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.
Joyous Christmas Singing
Mobile phone technology being what it is now, a member of our audience has supplied us with this recording of the last part of Cecelia McDowall’s lovely Christmas Cantata, “Christus Natus Est!” We hope it will enjoyed once again by those who attended the concert and for the first time by those who didn’t.
Happy Christmas, to one and all.
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.
In the third of our introductions we turn our attention to the bass soloist in the Coast to Coast Choir’s 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.
Singing the bass soloist’s part for us is Darren Jeffery. If, like most of us, you wish you could attend the BBC Proms but trying to get hold of tickets, travel and somewhere to stay makes such a trip out of reach you will be pleased to know that, not only can you hear a work that is being performed at the Proms this year but also, a performer who has sung a major roles at the Proms including performing in Elijah in 2003.
Here’s a taste of his voice like the finest, darkest chocolate. Listen as Darren sings “Abendlich strahlt der Sonne Auge” from Das Rheingold by Richard Wagner and let it whet your appetite for his performances in the dramatic Messe da Requiem by Giuseppe Verdi.
Darren has had a varied and successful professional career. He was born in Fordham, Cambridgeshire and attended The King’s School, Ely. He then studied as both an undergraduate and graduate student at the Royal Northern College of Music from 1995 to 2001. During that time he won the RNCM’s highest student award, the Curtis Gold Medal. He sang in the chorus of Glyndebourne Festival Opera while still a post-graduate student as well as singing the title role in the college’s 2001 production of Verdi’s Falstaff. On completion of his studies in Manchester, he joined The Royal Opera’s Young Artists Programme in its founding year.
Jeffery made his professional debut as a principal artist as Sciarrone in Puccini’s Tosca at the Royal Opera House in 2002. He subsequently appeared with the company in several more roles, including Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Monterone in Rigoletto, and Masetto in Don Giovanni. He went on to an international career, appearing on the stages of many European opera houses and festivals. In 2008 he was a finalist in the Seattle International Wagner Competition and in 2013 made his US debut as Kothner in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg. His work as a soloist in oratorio and concert includes Elijah, Le Rossignol, Le Troyens, The Seven Last Words of Christ, Peter Grimes, and most recently a concert performance of the Glyndebourne production of Billy Budd.
Among Darren’s several appearances at the BBC Proms was Elijah in 2003.
We look forward to welcoming him to Torquay and Barnstaple and hearing him sing.