We are now a Choral Society of around 50 voices and we will begin rehearsals for our spring programme at 7:30pm on Wednesday 9th January 2019 in the Concert Hall of Sidcot School in Oakridge Lane, Winscombe, North Somerset. Our next concert is part of the “2019 Wedmore Arts Festival” and will be on Saturday 11th May at 7:30pm in St Mary’s Church, Wedmore. The programme will include music by Ralph Vaughan-Williams, Johannes Brahms and Gabriel Faure including a performance of “The Lark Ascending” featuring the young violinist Poppy McGhee and the Lochrian Ensemble. We are always recruiting new members of any voice (SATB) and we will welcome all new recruits at this first or subsequent rehearsals (there are no auditions). We rehearse each Wednesday evening except during Sidcot School Half Terms and holidays.
On Saturday 24th November, Somerset Choral Society performed a programme of Advent and Christmas music and readings to an appreciative audience of 150 people in St Mary’s Church, Wedmore that was lit entirely by candles; it proved to be a wonderfully atmospheric celebration of Advent. The choir performed Bob Chilcott’s “ On Christmas Night” plus seasonal favourites including Harold Darke’s arrangement of “In The Bleak Midwinter”, “Adam lay y’bounden” by Boris Ord, “The Three Kings” by Peter Cornelius, “Gabriel’s Message” by Edgar Pettman, “Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming” by Praetorius and concluded with a rousing arrangement of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” by David Willcocks. As well as the music, there were a selection of seasonal readings. Virginia Waters read “Reading from Advent 1955” by John Betjeman, Edward Goater read from “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” by Dylan Thomas and Adrian Shephard read “The Art of Sending Christmas Cards” by William Connor.The choir was conducted by its Musical Director Edward Goater and accompanied by Organist Matthew Redman. To complete the Advent atmosphere, the audience were able to sample mulled wine and mince pies before, during the interval and after the concert.
Somerset Choral Society starts our 2018-19 season at 7:30pm on Saturday 24th November in St Mary’s Church, Wedmore with a wonderfully atmospheric celebration of Advent. St Mary’s Church will be candlelit and, as well as the music, there will be a selection of seasonal readings from the works of John Betjeman, Dylan Thomas and William Connor.
The significance of candle light is more complex than just theatricals. For the ancient Church, the root of Advent actually looked primarily towards the Second Coming and the end of time – not towards the coming of the birth in Bethlehem. For the early Christians this was a state to be desired, even longed for. In the present day, with our furthered knowledge and greater commercialised culture, the expectancy of the coming birth and that of Judgement are shared. Nevertheless, it is important to understand pieces like “Adam Lay y’ Bounden” in such light. Along with these and some other truly atmospheric pieces, Bob Chilcott’s “On Christmas Night” forms the core of the programme. The cycle foretells of the Christmas story, and entwines some familiar tunes throughout the movements.
The programme also includes other seasonal favourites too: Harold Darke’s wonderful arrangement of “In The Bleak Midwinter” and “The Three Kings” by Peter Cornelius, together with works by Edgar Pettman and a rousing arrangement of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” by David Willcocks.
This concert will be conducted by our Musical Director Ed Goater and accompanied on organ by Matthew Redman but will feature our choir members who will perform all the music and present all the readings. Oh, and there’ll be mince pies and mulled wine afterwards, so come and soak up the atmosphere, the aroma and enjoy the music !
On a beautiful sunny afternoon on Sunday 2nd September, the Somerset Choral Society celebrated the start of their new term with a Garden Party held at the home of two of the choir members, Roger and Celia Starr. In the lovely surroundings of the Starr’s garden, members were treated to “bubbly” and a traditional cream tea organised and prepared by Janet Leek and Gillian Ticehurst. A great time was had by all as people sat around the beautiful garden eating, drinking and enjoying entertainment that was provided by the Churchill Singers, a choir member Maurice Jackson’s rendition of “Albert and the Lion” and music from local singer/songwriter Winston Chubb. Members attending described it as a really enjoyable and relaxed afternoon social event.
