We will be performing there tonight
Getting used to the the 3pm starts now. It’s nice to have the morning to just chill out and relax before the afternoon and evening committments. Today we had an open rehearsal and so members of a local retirement home enjoyed coming in to listen to us being put through our paces by Dr Darlington. It’s an interesting experience having an open rehearsal because it needs to run as ‘normal’ as possible even though there’s a slight performance element to it. Still, a valuable experience and it highlighted the things that needed a bit more work. A few rusty moments but ones that we felt would be sorted out come concert time.
For dinner, spaghetti and meatballs were carefully eaten by the boys so as to not colour in their lovely white shirts! No disasters so matron, aka choir mum, was happy!
We began the programme with Lassus’ De Profundis. Then Mr Driskill-Smith played the Fantasia in G minor BWV542. He played this difficult piece beautifully on a particularly awkard organ, as only Clive can! This was followed by the Kyrie “le Roy” by Taverner and Ave Maria by Parsons. Clive then completed his performance with the corresponding Fugue. It was a sublime performance. The first half was rounded off with the ‘fan favourite’, Allegri’s Miserere.
After the drinks break we began with something entirely different: Maxwell Davies wrote Jesus Autem Hodie in 1962 and it depicts the baptism of Christ in a mesmerising way. The ‘other’ Tavener wrote the Orthodox Mass, from which our next piece came, for Christ Church. The Lord’s Prayer is a haunting setting of this text. To close off this bracket we sang The Lord Is My Shepherd by Berkeley. This featured our fantastic treble soloist, Jonny Laxton, who gave a great performance. Michael Heighway then played his Buxtehude before we sang our final bracket of Britten’s Te Deum in C, Goodall’s Veni Sancte Spiritus and Walton’s Jubilate, which was an exciting way to finish the concert. The audience gave us another standing ovation and it was nice to speak to some of them afterwards.
Tomorrow’s a travel day with a seven-hour bus journey to look forward to…However, the sights and sounds of Washington DC await us, which I know everyone is excited about.
(Photo Credits - Wiley Stewart for WDAV)
“Having already run through a number of the pieces yesterday, today gave us the opportunity to fine-tune a few things. The afternoon rehearsal went well and we all felt good going into the evening concert at the Covenant Presbyterian Church.
The sell-out crowd definitely gave everyone a lift and we got underway with Taverner’s Christe Jesu. This was followed by Salvator mundi by Tallis and then Gibbons’ wonderful eight-part anthem, O clap your hands together. Michael Heighway then played some Buxtehude before we sang Jehova quam multi sunt hostes. This gave an opportunity for Tim and Tom to sing some solos before the choir was joined by St Peter’s choir for the two Handel pieces in the programme: Lord I trust thee and Zadok the Priest.
(Wiley Stewart for WDAV)
It was great to see the audience’s growing anticipation during the long organ introduction and then the release of the majestic opening to Zadok. After the interval we picked up where we left off, singing the rousing Te lucis ante terminum by Balfour Gardiner before contrasting that with the simple but beautiful Ave verum by Elgar (which he wrote for a little choir at St George’s Roman Catholic Church in Worcester after he took over the post of organist in 1885). Howells’ fine setting of the Te Deum was enjoyed by all who sung it, especially Tom.
Our final bracket of Justorum animae by Stanford, Set me as a seal by Walton and I was glad by Parry, went down extremely well, so much so that we were given a standing ovation by the 700 people who had come along to hear some English Choral music. It was a wonderful feeling being received so positively and the encore of Robert Parson’s Ave Maria was a fitting way to end our first concert on the tour.
It was nice to have a cold drink afterwards and chat to audience members. It also gave us the chance to thank our extraordinarily generous hosts for having us and making us feel so welcome. Thanks Charlotte!”
HT Chris Bruerton
Last night’s performance was a triumph. I am told 700 people were there and I heard the last half on my iPhone. At the end the audience lept to its feet and whistled, cheered and stamped their feet.
The podcast will be available soon – so you too will be able to hear them. But what was it like getting ready? Let’s see the feet of the swan paddling away.
It was a lovely day as you can see.
The boys had an outing before they got down to work. (Sophie Biddell)
It all looks so easy on the night but of course it is not…..
This kind of work brings you together
But it is also just hard!
Note that SD hardly did a thing and the choir has a life of its own!