We are delighted to be returning to the beautiful church of St Peter ad Vincula in January for an atmospheric candle lit concert Rachmaninoff Vespers.
Many thanks to everyone who supported our Choral Steeplechase. Our final total was £2415. We surpassed our 2014 tally by singing in 33 churches in Ipswich, Hintelsham, Boxstead, Hadleigh, Newton Green, Sudbury and Bures ending up in the wonderful St Stephen’s Chapel. We started at 10am and sang through the day until 6pm performing a short unaccompanied work in each church before racing on to the next steeple. It was hard work but enormous fun and we hope that the visitors to all the churches enjoyed our short performances. We certainly enjoyed singing! All money raised will be divided between the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust and the choir’s Choral Apprenticeship scheme for young singers, as well as helping to fund young players for forthcoming programmes.
Our ‘Choral Steeplechase’ is part of the annual Ride & Stride event which raises many thousands of pounds for the repair and upkeep of historic churches.
Jazz guitarist Chris Allard has an international reputation, having performed at many prestigious venues and festivals, including the Royal Festival Hall, Montreux Jazz Festival, The O2 Arena in London, Duoro Jazz Festival in Portugal, BBC Proms in Hyde Park and the Royal Albert Hall. He has worked and recorded with major names including Jacqui Dankworth, Charlie Wood, the BBC Big Band, Alison Balsom and Jamie Cullum. Chris also leads his own band, which has appeared all over the UK and Europe, including at Ronnie Scott’s club and the International Guitar Festival as well as in the US. Chris’s fourth album Invisible Landscape was released in 2016 and has received excellent reviews for ‘impeccable performances, and a distinctive melodic gift’. It received four stars from Guitarist magazine and Jazz Views said: ‘A non-clichéed linear improviser of great originality and talent…an excellent recording of modern music full of variety, intensity and interest.’
Colchester Chamber Choir wishes you a very Happy Christmas
and a peaceful New Year.
We look forward to seeing you in 2015. Our next programme When David heard … music for a lost prince will be on 18 April at St Teresa’s Church in Colchester – another stunning programme this time of wonderful sixteenth century English music written to mark the untimely death of the popular Prince Henry, eldest son of James I in 1612. Watch out also for a programme of recitals in June featuring gardens; more details to be confirmed soon.
2014 has included some exciting ‘firsts’ for us, including a hugely enjoyable day launching ‘Choral Steeplechase’ our very own fund raising event launched in conjunction with the Friends of Essex Churches ‘Ride & Stride’, singing in 29 churches in one day. We raised over £2,500. On November 22 we gave the UK première of Emile Naoumoff’s Concerto Sacré as part of our Blow the Trumpet concert in St Edmundsbury Cathedral. We were hugely honoured to have Prof Naoumoff travel all the way from Bloomington, Indiana to give us his support and to attend the performance.
We hope you will be able to join us to enjoy more beautiful music in 2015.
EXPLORING THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GREAT ROMANTICS
Colchester Chamber Choir is returning to home territory next month (Saturday 22nd March), after a nearly sold-out performance of Monteverdi Vespers at St Edmundsbury Cathedral in the autumn. We’re now moving forward several centuries to perform works by five great Romantic composers: Rossini, Verdi, Puccini, Bruckner and Liszt. But the programme will not be what you would necessarily expect.
Rossini, Verdi, and Puccini are best known for their sumptuous Italian operas, but the composers of The Barber of Seville, La Traviata and La Bohème also wrote a handful of wonderful small scale sacred works, works of intense emotion, expression and drama which are rarely performed. I think you will be surprised and delighted to discover the deeper, more contemplative side of these great composers.
Liszt was possibly greatest virtuoso pianist of all time, a prodigy and superstar who loved women and was lionised by society. But he spent time towards the end of his life in Rome as a religious recluse and it was during this period of contemplation that he wrote the beautiful Missa Choralis which forms the centrepiece of the concert.
Bruckner is also best known for his expansive symphonies, but his small scale sacred works are also much loved by the choir and for this concert we are adding to our repertoire two more remarkable pieces: Virga Jessa and Vexilla Regis.
My name’s Tom, and I’m currently studying for A-Levels at Colchester Royal Grammar School. I first heard about the Chamber Choir from Joe; we study together at CRGS, and he happens to be the conductor of the school’s Big Band, which I play drums for! I have rather varied musical interests: as well as choral singing, I also sing lead vocals for local pop-punk band, Everyday Breakdown – and I play the clarinet! Musical theatre is my other passion; at CRGS, I’ve played Bela Zangler in Crazy for You, and Javert in last year’s production of Les Miserables. Outside school, I’m a member of local musical theatre school Theatre Fun, and recently played the role of Billy Flynn in Chicago. I’ve found singing in Colchester Chamber Choir to be an inspiring experience; the repertoire is great and varied, and the other choir members are very friendly and welcoming. Musically, it is challenging, but I think I’ve grown as a performer, and as a singer – my range is definitely higher than it used to be! In the future, I am planning to study Music at university, with the aim of becoming a professional singer.