On Wednesday 5th September the choir started the hard work of rehearsals at Sidcot School Concert Hall in preparation for the next production which will be a Candlelit Concert of Advent and Christmas Music at 7:30pm on Saturday 24th November in St Mary’s Church, Wedmore.
Somerset Choral Society performed the Mozart Requiem and Handel’s Foundling Hospital Anthem in Wedmore Church on Saturday 16th June to an audience of about 120 people that were very appreciative of their performance. Andrew Kirk played the organ accompaniment brilliantly while Lucy Balderson’s effortless top notes were fabulous. The three enthusiastic young male soloists acquitted themselves very well and, in particular, the counter-tenor Finn Lacey demonstrated his remarkable voice with some remarkable trills.
Ed Goater their Musical Director commented “Tremendous thanks from me to all of you for your work in the concert on Saturday. You all committed admirably to putting on the very best performance and, if occasionally lacking in tempo, was never lacking in enthusiasm and vigour! The Handel was very well sung, with all the passage work coming out nicely. I think people enjoyed hearing it for the first time. The Mozart was of course, a pleasure to perform and hear you sing. I was particularly impressed with how you coped with the difficulties of performing with the organ – live on the spot.”
All in all the end product was a very successful concert after a difficult rehearsal term.
Our next Concert will be at 7:30pm on Saturday 16th June in St Mary’s Church, Wedmore when we will perform George Friederich Handel’s “Foundling Hospital Anthem” in the first half, then an interval for wine and soft drinks followed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Requiem”.
Andrew is the Organist at St Mary Redcliffe, Bristol.
The Foundling Hospital Anthem (HWV 268), also known by its longer title “Blessed are they that considereth the poor” is a choral anthem composed by Handel in 1749. It was written for the Foundling Hospital in London and was first performed in the chapel there. Handel wrote two versions, one for choir only and one for choir and soloists. It is compiled from material originating in other works by Handel, ending with the “Hallelujah” chorus from Messiah. The Somerset Choral Society will be performing the version for choir and soloists.
The Requiem in D minor, K. 626, is a requiem mass by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart composed part of the Requiem in Vienna in late 1791, but it was unfinished at his death on 5 December the same year. A completed version dated 1792 by Franz Xaver Süssmayr was first performed on 14 February that year. The Somerset Choral Society will be performing using the second edition of the score published by Novello that is written for voices and orchestra but the performance will be accompanied on organ.
The walls of St Mary’s Church Wedmore were echoing last Saturday March 24th as the Somerset Choral Society held a “Come and Sing Messiah”.
More than 90 singers from North Somerset, Sedgemoor, Mendip and South Somerset gathered together for a workshop run by our Musical Director, Edward Goater, who rehearsed four choruses with the singers over two sessions in the morning and afternoon. The choruses were accompanied on the organ played by Matthew Redman. The fun culminated in a short concert during the afternoon. The day was interspersed with breaks for coffee, tea and home- made cakes! Ed shared vocal tips and his musical expertise with the singers who responded with a stirring performance of the Messiah choruses, culminating with a super rendition of the “Hallelujah” chorus.
The Somerset Choral Society is always happy to welcome new singers. There are no auditions although the ability to read music is helpful. Visit our website: http://www.somersetsingers.wordpress.org for further details.
For our next concert, to be performed in St Mary’s Church, Wedmore on June 16th at 7.30pm, we will be singing the ever popular Mozart Requiem and Handel’s Foundling Hospital Anthems (which include the famous Hallelujah chorus). If you would like to join us to sing in this concert, rehearsals take place every Wednesday evening from 7.30 – 9.30 pm at Sidcot School Winscombe. Rehearsal dates are : March 28th, then a break for Easter and resuming on April 18th up to the concert date.