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Belgium – 31 May to 3 June 2018, by Brian North.
The Sun rose blearily through the early morning mists of the Arun valley, as in similar mood, forty four members and friends of the Angmering Chorale struggled to reach their Worthing rendezvous - a luxury coach waiting to whisk them painlessly o’er the Channel and the Flanders fields to Brussels. Their target, the cathedrals of Brussels and Ghent. Their weapons, a rich and varied selection of the best loved Oratorios. Their reward, a chance to sing together in some of the most beautiful and atmospheric spaces in Europe. Read Brian's full report on the trip here.
To quote the old song ‘Oh what a night it was...’. We had rehearsed well and many had a trial run at
the Brandenburg Festival concert in London. George Jones, our Musical Director, took us out of our
comfortable groupings by voice and spread us across the staging in twos and threes. Despite some
tensions in the afternoon it was hugely successful in the evening. Sinfonia of Arun, including George’s
daughter Beverley on double-bass, were also re-arranged and did full justice to Handel’s music. Our
four soloists, including a Counter-tenor singing the alto line, were outstanding. For the icing on
the cake we had a capacity audience despite snowfall and the temperature outside hovering around zero. A
long concert, it was a memorably outstanding performance of which we can all be very proud, especially George to whom
much of the credit and our sincere thanks go.
Diane Kearsey writes in The Worthing Herald "The answer lies in the absolutely stunning performance Angmering Chorale gave on Saturday, one of which Handel himself would have been proud." To read the question and the full review, click here.
LONDON CALLING - AGAIN
Once more we had the privilege of an invitation to take part in the annual Brandenburg Choral Festival in 2018.
We performed a selection of choruses from Messiah, composed by by Handel in 1741, together with
the contrasting Jazz Missa Brevis, composed by Will Todd in 2015. The concert was in
St Katharine Cree Church, EC3A 3BP. This church
dates back to the 13th century. The current building was constructed in 1633 and the imposing Jacobean architecture is
unique in London. Handel and Purcell are part of the church’s history as both played on the organ, which still
retains some of its outstanding 17th-century pipework.
Our performance was on Saturday again this year, Saturday 3 February 2018. We were taken by coach into London, on a day of closed M23 and London demonstrations. Following this slightly slower journey we set up the seating in the church, rehearsed and then walked out for a well earned meal. The performance began at 7.30pm., the audience included a good number of friends and relatives of the singers. Finally carried smoothly by the same coach back home, arriving around midnight still on a high.
Brian North writes, for The Gazette: If variety be the spice of life, the latest offerings of the Angmering Chorale must surely rate as a vindaloo amongst choral performances. To read the full review, click here.The full programme for the Brandenburg Choral Festival can be seen here.
OUR NEW YEAR SOCIAL EVENING
On Wednesday 3 January 2018 about half the choir and three 'Friends' of the choir met at Ham Manor Golf Club for what has become our new year annual social. After the very tasty meal cooked perfectly by the in-house catering team at Ham Manor we did battle over the quiz run by Ham Manor's Stewart. It was a very close finish and all agreed it was great fun. Thank you everyone for making it such an enjoyable evening.
A CHORAL CHRISTMAS
On 16 December 2017 Angmering Chorale, with choirs from Swiss Gardens Primary School, Rose Green Infant School, Bramber
Primary School and St Wilfrid's Primary School, assembled in the Sports Hall of The Angmering School. Supported by
Alison Manton on piano and Patcham Silver Band we prepared for an evening of Christmas music. Despite the cold - not
to mention the final of Strictly Come Dancing - we performed to and with a packed and appreciative audience. The children
were captivating, the Silver Band raised the rafters and the choir and soloists were at their best.
Brian North writes for the local press "...but knowing the quality of this talented local group and their reputation for having FUN, I needed no persuasion ..." For the full review click here
EUROPEAN MASTERPIECES IN THE CATHEDRAL
On a chilly 24 November 2017 the choir, supported by four excellent soloists, gathered in Arundel Cathedral to
perform 2 works which were composed around 150 years apart. Gioachino Rossini, perhaps best known for his operas,
composed his Stabat Mater in 1831. It movingly tells the story of Mary standing at the foot of the cross where
Jesus, her son, was dying. Following the interval, Sinfonia of Arun captivated us all with an excellent performance
of Finlandia by Jean Sibelius. The choir then rounded off the evening with Gloria, by John Rutter, composed as a
commission in 1974.
Jim Hurdwell writes in the local press "...George Jones and the Chorale never fail to delight us with their choice of music..." For the full review click here
August sees the choir golfers get together for their annual day out. Jane, the 2016 winner, organised the 2017 event at Avisford Park Golf Club. The 18 participants, mainly Chorale members but swelled by friends and relatives, began by being fortified by coffee and bacon rolls. Then 18 holes of largely sunny golf on a very well kept course, followed by re-hydration at the bar and a heaped plate of ham egg and chips. After presentations to the top scorer, who was one of the friends, Jane presented the Holmes Cup to John Heaton, who with 37 points was the top scoring choir member. A very enjoyable day! Three more Thursdays and then back to rehearsals.
