On Saturday 9th of September singers from Colchester Chamber Choir will race between churches and perform in as many as possible. The venture is part of the wider ‘Ride and Stride’ fund-raising event and money raised through sponsorship will be split equally between Suffolk Historic Churches Trust, which makes grants to historic churches, chapels and meeting houses of all denominations and Colchester Chamber Choir which will use the sponsorship funds to help support young singers and musicians at the start of their careers.

1. St Pancras, Orwell Place IP4 1BD
2. 7th Day Adventist, IP4 1ND
3. St Clements, Star Lane IP4 1JZ
4. St Mary’s at the Quay, Key Street IP4 1BZ
5. St Peter’s Church, College Street IP1 1XF
6. St Nicholas Church, Cutler Street IP1 1UQ
7. Unitarian Meeting House, Friar Street IP1 1TD
8. St Mary at the Elms, Elm Street IP1 2AA
9. Museum Street, Methodist Street IP1 2EF
10. St Stephens Church, St Stephens Church Lane IP1 1DP
11. St Lawrence’s Church, Dial Lane IP1 1DJ
12. St Mary le Tower, Tower Street IP1 3BE
13. St Margaret’s Church, Bolton Street IP4 2BT
12 noon
14. Quaker Meeting House, 39 Fonnereau Road IP1 3JH

15. St Nicholas IP8 3NH

16. Hadleigh Row Chapel IP7 5BT
17. Angel Street RC IP7 5DB
18. Market Place United Reform IP7 5DL
19. Duke Street SA IP7 5DP
20. St Mary IP7 5DT

21. St Mary CO10 5DU

22. All Saints CO10 0QP

23. St Peters CO10 2EH
24. Friar St SOF CO10 2AA
25. Church Street Baptist CO10 2BJ
26. School Street United Reform
27. Living Waters Fellowship CO10 1AZ
28. St Gregory CO10 1BA
29. All Saints CO10 6BL
30. Our Lady & St Johns RC CO10 1HW

31. St Mary’s CO8 5AA

Simple Gifts

Music from America for choir and piano
by Copland, Carter, Barber, Thomson
Sunday November 26th 6pm
The Moot Hall, Colchester
tickets on sale soon
for more information email

A Musical Bestiary

Songs about the animal kingdom from England, France, Germany and Italy

Stabat Mater

Our next concert on Saturday 19th March at St Teresa’s church in Colchester takes us back to Renaissance and Baroque Italy, with a programme of seasonal Passiontide music. The main work is Leonardo Leo’s double choir Miserere – a fascinating work with organ and bass continuo, much admired by both Verdi and Wagner and which eclipsed Allegri’s famous setting holding sway in Italy for over a hundred years. Also in the programme will be three wonderful settings of the Crucifixus by the Venetian Lotti, three of Gesualdo’s amazing Tenebrae Responsaries from the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday sets and Palestrina’s great double choir Stabat Mater, written for the Papal Julian chapel.

Seasons Greetings

Seasons Greetings! Thank-you for your support in 2015 and we look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

Heritage Open Day September 2015

We launched our autumn 2015 season with an open rehearsal
and four short performances in Colchester town centre on
Saturday 12th September as part of Heritage Days 2015, when more than 30 venues were open to the public.

We started with an hour-long ‘open rehearsal’ in the foyer at the Firstsite gallery, followed by short recitals there, at The Minories gallery, the Castle Museum and finally at Holy Trinity Church. Some listeners were so entranced that they followed the choir from venue to venue and several commented that they were pleased to have been introduced to the choir this way.

And the choir enjoyed it too!

Choral Steeplechase September 2014

£2,500 RAISED

We sang in 28 churches, had a wonderful time and raised money, half of which we have donated to the Friends of Essex Churches Trust for the restoration of historic churches, and half of which is being devoted to the support of young musicians.

Emile Naoumoff

Emile Naoumoff has been likened to both Vladimir Horowitz and Arthur Rubinstein as a pianist, displaying — as one critic remarked — the fire of the former and the poetry of the latter. He was also signed as a composer at age 18 — the youngest on their roster — with the music publisher Schott, Mainz. Emile revealed himself as a musical prodigy at age five, taking up the piano and adding composition to his studies a year later. At the age of seven, after a fateful meeting in Paris, he became the last disciple of Nadia Boulanger, who referred to him as “The gift of my old age”. He studied with her until her death in late 1979. During this auspicious apprenticeship, Mlle. Boulanger gave him the opportunity to work with Clifford Curzon, Igor Markevitch, Robert and Gaby Casadesus, Nikita Magaloff, Jean Francaix, Leonard Bernstein, Soulima Stravinsky, Aram Khachaturian and Yehudi Menhuin. Lord Menhuin conducted the premiere of Emile’s first piano concerto, with the composer as a soloist when he was ten years old. At the same time, he pursued studies at the Paris Conservatory with Lelia Gousseau, Pierre Sancan, Genevieve Joy-Dutilleux, as well as at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris with Pierre Dervaux (conducting). Continue reading

Blow the Trumpet

With now less than a month to our concert in St. Edmundsbury Cathedral I thought it might be worth writing a little about our programme.
As the 22nd of November is St. Cecilia’s Day we thought it appropriate to celebrate the Patron Saint of Music with ‘music that celebrates music’. The programme will start with Lassus’ stunning 6 part Musica dei Donum, a piece written in praise of music and its ability to calm the senses. This will lead into a blazing processional piece for choir, brass and organ by the Belgian composer Flor Peeters, Entrata Festiva. Peeters wrote much music in particular for the organ and his style fuses earlier baroque and even renaissance techniques into a tonal 20th century musical language. A second work by Peeters, Canticum Gaudii, written for the same forces will end the concert. There then follow two pieces by the English renaissance composer, Peter Philips, proper to the feast of St. Cecilia. Cantantibus Organis is probably his best known work but the magnificent 8 part Cecilia Virgo (reminiscent of Gabrieli) has only been revived in recent years. The first part of the concert will end with the British première of Emile Naoumoff’s Concerto Sacré. This piece is essentially a concerto for piano and choir. The composer uses the words of the Latin Mass but in no way is this a liturgical piece. For example the Sanctus movement is placed after the Gloria and before the Credo to create a palindromic structure of short-long-short-long-short movements with the Sanctus at its centre. Naoumoff creates some wonderful effects – bells and cascades of shimmering notes in the piano part, chanting and organum in the choral writing. There are passages of meditative introspection and exuberant, even ecstatic, outpourings of praise.
The second half of the concert will begin with one of Giovanni Gabrieli’s Canzonas for brass in four parts, which will lead into his mighty 19 part motet Buccinate which exhorts us to ‘Blow the trumpet’ and to praise God with strings, organ, drums and voices. The major work in the second half is Kodaly last work Laudes Organi. Written in 1966 this work praises the organ and the choir that sings with it. In its turn, it is a concerto for organ and choir.

I am sure you will enjoy all the music which is dramatic, emotional and yet very accessible. We look forward to seeing you there.
Roderick Earle