir Members, online and of course on the door. Please note that because we have to cater we are asking people to book tickets no later than Saturday 18 November. There may possibly be extra buffet tickets available on the night but first come, first served as they say.
To buy tickets now please use our secure online booking system
Handel and his Messiah
Handel was born in Saxony in 1685, the same year that J.S. Bach was born in Thuringia, though the two were destined never to meet. Whereas Bach remained in North Germany for the whole of his life, writing a vast amount of choral and instrumental music for his church and court employers, Handel travelled widely, unencumbered with family responsibilities, first to Italy, where he learned the art of opera and adopted the Italian style of writing which coloured his sub-sequent compositions.
On his return, he became Director of Music to the Elector of Hanover, but soon left for England, where he immersed himself in the flourishing operatic scene. His former employer followed him to London in 1714, where he was crowned King George I. It was for him that Handel wrote his famous ‘Water Music’ in 1717.
Handel now moved in the highest circles, becoming Musical Director to the Duke of Chandos and travelling abroad to engage singers for his fourteen new operas. In 1727 he wrote four anthems for the coronation of George II, including ‘Zadok the Priest’, which has been sung at every British coronation since then.
The popularity of Italian-style operas began to wane in England and Handel, somewhat unwillingly, turned his attention to the composition of dramatic oratorios, which proved immensely popular with the English public, thereby sustaining him through the ill-health and eventual blindness which blighted his later years. He died at the age of 74 and was buried with great honour in Westminster Abbey. Beethoven later said of him, “Go and learn of him how to achieve great effects with simple means”; and Haydn, hearing the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ in Westminster Abbey at the great Handelian Festival of 1791, rose to his feet with the crowd, wept, and exclaimed, “He is the master of us all.”
‘Messiah’, composed between 22nd August and 14th September 1741, with a libretto selected from scriptures by Charles Jennens, was first performed in Dublin on 13th April 1742, since when it has remained at the forefront of the choral repertoire, both at home and abroad.
South Devon Choir will sing Part 1, the Advent/Christmas section of this mighty work on Saturday 10 December 2016 at Central Church, Tor Hill Road, Torquay. The performance starts at 7.30pm and tickets are available on the door at a cost of £12. The Choir will also perform Lo! Star Led Chiefs by Dr Crotch, Christus Natus Est! by the contemporary composer Cecelia McDowall and there will be Christmas carols for all to sing. In addition there will be two special solos from the unfinished oratorio ‘Christus’ by Mendelssohn. With professional soloists and organist Simon Dunbavand and conducted by John Hobbs the evening promises to be full of wonderful harmonies and Christmas spirit.
For further information and online tickets click Hallelujah! It’s Christmas!
Got a Handel on it now?
Chorally Confused has been getting along just fine singing with the South Devon Choir. Despite her relative inexperience and near non-existent music reading skills enthusiasm and determination have paid dividends and when it was announced that the Choir would be singing Part 1 of Handel’s Messiah Chorally Confused thought to herself
“No problem. I’ve heard it so many times, it will be a doddle to learn. After Verdi’s Requiem, how hard can it be?”
At the first practice Chorally Confused discovered that she was the only one, apparently, who had never sung Messiah before. Gasps of amazement at her inexperience were heard – then she noticed that she was not the only one who had put up her hand – others, slowly were admitting that they, too, had never sung this piece before. The conductor smiled cheerily and the rehearsal started.
It’s funny how, no matter how many times you may, or may not, have sung a piece of music there is always something new to be discovered, or some passage that you never sang quite correctly. For Chorally Confused it has been a whole new experience – how to sing something correctly when you have only heard it sung before and how to pack an awful lot of notes into a very short space of time. When asked what she thought of it after the first rehearsal she was heard to observe, “I think Handel must have been in a hurry when he wrote this and he didn’t have to try singing it himself.” Well, she was right in her first observation – the whole work was written in a matter of three to four weeks, so perhaps Handel was in a hurry.
Chorally Confused has also been observed wandering round muttering to herself. We discovered that this was not muttering but her practising the long runs of notes as suggested – pa-pa-pa-pa.
Providing she, and the rest of the Choir, remember to sing the words, this will have been a very helpful exercise.
By last week’s rehearsal Chorally Confused admitted that she “Had a Handel on it, thanks”. We are pleased for her.
If you would like to come along and hear the Choir sing on Saturday 10 December at 7.30pm at Central Church, Torquay , and of course hear if Chorally Confused really has got a handle on the notes and necessarily in the right order, then you can buy tickets online https://southdevonchoir.org/hallelujah-its-christmas/ or on the door. Tickets cost £12 (please note a booking fee applies online). Alternatively you can check out our Tickets page for further information.
Please do come.