On 24 June the Sports Hall at The Angmering School turned into a concert hall filled with a mixture of
opera lovers and opera sceptics hoping to be converted. The choir had spent the whole Term rehearsing 20 of
the best known choruses from operas from Bizet's 'Carmen' to Wagner's 'Tannhauser'. Soloists from the choir
had been auditioned and rehearsed and a second pianist, Michael James, recruited to assist Alison Manton,
our resident accompanist.
And it worked! The audience was enthusiastic, the choir singers hugely enjoyed themselves and the soloists were superb. To quote the review: "..Angmering Chorale more than did justice to the ambitious programme. From the grandeur of Wagner (Tannhauser and Lohengrin) through the evocative Habenera and dramatic March of the Toreadors (Carmen), the exciting abandon of Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances, to the gently bewitching Dido’s Lament (Purcell), the Chorale handled the varied, challenging demands with aplomb, switching effortlessly from mood to mood." To read the full review, click here.
On Tuesday evening 25th April a group of thirty-two excited choir member arrived at 'The Black Horse' Climping. Four teams got themselves together - 'Merry Maids?' (included two men!), 'Vice Squad', 'Some that Sing' and 'The Wrong Notes'. The first round commenced just after 7.00 and ended with the 'Merry Maids?' in the lead by a short margin. Then the food arrived! We had a carvery meal. Such a marvellous spread. A choice of four roast meats and all the trimmings freshly cooked for us. This was followed by chocolate brownies or sticky toffee pudding, both served with ice cream. The second and third rounds of skittles followed. It was a close call - 'The Wrong Notes' came into first place by a lead of only two points on their closest rivals. The overall winner was Jane Chilton's husband David who snatched the prize by one point from John Woodward. The evening finished at 10.00 with everyone saying what a fun filled evening it had been. Thank you everyone for making it such a joy. Susan Bawler, Social Secretary.
On March 25 Arundel Cathedral echoed with a Mass and Missa Brevis (short Mass). Not unusual at this time of year. But these were Masses with a difference. The traditional words have been re-set to music with a jazz rhythm by a living British composer, Will Todd. With a soprano soloist soaring up above the staves and accompanied by the composer and his big band, this performance of Mass in Blue and Jazz Missa Brevis was an event to remember. Jim Hurdwell writes in the Gazette and Herald 'Congratulations to the Chorale for their enterprise in bringing Will Todd and his music to Arundel – it was a revelation which will, hopefully, be repeated!' For the full review click here, and see our Facebook page for a selection of pictures.
At our concert in Arundel Cathedral in November 2016 we asked audience members to complete a brief questionnaire
about our venues and music choices. Our thanks to the 120 people who completed and returned the questionnaires.
The results will help us to provide the concerts that you will enjoy. Choir members can see a summary of the responses
on the Members' page.
The prize draw for 2 concert tickets has been made and the winner notified.
We were greatly honoured to have been invited, once again, to take part in the annual Brandenburg Choral Festival in 2017. We performed a mix of great oratorios and choral classics in St Paul's Church, Covent Garden, known widely as the Actors' Church. Our performance was on Saturday this time, Saturday 4 February 2017. We were whisked by coach into London, where we set up the seating in the church before scouting the area. Then rehearsal in the church before a well earned meal, with the performance beginning at 7.30pm. Finally carried smoothly by the same coach back home, arriving around midnight still on a high.
Jim Hurdwell writes, for The Gazette: Unlike many of the Chorale’s concerts, this one was entirely home-grown without guest soloists and accompanied, with customary aplomb, by their own pianist, Alison Manton. The programme fully lived up to its billing and we heard 19 of the “Greatest Choral Classics” all of which were sung with great conviction by some 70 members of the Choir. To read the full review, click here.
On 3 January over half of the choir met at Ham Manor Golf Club for our first social activity of 2017. Organised by Susan Bawler and compered by quiz master Stewart, we congregated around the bar to fill our glasses, sat at the tables with our choice from 3 dishes for supper and then attempted to answer the questions called out by Stewart. Finally, before announcing the results, there was a round of standing lotto in which everyone stands until one of the numbers on their card is called, whereupon they sit. The last one standing, Gill Heaton, was the winner and the quiz winning table included Gill and our organiser Susan. A great evening!
Diane Kearsey writes: What a fun filled action packed evening it was on Sat 10th December, when Angmering Chorale along
with the Patcham Silver Band and children’s choirs came together at Angmering School for Carols for Christmas.
