Category Archives: choir

Choir tour: preparing the music for first class concerts on tour. 

We depart for our Burgundy choir tour on Friday! We hope that you will enjoy following our tour blog.

The most important part of the tour is the singing, so today we met at Moorpool Hall, Harborne for a 6 hour rehearsal.

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We performed  Schubert’s Mass in G and Mozart’s Ave Verum recently, but some other pieces from the past needed brushing up.

The tour music includes many choir favourites: Finzi’s My Spirit sang all day, MacMillan’s O Radiant Dawn, and John Blow’s Salvator Mundi, to name just three. A tour to France has to include some French works, so we are singing Cantique de Jean Racine by Faure and Messe ‘Cum Jubilo’ by Jean Dattas, former organist at Notre Dame in Paris and father of one of our second sopranos, Sylvie. We’ll tell you about the other music as the tour progresses!

Singers enjoying the sunshine during a break in rehearsal.

Marking the end of the 2015/16 season

Our AGM took place yesterday (13th July), with end of year reports and elections of new committee members. We said a special ‘thank you’ to Tim, who has been such a hard working Chair for the last 5 years, and Marianne, who has retired as membership secretary after many years on the committee. Both have played a very important role in the life of the choir.

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There was then some excitement as we prepared to present our gifts to our departing Music Director, Patrick Larley! Patrick has been with us for 11 years, and he and several singers referred to highlights of that period: the Elijah concert in the newly refurbished Town Hall, Bach’s B minor Mass, Fanshaw’s Pacific Song, (complete with garlands and actions) The Creation at the International Haydn Festival in Bridgnorth and, of course, the world premiere of ‘The Birmingham Spirituals’, commissioned from Patrick by BFCS.

We sang him our new version of Maxwell Davies’ ‘Lullaby for Lucy’, with Ali Bann’s new words ‘Lullaby for Larley’! A framed version of the song was presented to him by Ali afterwards. Patrick was also presented with a Photobook of memories, a symbolic tree with messages written by individual singers, and a token, with the suggestion of purchasing a real plum tree. Margund presented some framed pictures she had sketched, and finally Patrick’s supportive wife, Gill was presented with a bouquet.

We’re pleased that this wasn’t quite the final farewell for many of us, as Patrick and Gill are coming on our choir tour to Burgundy at the end of July- just one week from now!

A full church to hear ‘A Taste of Vienna’.

St George’s was full when Birmingham Festival Choral Society gave their last Birmingham concert with Patrick Larley as Music Director. It was extra special to perform Mozart’s beautiful ‘Ave Verum corpus’, and we all enjoyed singing the Masses by Schubert and Mozart. The sopranos and altos also sang Schubert’s ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’, which was a special treat.

We were delighted to welcome back our Conservatoire soloists, Elouise Waterhouse, Robert Tilson and Alistair Donague for a third concert with us. Sarah Ann Cromwell first sang with us ten years ago, when she was a Conservatoire student. Her singing of Mozart’s Exsultate Jubilate was one of the highlights of yesterday’s concert!

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Rehearsal for ‘A Taste of Vienna’

Farewell to Patrick Larley

Our ‘Taste of Vienna’ concert on 9th July will bring to an end Patrick Larley’s 11 years as  Music Director of Birmingham Festival Choral Society. We hope that you will be able to come and share our last Birmingham concert conducted by Patrick.

The choir has really benefited from Patrick’s  weekly tuition in singing technique, and we have appreciated his unfailing courtesy and good humour in rehearsals. We have sung some wonderful concerts under his direction, with a wide range of choral music in many lovely venues.

The final event will be our choir tour to Burgundy, when Patrick will conduct us in concerts in Auxerre, St Julien du Sault and Vezeley. What a lovely way to finish!

Patrick