Presentation to Pamela

We made a presentation to Pamela who recently decided that it was the right time to leave the choir of which she was a founder member. David, our current chairman, paid tribute to Pamela who had been chair previously and her enormous contributions to the choir. A letter from April Cantelo (who had previously acted as voice coach to the choir) described her as a wonderful lady. Another letter from Margaret, one of the Friends of the choir and a former member, also reminded us of what Pamela had done for us. She had led us through good times and bad.

The money collected was sufficient to be able to arrange a day out to include a Garsington Opera with dinner and champagne showing the esteem in which she is held.

Passiontide Concert 2017

Performed on the 2nd April 2017

    • Purcell: O sing unto the Lord, Z44
    • Purcell: Rejoice in the Lord alway, Z49
    • Purcell: Thou knowest, Lord, Z58
    • Bach: Brandenburg Concerto, No. 3
    • Vivaldi: Nulla in Mundo, RV 630
    • Antonio Bononcini: Stabat Mater
    • Josef Rheinberger: Abendlied

Comments on the performance

Patrick Salisbury wrote:

Sebastian has certainly made his mark as last night’s concert clearly showed and amply demonstrated his ability to inspire a high level of musicianship in singers and players alike.. The opening Purcell work quickly revealed what a fine orchestra we now have and the soloists were entirely at one with the authentic style they established in the opening prelude. The choir’s confidence and quality was particularly evident when singing the beautiful but challenging unaccompanied six-part motet by Rheinberger.

Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No 3 was a brilliant and stylish performance that I found positively stunning! The verse anthem that completed the first part of the programme again demonstrated an inspired appreciation of Purcell’s wonderful music.

Penelope Appleyard’s beautiful singing of Vivaldi’s “Nulla in pax sincera” provided a perfect introduction to the “Stabat Mater” which made a great impression upon me. Great pains had been taken to express the utter devastation experienced by the Virgin Mary and the gradual transition to the inner feelings of the present day participant. Suitable restraint was shown where appropriate but, as in the “Virgo virginium”, the chorus were able to provide some sparkle as necessary. The soloists’ contributions were sensitively offered and well performed. Despite the very solemn nature of the work the performance offered ideal preparation for approaching Passiontide.

John Lofthouse, our Bass soloist, wrote:

to say thank you for last week’s concert. It was lovely to be back with you all again in Sutton Courtenay and to sing such an interesting array of music. The choir and orchestra were fantastic – so please pass on my thanks and admiration.

Another audience member wrote:

I was very kindly given a ticket to your most recent concert and to which I reluctantly went, but felt a duty to attend and support the singer who insisted I came.

“Bononcini” I said, “Never heard of him and oh dear amateur choirs; no thank you.”

How wrong can I be? The delightful setting of All Saints Church created just the right atmosphere, for both the choir and audience. The first Purcell work began in a joyful and energetic way as to easily portray the name “Bell Anthem”. What a great start; but to listen spellbound to the choir unaccompanied singing for the next two works, “Thou knowest Lord “and “Abendlied” was pure joy. Of course after such mesmerising singing it was impossible to applaud but boy, did I want to!

As if this wasn’t enough the orchestra playing Brandenburg 3 was pure delight. The very accomplished leader Elizabeth Nurse is a real find for you and she led the ensemble with authority and stylish virtuosity. I also enjoyed the somewhat operatic “O sing unto the Lord” to end the first half.

The wonderful setting of “Nulla in Mundo Pax”, was so deeply moving, sung brilliantly by Penelope Appleyard, and sensitively accompanied by the strings. Where do you find these wonderful musicians? The translation is “there is no peace in the world” How wrong can you be after hearing this?

Well, the “Stabat Mater” took me completely by surprise. I enjoyed every moment, the choir giving their all and singing with great sensitivity and direction. All four of your soloists were easy to listen to, nothing forced and a delight to watch. The singing of Clemmie Franks, in two beautiful arias had me spellbound. What a voice!

Many congratulations on a really fine performance and lovely evening. You have removed any doubts I might have had over your amateur status and I await your next performance with great pleasure.”