The Singers at Home – May 2019
The weather was beautiful and the St Mary Magdalene church was full. We sang a varied programme of pieces we’ve been recently rehearsing for our forthcoming concerts. It included music by Bruch, Bruckner, Guilmant, Stainer, and Fanny Hensel.
We also had some community singing, and, again, the result was amazing.
As always there were scrumptious cakes, tea and coffee provided by the congregation! Many thanks to Pat, the vicar, and all the volunteers who made the afternoon such a success.
The programme is available here .
Christmas 2018 and Epiphany 2019
We are now enjoying a break in our activities after a very busy Christmas season. Our Christmas with The Singers in St George’s Church, Jesmond, here in Newcastle upon Tyne, was a great success. We performed the premiere of Edmund Hunt’s Vita Hominum, the culmination of a year’s collaboration. This went very well indeed. An innovation this year was to start the concert at the back of the nave singing Bach’s harmonisation of O Little One Sweet in candlelight and then processing up the nave led by James Clark playing a beautiful Gaelic melody on the Northumbrian pipes. Very atmospheric! It was a super program, with mulled wine and mince pies served by The Friends of St George’s at the interval. A blast of grim weather just before the concert and a railway strike prevented some from being able to travel, but did not spoil the warm atmosphere or the sense of anticipation of Christmas. The concert was expertly recorded by BBC Radio 3 by engineer Sharon Hughes and producer Barnaby Gordon.
After Christmas we were off to Durham Cathedral where we sang all the services for the Epiphany weekend. With a Friday evening and Saturday morning rehearsal in Newcastle and rehearsals in Durham before the services plus a nave performance of Edmund’s Vita Hominum it was pretty much a non stop weekend. This really helps us appreciate how hard cathedral choirs work and how much music they get through! Both our evensongs were unaccompanied – challenging for the choir but a wonderful experience with the right music. Our other services (Matins and Eucharist) were beautifully accompanied by Francesca Massey.
At lunchtime we gave a special performance of Edmund’s Vita Hominum in Durham Cathedral. This started at the back of the nave, with us singing as we processed along all three aisles to the front of the nave where the main part of the piece was performed. Towards the end of the performance we processed out into the Galilee Chapel where we gathered round the tomb of Bede to finish the piece. It sounded great – a wonderful adventure in sound and a fantastic experience for us all.
The music list is available here.
The Singers on Radio Three
A feature about our year long collaboration with composer Edmund Hunt was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Tuesday 8 January about 9.15 pm after the evening concert (a Proms concert by the Boston Symphony Orchestra).
The programme included a recording of our premiere performance of Edmund’s Vita Hominum made in St George’s, Jesmond on 15 December. There were also interviews with Edmund, Donald Halliday (conductor)
as well as Christopher Hunwick and Gaby Wright who translated the words by Bede into English and who sing with The Singers.
L to R: composer Edmund Hunt, conductor Donald Halliday and mentor Fraser Trainer