We are planning our first concert for 18 months for this December:
4th December in St Philip’s Cathedral
Followed by our annual
Nine Lessons and Carols service
Sunday 19 December
And next Spring…..
Still waiting to start rehearsals…
The new choral work by our Director of music, Paul Spicer, pertinent to this moment in history is now in print.
Choir members have copies and are waiting to start rehearsals.
Commissioned by the Choir, generously funded by our past President, the late Pauline Round in her will.
It stands as a testament to this very moment in time of pandemic crisis and to Pauline’s close relationship with us.
Each movement uses a different poem for the libretto (including anonymous texts from the 12th century, the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore, Walter de la Mare, and Pauline Round).
The title, Sound the Invisible Trumps is from the poem by Walter de la Mare.
Paul says of the work:... it is essentially a ‘darkness to light’ theme with the pandemic as the backdrop.
A very big and satisfying job resulting in 7 movements and 23 minutes of music.
I am particularly happy with the final movement which really dances its way through and should be quite exciting.
These quick, upbeat movements are always the hardest to do and it was very important that this one should be a complete release from all that has gone before.
Pauline is the overall dedicatee of course, and I am very pleased to have been able to use two of her poems.
These are what I call the ‘sorbet’ courses between bigger, fully-fledged pieces. They are both unaccompanied.
Mike Lloyd is the sub-dedicatee of the second movement, husband to Merryn, soprano, and close friend of the Choir, who tragically did not survive the covid virus.
Sound the Invisible Trumps will be premiered 2 April 2022 in St Philip’s Cathedral, Birmingham, alongside a beautiful programme of music for those we have loved. Click here
More about Paul Spicer
Read more about Paul’s work with The Royal Conservatoire Chamber Choir…..
19 December 2021
Nine Lessons & Carols service
This lovely service can take place again in the superb acoustics of St Albans, Birmingham
Free to all
Click here for more details
If you'd like to join the Choir...
So many thanks to all who helped keep us together singing during the long lockdown for singers
A Covid secure rehearsal last autumn with Paul Spicer (& David Saint-accompanist)
Despite all covid precautions being in place real rehearsals were not allowed apart from a few short periods.
We spent most of our time together on zoom sessions.
Many thanks to Paul & Martyn for their perserverance with the technology - not easy for Paul to conduct us without hearing us, nor for us to sing each in isolation in our own homes.
Paul conducting us on zoom with regular accompanist Martyn
Voice coaching helped
With such limitations on singing it was good to get help on technique from experts including...
….from Joanna Tomlinson, soprano, conductor & voice coach who, amongst many other achievements, is Principal Conductor of National Youth Choir of Great Britain Girls’ Choir, Music Director of Constanza Chorus, Whitehall Choir and Farnham Youth Choir and has worked with BBC Singers, London Voices, Philharmonia Voices, Britten Sinfonia Voices, Gabrieli Consort and Le Concert D'Astree and Sonoro
And James Oldfield, a bass-baritone coach for a change.
James is a An internationally acclaimed singer & vocal coach his singing roles have included with ENO, ROH, Garsington, Opera North, the LSO, RPO, & Hallé amongst others. He is also a voice coach for private sessions and at courses plus he teachinges at Cambridge University & Tiffin School.
And Katie Thomas, a vocal Coach / Assistant Chorus Master to the BBC Symphony Chorus, Associate Conductor of 250-strong Barts Choir of London, and Visiting Conductor to the Royal College of Music and the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain as well as Conductor of the prestigious Sherborne Summer School of Music’s Symphony Chorus & Orchestra.
All sorts of singing techniques...
using straws in water, facial contortions and sounds including lots of glugs!
Various moments from our coaching sessions.
Memories of our last time on stage together ....
photo: Frank Wood
Our last concert before the pandemic hit was such a wonderful celebration for our 100 years.
We remember our superb orchestra (The Musical and Amicable Society), soloists (Anita Watson, Samantha Price, Mark Wilde and Felix Kemp) and our own Martyn Rawles (on the chamber organ) performing with us to an absolutely packed cathedral.
Aaah happier times!
Pictures below of the hardworking final rehearsal and actual concert
(with gratitude to Frank Wood & Dave Freak for their photos)
Christmas carol singing for Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity
Photo: 2019 at the QE
Conductor: Jonathon Spencer. Fund Raising Officer: Kate Crocker (Front row).
Now waiting to hear whether this fundraising activity can go ahead this year.
And finally many thanks to those who did all the organising behind the scenes
Especially to our Choir Secretary who has & still does play a Herculean role during the past 12+ months keeping us all together, steering us, and ploughing through the mire of Covid rules & regulations.
Thank You flowers delivery!
The Grimmitt Trust, The Saintbury Trust, The S&D Lloyd Trust, The John Feeney Charitable Trust, and the W.E. Dunn Trust who have all supported us recently.