choir

Cheryl Brendish sings Opera Classics

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Soprano Soloist – Cheryl Brendish

Cheryl Brendish
Cheryl Brendish

We are pleased to welcome, once again,  the talented, vivacious and well-known West Country soprano soloist, Cheryl Brendish, to perform with us and for us in our summer concert #sdcopera, Opera Classics.

English-born soprano Cheryl,is known for her ability to combine beautiful lyrical singing with real stage presence and theatrical ability.  Based in Cornwall, Cheryl regularly performs throughout the South West in recitals, concerts, guest appearances and on the operatic stage.

Cheryl sings with the Duchy Opera Company and she and John Hobbs, our Musical Director, have sung together many times in the past.  More recently she sang with John Hobbs and Melanie Hoadley at Trevince, near Redruth in Cornwall in the drawing room, no less, for an intimate opera performance.

Cheryl has performed with South Devon Choir in two summer concerts in the last few years.  She gave a spirited, amusing and poignant performance in our last opera-based concert and more recently was one of the four soloists in Verdi’s Requiem with a large, combined choir made up from South Devon Choir, North Devon Choral Society and Bude Choral Society.

We look forward with eager anticipation to welcoming her back to Torbay this summer.

Tickets are available online and on the door – £12 (cash only) Under 19s free of charge.

For online bookings click HERE

#sdcopera

 

 

 

John Hobbs sings Opera Classic

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Conductor sings in his own concert

John Hobbs

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

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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.

#sdevonchoirconcert

To buy tickets now please use our secure online booking system


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St Nicolas Concert Soloist

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Elinor Chapman

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.

#sdevonchoirconcert

To buy tickets now please use our secure online booking system


Book now

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.

Handel and his Messiah

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Handel
Handel

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!

#sdchoirchristmas

Got a Handel on it now?

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Chorally Confused gets a handle on Handel
Chorally Confused

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.

#sdchoirchristmas #sdcchristmas

 

 

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

The Verdi Soloists – Cheryl Brendish

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Cheryl Brendish
Cheryl Brendish

In the fourth of our soloist introductions the Coast to Coast Choir has pleasure in introducing the soprano singing the mezzo soprano role in the combined choirs performance of Verdi’s famous Messe da Requiem to be performed at 7.30pm on Saturday 2nd July 2016 in the Assembly Rooms, Torquay Town Hall.  Tickets for the Torquay performance can be obtained through this website – for further details click here 

If you are unable to come to Torquay then the performance takes place again in the Pannier Market, Barnstaple on Sunday 3rd July starting at 3pm.

The soprano singing the mezzo soprano role is the effervescent and versatile Cheryl Brendish.  As you will see from her resume below she has had a varied career and we have discovered it started at the very young age of seven when she won her class at the Mansfield Music Festival singing Where the Bee Sucks.  Regrettably there is no recording of that occasion available on the internet, nor indeed have we been able to find a clip of Cheryl singing so you will have to content yourselves with listening to the Liber Scriptus performed by Violeta Urmana and know that you will have the pleasure of hearing Cheryl sing this beautiful solo when you come along to the concert.

We understand that Cheryl enjoys an active career as an operatic and concert performer. She studied voice for many years and her operatic roles include Thirza The Wreckers, a role which had not been performed on stage for 100 years, directed by David Sulkin; Suzuki Madame Butterfly; First Lady Magic Flute; Zerlina Don Giovanni; Dido in Dido & Aeneas and many more.

Cheryl is also a successful concert artist. In 1985 she performed Mozart’s Mass in C Minor with Sir Simon Rattle and the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Alan Opie in 2005. Other concert repertoire highlights include Verdi Requiem, Mozart Requiem, Handel Messiah, Bach Christmas Oratorio, Bach Magnificat, Elgar The Kingdom and Charpentier’s Te Deum.

Cheryl has been the guest soloist with the Mount Charles Band at the The Minack Theatre for the past 9 years for ‘Last Night of the Proms’.

Cheryl has been invited to attend many masterclasses, including on 1982 with John Carol-Case and most recently with Ingrid Surgenor, Mollie Petrie, Richard Jackson, Russel Smyth, Peter Harrison and Neil and Penny Jenkin.

A member of Cantamus from 1978 to 1983, Cheryl studied in London before joining the Victoria State Opera, Melbourne. Cheryl moved to Cornwall in 1997 and won the title of Cornwall’s Vocal Champion in 2000. Cheryl performs many solo recitals both in and out of the county; along with Kay Deeming and Paul Drayton, Cheryl formed the trio ‘Col Canto’ in 2005.

The past few years have been challenging and exciting for Cheryl as her voice has blossomed into a full lyrical soprano, which has opened up a whole new repertoire of heroines to be portrayed. Cheryl continues to produce and develop her ‘Opera Cabaret’, where she performs a variety of genres from jazz to swing and cabaret classics all mixed with storytelling and torch songs; with invited musicians from across the south west.

 

Practice makes perfect

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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.