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POST-CHRISTMAS CONCERT SOCIAL EVENING

Our Post-Elijah Concert Christmas Social Party was held at 7:30pm in Shipham Village Hall on Wednesday 13th December. There was a “Bring & Share” or “Jacob’s Join” Supper as they say in Lancashire, with food and drink in profusion plus a raffle with good pre-Christmas prizes.

Attendees let their hair down after the concert and got together for a good natter as you can see.

 

 

AUTUMN TERM 2017 – ELIJAH

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A large audience enjoyed the Somerset Singers production of Elijah on Saturday 9th December and went home with the music in their ears and full of praise for the overall performance. Alison Blundell in her first appearance as Guest Conductor brought out the best from the chorus and orchestra and enabled the five soloists to sing their solos in their own styles. She also had the pleasure of conducting her husband who sang in the bass chorus and her son George who sang the part of the Youth. Edward Grint as Elijah led from the front with his powerful bass voice and was ably supported by Richard Rowntree (Tenor) who returned to the Somerset Singers Concert to sing the part of Obadiah. In the first half, the Quartet of Emma Brain-Gabbott (Soprano), Louise Mott (Mezzo), Edward and Richard delivered a sublime version of “Cast thy burden upon the Lord” while in the second half, the trio of Emma, Louise and Lucy Balderson (Soprano) gave a wonderful unaccompanied rendition of “Lift Thine eyes”. Once again, Catherine Black led the Lochrian Ensemble from 1st violin to provide weight, sensitivity and power to the overture and major choruses while the 52 members of the Somerset Singers Chorus matched them with powerful, rich enthusiastic voices. The vocal fire definitely “descended from heaven” and in the earthquake the voices certainly “shook the earth” but, in still small voices, “Onward came the Lord”! The concert ended with the mighty “And then shall your light break forth” with the whole ensemble giving their all for the final “Amen”; in summary it was a powerful and memorable concert.

Our Guest Conductor for this concert was Alison Blundell who is also our accompanist.Rev E Poster Dec 2017

ED GOATER OUR NEW MUSICAL DIRECTOR – FIRST CONCERT – RUTTER MAGNIFICAT & SPRIG OF THYME – 13 MAY 2017

Ed Goater picThe Somerset Singers welcomed Edward Goater as our new Musical Director in January 2017,  and he trained us and then conducted his first concert with us and the Lochrian Ensemble in Rutter’s “Magnificat” and “The Sprig of Thyme” at St Cuthbert’s Church, Wells at 7:30pm on Saturday 13th May 2017.
Edward is now preparing the choir for our Autumn Concert which will be Mendelsohn’s “Elijah” at St Mary’s Church, Wedmore at 7:30pm on Saturday 9th December 2017. Once again we will be singing with the Lochrian Ensemble together with soloists: Emma Brain-Gabbot (Soprano); TBA (Soprano); Louise Mott (Contralto); Edward Grint (Bass); and Richard Rowntree (Tenor).

Edward obtained a degree in Environmental Science and Agricultural Ecology at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne,  but has studied and performed continuously as a musician since 1998. He is a conductor, tenor and teacher living in Wells, Somerset where he is a Vicar Choral at Wells Cathedral. He studied conducting with Norman Barns MBE and for many years he was a member of the BBC Singers.
As a professional musician, Edward has worked with some of the very best musicians in the world including Pierre Boulez, Bryn Terfel, Judith Weir, Sir Simon Rattle, Bob Chilcott and many more. His expertise in vocal and choral training has seen him conduct many groups including The Harmonium Singers; The Chelsea Consort; The Wesley Singers; many Military Wives Choirs; Wells Cathedral Choir and BBC Singers members. As Chorus Master he has worked with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

Edward is currently the Musical Director of the Taunton Military Wives Choir and Taunton Choral Society; he is also Associate Conductor of Berkshire Youth Choir. Edward’s educational work takes him all over the world. He teaches academic music, and has given workshops in singing and conducting at many events – highlights include the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Marlborough College, Malaysia, and the BBC Ten Pieces Project. Edward’s experience as a performer and conductor make him a valued adjudicator in competitions and Guest Speaker for many institutions.

Lochrian Ensemble May 2017 One - Copy

Ed Goater conducting The Lochrian Ensemble

Cheryl Rosevear

Cheryl Rosevear – Soprano

Sprig of Thyme Poster

 

Choral Music To Lead You Into Paradise

Can there be anything more assured of enveloping one’s whole being with a sense of peace and contentment than spending an evening listening to three glorious pieces of choral music?

On Saturday 9th May at St Cuthbert’s Church Wells, Somerset Singers, together with soloists Mary Walker (soprano), Jack Wilde (tenor) and Robert Clark (bass baritone) accompanied by the Lochrian Ensemble gave another of their outstanding performances.

