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"Our M.D. Edward-Rhys Harry does like to introduce a bit of theatre into performances..." Those of you who came to our last concert in Waltham Abbey will now understand what this mysterious line in the last newsletter meant and, by all accounts, the "play" was well received. The choir was as much in the dark beforehand as the audience!
On Saturday 9th December in St John's Church, Epping, Harlow Chorus will deliver another dramatic performance, Handel's wonderful oratorio, Messiah, has drama and word painting woven all through it and Edward is making sure that, together with our four soloists and a full orchestra, we'll do it full justice. Please note that the concert begins at 7.00pm. Tickets @£15, under 18s £5, are available online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/harlowchorus and from our Box Office on 01277 362440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org but hurry, they are selling fast. Our spring 2024 concert is on Saturday 13 April, also in Epping, so put that date in your diaries.
There are a few tickets left for 0ur Quiz Night on Friday 24 November, 7.00 for 7.30pm at St John's ARC Old Harlow, Cost is £12 and includes savoury snacks and desserts, with soft drinks, beer and wine available from the bar. Tables can be for up to 8 people but individuals can make up numbers on existing tables. Please contact Rosemary Davis at email@example.com or call 01279 419763. by next Wednesday.
With best wishes
Val Brockbank on behalf of Harlow Chorus
The Chorus is well into rehearsals for our forthcoming concert of French music 7.30pm on 14th October in Waltham Abbey Church EN9 1XQ. We are performing both the Fauré and Saint-Saëns Requiems together with Pauline Viardot's delightful song 'En Mer' and Fauré's equally delightful 'Cantique de Jean Racine'. The indefatigable Aeron Preston is accompanist for all this and will also treat us to Gaston Bélier's dazzling showpiece 'Toccata pour grand orgue in D minor'.
All the composers were contemporaries, part of a golden generation of French musicians heralding the modern era and Gabriele Fauré (1845-1924) was one of the most influential. Of the many settings of the Requiem his is probably the best loved, so peaceful and serene. That of Camille Saint-Saëns is more dramatic but just as tuneful, still devotional and entreating with soloists and chorus echoing each other in urgent supplication, while the organ is often used with striking effect. The italicised words are significant and a clue as to how you will experience the piece on the night. Our M.D. Edward-Rhys Harry does like to introduce a bit of theatre into performances...
Rehearsals for Handel's Messiah (December 9th in Epping) start straight after the Requiem concert and on Monday 23rd October we are holding an open rehearsal so if you, or friends and family want to come along to St John's ARC, Old Harlow CM17 0AJ, 7.00 for 7.30pm, we'd love to see you. Music will be provided or bring your own (Watkins-Shaw edition). Just drop a line to Peter at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know you are coming.
Our popular quiz night returns on Friday 24th November. More details on cost and how to book in the next letter but as ever it's tables of eight, 7.00 for 7.30pm at St John's ARC with a bar and refreshments.
Concert tickets @£15, under 18s £5, are available online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/harlowchorus and from our Box Office on 01277 362440 or email email@example.com
with best wishes
Val Brockbank on belhalf of Harlow Chorus
After the last of the bank holdays (which took out a good few of our Monday night rehearsals!), Harlow Chorus is about to enter the run-up to the season finale concert Crossing Continents, 7.30pm on Saturday 8th July at St Michael's Church, Bishop's Stortford. It's a wonderful mix of songs, both sacred and secular, by composers from the Baltic States and North America. Too many to mention them all but here's a flavour.
Estonia is represented by Arvo Pärt with his mesmerising The Deer's Cry and a lightning fast version of Bogoroditse Djevo, the Russian Orthodox prayer to the Morher of God. Should be 60 seconds from start to finish! From Latvia we bring you Rihards Dubra's lovely Ave Maria and pieces by Eriks Esenvalds including a double choir arrangement of Amazing Grace and and his delightful dreamy remembrance of childhood playmates Only in Sleep.
Two of the most performed choral composers working today, Morten Lauridsen and Eric Whitacre, open North America's contribution. Lauridsen's O Magnum Mysterium is already a favourite with choirs and audiences while Whitacre's Seal Lullaby imagining a mother seal singing to her pup is simply charming – you can almost see the kelp fronds gently swaying as they rest among them. This is the first accompanied song of the evening, but our organist and pianist Aeron Preston will soon be earning his keep as we swing into the syncopated rhthyms of 'I got plenty o' nuttin',Summertime and the like from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, and all the best Bond themes when we ladies get to turn into Shirley Bassey during Diamonds are Forever! Our M.D. Edward-Rhys Harry will conduct this veritable symphony of songs.
Tickets are £15, under 18s £5, availble online at www.ticketsource.co.uk/harlowchorus and from our Box office on 01277 362440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
With best wishes
Val Brockbank on behalf of Harlow Chorus
The Chorus is well into rehearsals for the next concert on Saturday 15th April, 7.30pm at Chingford Parish Church E4 7EN when we, four soloists and the British Sinfonietta will perform Mozart's mighty Requiem and Pergolesi's lighter but equally moving Stabat Mater. A third piece will be given its world premiere: The Nazarene composed by our Musical Director Edward-Rhys Harry, inspired by verses from from St John's gospel and a poem by Victorian writer/philosopher Constance Naden.
Both the Requiem and Stabat Mater were written by composers in the last weeks of their lives giving an added poignancy to the works. The powerful Mediaeval hymn Stabat Mater meditates on the suffering of Jesus' mother as she stood at the foot of the cross. Pergolesi was known for his comic operas and indeed one contemporary critic complained about his Stabat Mater's light operatic style, but the emotional melodic lines come straight from Pergolesi's operatic work and take the listener through darkness and grief to a final prayer of hope. The Requiem is so well known, as is the fact that it had to be completed after Mozart's death by his assistant Süssmayer, that it needs no introduction. Harlow Chorus has performed this magnificent work many times before but, such is the intensity coming from Edward in rehearsal, I feel that this time will be one of those experiences that shake you to your utter foundations.
The choir is also rehearsing music for a conductor's training day on 4th March in St John's, Epping. We will sing choruses from the Requiems by Brahms, Fauré and Mozart conducted by aspiring choral conductors who will receive tips on technique from Edward and our previous M.D. Sarah Tenant-Flowers. We have to forget all our own training and follow whatever the trainees transmit to us via their conducting. Should be fun! Details are on the website if you'd like to come and watch.
This Friday we are holding our first quiz since before covid (sorry, tables are already sold out) and, happily, new singers are appearing at almost every rehearsal so the choir is growing back to its pre-pandemic strength.
We hope to see you in April. No need to drive and find parking - the Chorus has again laid on a return coach picking up in Bishop's Stortford, Sawbridgeworth, Old Harlow and Epping. Email email@example.com to book your place.
Concert tickets @£15, under 18s £5, are available from our box office tel. 01277 362440 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and also online at www. ticketsource.co.uk/harlowchorus