We were delighted to be invited back to St John the Evangelist in Langrish, near Petersfield in Hampshire, to assist with their 150th anniversary celebrations this year. We sang a ‘Mixed Bag’ of a concert on the Saturday (featuring our director hurling a banana at a priest who happened to be in the audience), and a celebratory Eucharist on the Sunday. It was a joyous, moving, and profoundly happy weekend, and we are grateful to all who fed and hosted us, and facilitated the logistical arrangements.
Project #2020 began on February 15th with the first of two identical concerts in Dry Drayton, the second taking place two weeks later in Comberton, near Cambridge. We hugely enjoyed singing a variety of classics both sacred and secular, serious and light, from (mostly) English composers through the ages, and would like to give special thanks to the large audience at Comberton, at whom our director made her banana-throwing début…
Fresh from our Belgium tour we sang two concerts in and around Cambridge in September, entitled ‘Ave Maria’, with similar programmes to those sung in Ghent.
Our thanks to all those who came along to hear the concerts, and generously donated to the churches’ charitable causes. We are also grateful to Rev Alan Partridge and Fr Stephen Anderson for their help in facilitating the events.
In August 2019 we ventured abroad once more for a short tour of Belgium. Our programme consisted of works by 16th-century European composers, in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
After an incredibly smooth and hitch-free journey on the Eurostar, we arrived in Ghent, only to encounter our first problem: where was Tenor 2? After several failed attempts at locating the coffee shop where he had apparently been hiding out since arriving from Munich earlier in the day, we eventually (literally) bumped into each other in the middle of a road and continued our journey to the hostel where we were to spend the next three nights.
The hostel kindly allowed us the use of their conference room for a short rehearsal; once we’d got used to the unnerving presence of the is-it-a-fish-or-is-it-a-giant-worm model we had a productive time and retired feeling positive about the next day’s performances.
Friday saw us sing in two very different venues: St Michael’s Church in the afternoon (see post-concert photo below) and St Paul’s Church in the evening. The latter’s acoustic was simply stunning, and we hugely appreciated the reception laid on by the not insignificant audience, who in turn appreciated our director’s attempts at speaking Dutch, and even laughed at a joke or two. A late-night trip out for a quick meal saw Tenor 2 experience the delights of McDonald’s for the first time (he eventually triumphed over the electronic ordering system [despite its attempts to eat him], although not without some lasting trauma), and Tenor 1 let loose in Ghent as he didn’t fancy the tram.
On Saturday we enjoyed a boat-trip in the morning (complete with collapsing umbrellas), and visited St Bavo’s Cathedral for our third and final performance, before enjoying the rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure. There was great excitement at the prospect of a visit to a ‘cat café’, but we opted for waffles and sight-seeing instead before regrouping for a final meal prior to our departure the next morning.
Thanks must go to Rayburn Tours for organising such a hassle-free trip, and to our director Louisa Denby (who in turn would like to thank all those who sang).
Sunday 7th April, 8pm St Mark’s Church, Barton Road, Cambridge
We were delighted to have the opportunity once again to work with the fabulous Sarah Tenant-Flowers for this performance of the Victoria Requiem, interspersed with readings from T S Eliot, narrated by Andrew Watts, who has read for us on previous occasions. It was an intense weekend, with rehearsals all day on the Saturday, and then again on Sunday afternoon (with a brief pause to watch the Boat Race, of course), followed by the concert. Our thanks to everyone who came to hear it.
In December 2018 we returned to Pembrokeshire to sing services in St Davids Cathedral and to give a special New Year’s Eve concert in our beloved Trefin Chapel. It was a truly magical time and we are hugely grateful to everyone who packed out both the cathedral and the concert.
We were delighted to be asked by Priory Records and our patron Jonathan Willcocks to make a CD recording of a number of his works. We were joined by Southern Pro Musica, with whom we have worked on numerous occasions, and soloists Gareth Brynmor John and Josephine Goddard, for an intense two-and-a-half days, in the beautiful surroundings of Downing Chapel, Cambridge.
The CD should be available from December 2018 – just in time for Christmas!
Sunday 5th August 2018, 3pm St Andrew’s Church, Hurstbourne Priors, near Winchester
By popular request we returned to the delightful village of Hurstbourne Priors, in Hampshire, for a tea-time concert, this time featuring a set of madrigals from the richest repertoire of 16th-century England. It was lovely to have the church so full and to see so many familiar faces in the audience.
Saturday 10th February 2018, 7.30pm St Peter’s Church, Petersfield
Purcell Motets Handel Organ Concerto Op. 4 No. 1 in G minor Chilcott My Prayer Handel Dixit Dominus
Southern Pro Musica Conductor Jonathan Willcocks Organ Luke Fitzgerald Soloists Carys Brown, Louisa Dawes, David Lewis
It was an absolute joy to perform such great music in the wonderful candle-lit setting of St Peter’s Church, where we have sung so many times before. Fortunately the weather didn’t discourage our sell-out audience, and the whole atmosphere made for a very special evening indeed.