The first work, Schubert’s Mass in G, set the standard for the evening with a Kyrie of superb, lyrical harmony with orchestra and choir in perfect balance. Parts of the Credo were movingly dramatic whereas the Sanctus gave us a believable choir of angels and in the Benedictus the soloists and choir sweetly complemented each other.

The second choral work was Fauré’s Cantique de Jean Racine, a familiar piece one suspects to most of the audience and sung with superb dynamics and dramatic assurance.

Following the interval, organist Kris Thomsett played a work by Rheinberger, Tempo Moderato which rang out in St Cuthbert’s Church with its beautifully decorated high ceiling.

The last work in this concert of sublime pieces was Fauré’s Requiem. At times the music seemed to bubble over with love as heart-felt prayers and sincere simplicity contrasted with the quite terrifying brass in the Libera Me. But all was resolved with the last movement In Paradisum, ‘May angels lead you into paradise’ and with this beautifully controlled finale Somerset Singers assured us this would be so.

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Saturday May 9th: Schubert and Fauré at St Cuthberts, Wells

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mary-walker-soprano

Mary Walker

SOMERSET SINGERS BRING A GIFT OF BACH’S CHRISTMAS ORATORIO

Have you ever thought, whilst watching a superb performance of a Shakespeare play,
how much the Bard would have enjoyed being in the audience? Or pondered how Beethoven might delight to hear a top modern orchestra playing one of his symphonies? Had J S Bach been sitting in St Cuthbert’s Church in Wells on Saturday evening, he would surely have been thrilled with the Somerset Singers’ performance of his Christmas Oratorio. Singing together with the Lochrian Ensemble and soloists Christina Birchall-Sampson (soprano), Daniel Brown (counter-tenor), Philip Pooley (tenor) and James Birchall (bass) it was a superb evening.

Sung very competently in German the opening chorus ‘Rejoice, be glad, celebrate the time…’ was a truly irresistible summons. Throughout the evening the choruses were strong and vibrant, a response to the call to ‘Serve the Highest with splendid choruses …’ with choir and orchestra, especially the trumpet, complementing each other. These were then balanced by the singing of gently familiar chorales each of which concluded with its own soft harmony.

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The recitatives and arias sung by the four talented soloists brought to us different dimensions of the whole. The bass solo ‘Who can rightly extol the love our Saviour holds for us‘… gave us gentle, quiet strength whilst the delightful aria ‘Happy shepherds hurry…’ had flute and tenor voice singing and dancing together on the way to see the baby. The final recitative sung by all four soloists, seemed to represent the whole of society as they sang ‘How can hell be frightening now…‘ and indeed we would not go home under a cloud of fear but overjoyed to have heard such a beautiful, assured but tender performance of this wonderful Christmas piece.

Saturday 13th December 2014 – JS Bach Christmas Oratorio

Christmas Oratorio Poster

Saturday 31st May 2014 – Verdi Requiem in Wells Cathedral

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Verdi Requiem Poster

About Us – Somerset Choral Society

 

At an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Somerset Singers held in November 2017, the Society approved the change of the Society Title to be “The Somerset Choral Society aka “Somerset Singers””.

The Somerset Choral Society is now a choir of around 40 voices. We rehearse weekly from September to May in the Concert Hall of Sidcot School in Oakridge Lane, Winscombe, North Somerset, see map).

Concert Hall 3

We have two major performances each year, usually at St Mary’s Church, Wedmore or St Cuthbert’s Church, Wells, with concerts at Wells Cathedral every few years.

Alison Blundell Presentation

We are always pleased to welcome new members (there are no auditions) – see Contact/Rehearsals for details, or just email info@somersetsingers.co.uk.

The choir evolved from evening classes at the Kings of Wessex School in Cheddar, and gave its first performance under the direction of Peter Scott-Winfield in 1987. Since then it has varied in size but continued to perform quality choral music, singing a wide repertoire of pieces and consistently attracting large audiences.

Our recent performances include Ralph Vaughn-Williams Sea Symphony in Wells Cathedral in May 2016, Mozart’s Requiem and Haydn’s Paukenmesse in St Cuthbert’s Church, Wells in December 2016, Rutter’s Magnificat & The Sprig of Thyme in St Cuthbert’s Church, Wells in May 2017, Mendelssohn’s Elijah in December 2017, Mozart’s Requiem and Handel’s Foundling Hospital Anthem  in June 2018, Advent by Candlelight including Bob Chilcott’s On Christmas Night in November 2018, Music for a Summer Evening including Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, as part of the Wedmore Arts Festival in May 2019, all in St Mary’s Church, Wedmore and, most recently, a Candlelight Concert including Britten’s Ceremony of Carols in November 2019 in All Saints Church, Wrington. You will find full details of our past performances and current programme elsewhere on this site. Important dates are also included in the Dates page. We look forward to seeing you, either to sing with us or in the audience!