Thank you to all who celebrated with us in Lichfield Cathedral
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Our J S Bach's Christmas Oratorio Concert
The Cathedral was packed for our concert on 19 November. Thank you to all those who came.
Paul Spicer, celebrating his 30 years with the Choir wrote afterwards:
"I was so proud of the choir this evening. It was a fabulous performance. Life affirming and you all rose to the occasion magnificently. Bravo all round”
Photo memories of the evening at Lichfield.
Photographer: Frank Wood
It was a joyous performance in every sense with amazing playing from The Musical & Amicable Society orchestra on their baroque-style instruments, and fabulous soloists: Sofia Ticciati (soprano), James Laing (countertenor), Daniel Auchincloss (tenor), Ashley Riches (baritone) and Thomas Hobbs (as the Evangelist).
Read the Reviews
...an evening of exhilaration, beauty and deep musical satisfaction. Add to this an outstanding period ensemble, first-class soloists and a full cathedral and you will understand why this listener was simply enthralled from start to finish.
Prof David Saint.
Click here to read more
The choir sang with clear diction, with enormous energy and at times with great emotion, especially in their moving rendition of the devotional a capella chorale Ich steh an deiner Krippen hier (I stand here beside your manger).
Paul Spicers love of Bach certainly shines through in this enthusiastic and well controlled performance and whilst it may signal a close to a 30 year passage of time, it’s clear that there is a special relationship to the area, its musicians and Birmingham itself. In all the occasion, setting, music and performances made it a perfect opening to the Christmas season.
Click here to read more BehindtheArras.com
Wow! Half a dozen new voices!
Congratulations - no less than 6 new singers joined us this Autumn, and were thrilled to perform their first concert with us in Lichfield. (5 of the 6 sang Bach’s Christmas Oratorio for the very first time)
Read all about them here.
Front row: Chieun Han, Katie Foxton, Lucinda Spicer
Back row: Jonathan Willis, Jens Christian Claussen, James Eyles
Interested in joining the choir, but not sure about it?
If you’d like to give it a try for an evening, absolutely without obligation, contact us to come along for an evening’s rehearsal at the beginning of a new programme.
For more details Click here
Thank you to all who came to our Summer programme in St Paul’s Birmingham & Malvern Priory
Pics taken during the rehearsals & concerts 25 June + 2 July showing conductor Paul Spicer, organist Callum Alger, Choir President Baroness Stuart of Edgbaston, Choir Chair Philip, the Choir, and three in a valiant fight to repair Paul’s music stand!
Time to say “Goodbye”
Sadly we said goodbye at our summer party to 3 x singers:
Peter Oliver, baritone (& previously alto), long time member, whose wife Ruth will continue to sing with us.
Jane Eminson, alto & Secretary on the committee, whose orchestral involvement has just become too much of a conflict on her time.
Helen Keef, soprano, who now moves south to be closer to her family
We shall miss them all but hope to see them often.
Fond goodbyes to Peter Oliver, Jane Eminson, & Helen Keef at our summer party
Looking back ……For Those We Have Loved concert, 2 April 2022
It was uplifting, comforting, thought-provoking, triumphant and a minor miracle that it happened at all after so many covid disruptions during its preparation.
But finally the performance came together starting with the emotional: A Prayer to Ukraine.
Beautiful works by Vaughan Williams, Parry, and Holst were performed in addition to the world premiere of Paul Spicer’s moving
Sound the Invisible Trumps composed during the first lockdown spring 2020.
The baritone soloist, Ed Ballard, organist Martyn Rawles, and Choir soloists: Emily Matthews (soprano), Georgina Gardner (soprano), Jonathan Spencer (alto), Isaac Boulter (tenor) & Philip Bellshaw (bass) were all applauded by both reviewers and audience (see Reviews below) but above all praise goes to Paul Spicer for his new composition and the high quality of the whole programme.
"seductive and magnetic at all times”
Read the Reviews here…..
“A wonderful return to live music…..heartwarming”
To read: https://t.co/8rKe25XANk
"Be under no illusion, this is an amateur choir who achieve professional standards….everything you could wish for. Outstanding soloists, a first-class organist and a passionate choir, but equally, none of last night would have been possible without their conductor, and also composer, Paul Spicer.
"The Choir sang so musically throughout with great commitment to the text and the phrasing….”
Click here to read
“(The choir) embraced the whole work with skill and dedication”.
Click here to read
"Paul Spicer’s deep immersion and understanding of the works of British composers of the late 19th and early 20thcentury was evident throughout the evening. The characteristic long phrases were exquisitely shaped. The choir’s excellent diction highlighted the close relationship between text and music…"
To read: http://reviewsgate.com/
Our sincere thanks to The Roughley Trust for their generous support for this performance
Premiered Saturday 2 April, St Philip’s Cathedral
LISTEN HERE to Movements from this world premiere,
(recorded live on a phone by an audience member)
Movement 2 : Brief is our Life 5.01 mins
Movement 3 :An Ancient Olive 2.43 mins
Soloist; Ed Ballard (baritone)
Movement 5 Beside an altar of stone 1.38 mins
Soloist: Emily Matthews (soprano)
About Sound the Invisible Trumps by Paul Spicer
World Premiered 2 April
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.
Click here to hear the entire work
More about Paul Spicer
Read more about Paul’s work with The Royal Conservatoire Chamber Choir…..
Paul Spicer conducting Birmingham Bach Choir 4 Dec 2021
Read here about our concert, O Clap Your Hands, on 4 December
Birmingham Bach Choir conducted by Paul Spicer, St Philip’s Cathedral 4 Dec 2021
The programme was kicked off with Vaughan Williams "O Clap Your Hands" and followed by Walton, Leighton, Britten, Dvorak plus the world premiere of David Bednall’s "The Dear Bargain" commissioned by the choir for our centenary celebrations 2 years ago
Despite being down to only 47 singers on the day Paul Spicer wrote:
”a really terrific concert. David Bednall was thrilled with your performance of his beautiful work. A really brilliant restart after 2 years”
Congratulations to our lovely soloists and organist from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire: Isabella Abbot Parker, Hope Pugh, Timothy Burton, Alex Pratley & Callum Alger
"what singing! This is not easy repertoire but a high standard was set from the outset with a truly atmospheric and expressive opening"
(Prof David Saint)
"what a celebration! The work of most interest was the premiere performance of David Bednall’s The Dear Bargain, commissioned by the choir for its centenary. It played to the strengths of the choir, who sang confidently and captured all the moods of the piece, especially the radiant ending“
Photos by Frank Wood
Memories of our Centenary Concert in Lichfield Cathedral
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)
So many thanks to all who helped keep us together singing during the long lockdown for singers
A Covid secure rehearsal with Paul Spicer
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
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.
Nine Lessons & Carols
St Albans, Birmingham B12
Come & Sing with us !
Dvorak: Stabat Mater
Selly Oak Methodist Church, B29
Saturday 1 April 2023
Rachmaninoff: Liturgy of St John Chrystostom
St Paul’s Church, Jewellery Quarter