Although the Chorale were hosting, it was undoubtedly the children who stole the show. A combined choir of
61 pupils from three schools (Rose Green Primary; Towers Convent School and Swiss Gardens Primary) delivered
a repertoire ranging from Mary’s Little Boy Child to Rock Around the Shops. Each carol was sung beautifully
with infectious enthusiasm. The remarkable thing is that the children had only sung together as one choir
on the Saturday afternoon rehearsal, that they should sound so wonderfully in tune with one another must be
attributed to their teachers, Sarah Lloyd of Rose Green, Michelle Woodward from Swiss Gardens and Heidi Gray,
Nicky Hanks, Kate Woodard from The Towers Convent School. The time and skill commitment of all those
involved certainly paid off because as George Jones, Musical Director of Angmering Chorale, said
‘this was the best singing from children’s voices he had heard in a long time’.
To read the full review, click here.
The evening opened with the presentation of certificates to 3 members of the Chorale who have completed 40
years with us.
We were delighted to welcome over 20 members of Arun Choral Society, who joined us for our 40th
anniversary performance of the Verdi requiem in Arundel Cathedral on 26 November 2016. Also joining us
and equally welcome were tenors from other choirs, both near and far. They helped us to make this a
performance to remember! With a sell-out audience, 4 superb soloists and over 50 members of Sinfonia of Arun
accompanying us we were able to raise the cathedral roof! Performers and audience all agreed that the evening
was a fitting climax to our 40 years of music making.
Jim Hurdwell writes: The Angmering Chorale has been celebrating its 40th Anniversary Year in 2016 and, as a grand culmination of their festivities, chose a packed Arundel Cathedral to perform one of choral singing’s mega-works, Verdi’s spectacular Requiem. To read the full review, click here.
In Summer 2016 an intrepid group of choir members and relatives set off by coach for Paris. We gave two very successful concerts of Karl Jenkins' 'Motets'- one in La Madeleine in the centre of the city and the other in Val-de-Grace Church in the suburbs. We received a warm welcome from our audiences and thoroughly enjoyed singing in truly beautiful venues. We all enjoyed relaxing as well - especially a boat trip on the Seine and a lot of excellent eating and drinking! Our visit provided wonderful musical and social experiences which we shall remember for a long time.
The annual Brandenburg Choral Festival has, over the last seven years, become an established feature of the London musical scene, attracting fine choirs from all over the South. A huge variety of music is proffered, ranging from sacred to secular, classical to jazz, all taking place in some of the loveliest churches and other iconic venues throughout the Capital.
Angmering Chorale was proud to be invited once again, this time singing at the beautiful church of St James, situated appropriately enough in Sussex Gardens, Paddington. We were welcomed by charismatic overall Artistic Director Bob Porter, and in celebration of Sir Karl Jenkins' 50 years in music and the Chorale's own 40th in 2016, we chose to sing excerpts from our Patron's latest work: 'Motets'. These were composed in 2014, the year of his 70th birthday.
This collection of 18 sacred unaccompanied songs is based on some of his finest works, including The Armed Man, Adiemus, Stabat Mater and the orchestral piece Palladio. A new work, Locus Iste (This Place), was added shortly before publication, and the whole set is dedicated to Karl's son Jody.
Interspersed with the various groups of songs, genial conductor George Jones engaged the sizeable audience with recollections of the Chorale's various other performances of Jenkins' music, notably The Armed Man at Arundel Cathedral in the presence of the composer, premieres in New York and Bayeux Cathedral, Normandy. The latter took place as part of the emotional commemorations of the D Day Landings, involving four international choirs and a French Brass Band, all conducted by George.
After welcome refreshments, we resumed the Motets, culminating with Nunc Dimittis (Now let your servant depart in peace). To complete our programme, however, we turned to Jenkins' equally popular British contemporary, John Rutter, for two of the five pieces from his up-lifting 'Feel the Spirit'. These were 'Joshua fit the Battle of Jericho' and 'When the Saints go Marching In'. Both were given the jazzy, up-tempo treatment with stylish accompaniment from Alison Manton and alongside the ladies, some full-bodied singing from the gentlemen! The audience was invited to join the final refrain, with gusto!
So began and ended an eventful January day in London, exhausting but exhilarating, enjoyed by performers and audience alike.
In May 2014 the Chorale was extremely honoured to be invited to join Chorale de Ouistreham (France),
La Rivelaine (Braine l'Alleud, Belgium), Oratorienchor Aschaffenburg (Germany), VHS Kammerchor de Loch am Main
(Germany) and L'Imperial Brass Band (France) for two multinational performances of Karl Jenkins'
The Armed Man - a mass for peace, at Ouistreham - site of Sword Beach - and in Bayeux Cathedral.
Kicking off the commemorations that were to culminate with the arrival of international leaders for
ceremonies on 6 June, the massed choirs were piped to the Pegasus Bridge to sing the European Anthem, planted
trees in English, Belgian and German "squares" in Ouistreham and were rewarded by packed audiences with
standing ovations at both performances. Rehearsals with all the choirs were great fun and Chorale de
Ouistreham were cordial and generous hosts. Processing on and off stage following bagpipes, reflecting the
pipers who led the troops who captured Pegasus Bridge, was a moving, and novel, experience.