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WINTER’S SNOW

Birmingham Festival Choral Society presents our ever popular Christmas charity concert!

Come and share Christmas music and carols, followed by festive refreshments.

A collection will be taken for the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust.

Saturday 16th December 6pm

St John’s and St Peter’s Church, Ladywood ARC, Darnley Road, Birmingham, B16 8TF

Birmingham Festival Choral Society.

Conductor: David Wynne.

Organist: Kevin Gill

 

Tickets £10 (under 18s free).  Click here for tickets.

 

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‘Mozart Requiem’ – 18th November!

We do hope that you will be able to come to hear two beautiful works of choral sacred music at the next  Birmingham Festival Choral Society concert.

Mozart’s much-loved Requiem will be performed by BFCS on 18th November, using Czerny’s beautiful, and rarely-heard, accompaniment for piano (four hands).

Mozart died at only 35 – poignantly, whilst working on his Requiem Mass. The mysterious circumstances around his last days formed the basis of the film ‘Amadeus’. The Requiem is a serene epitaph to a supremely gifted and revered composer.

In contrast, Ralph Vaughan Williams lived until his mid-80s. His Mass in G Minor, the other work in the concert, is notable for being the first Catholic Mass to be written in England since the Reformation. His experiences shortly before, as an ambulance driver in in the first World War, must surely have had some influence on the contemplative style of the piece. The Mass reflects the style of Byrd and other great Elizabethan church composers which was enjoying a revival in the early 20th century. It was first performed as a concert piece in Birmingham in 1922, and was first used as an integral part of the Mass in Westminster Cathedral in 1923.

Click here for tickets to Mozart Requiem.

MOZART REQUIEM

Saturday 18th November 7.30pm

Ladywood ARC, St John’s and St Peter’s Church.
Darnley Rd
Birmingham
West Midlands
B16 8TF

Mozart: Requiem 

Czerny’s four-hand piano accompaniment: Kevin Gill and Stephen Hargreaves.

Vaughan Williams: Mass in G minor

for unaccompanied double choir.

Vaughan Williams: Rhosymedre (organ)

Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on Greensleaves (KG and SH, piano)

Vocal soloists from the Birmingham Conservatoire: Olivia Thornber, Elise Fairley, Jack Dolan and Joseph Clayton

Birmingham Festival Choral Society.

Conductor: David Wynne.

 

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Come to our Open Rehearsal on 6th September!

The first Wednesday of term is always an Open Rehearsal. Come and have a sing with us! It doesn’t matter whether it’s years since you sang at school, or whether you’re a regular singer – all are welcome to try us, with no obligation. Chat to our singers over coffee and cake in the interval.

We are a friendly choir of men and women with a wide range of ages and abilities, united by a love of singing. This term we’ll be learning the Mozart Requiem and Vaughan Williams Mass in G minor for our November concert, followed by Carols for Christmas.

You can find more details about joining BFCS here: Join our choir

As well as giving concerts in Birmingham and the Midlands, we tour abroad every 3 years – great for singing experiences, as well as strengthening choir friendships. Further information can be found on our Tours page: Tours

The Open Rehearsal starts at 7pm on Wednesday 6th September – we hope to see you there!

 

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BFCS singers sightseeing during their tour in Burgundy, France. July 2016.

Carmina! How did it sound?

From the Birmingham Post, 22nd June 2017:

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Reviews sent to our website , from members of the audience.

Superb! I’m not musically trained but I’ve been listening to 
classical music for decades 
& have heard a number of recordings of the Orff. 
A live performance is audibly preferable – even if the production 
is less to one’s taste. 
THIS was so strikingly superior and “live” to any recording I’ve 
ever heard – plus we could 
see how the less featured instruments actually perform. 

The joint choir, the juniors and the soloists were powerful, 
subtle and convincing. 
We thought it an excellent experience for the young singers to be 
there in the midst of the 
whole performance – and weren’t they mature throughout! 

The Bernstein was entirely new to us, again, convincing in its 
linguistic variety and engrossing. 

As to what can be released from a Pandora’s suitcase! And how 
they acted their parts in it! 
An astounding evening we would not have missed. 

*****

A wonderful Saturday evening at the Bramall.
A warm (very) summer’s evening, a perfect setting in the University, an audience bursting with anticipation—-and amazing performances by everyone.
The sound was quite literally stupendous—it amazed and dazzled and overwhelmed….
Everyone involved must be—and quite rightly—very proud….

*****

A brief note to say how much we enjoyed the concert on Saturday. 

The Chichester Psalms were new to us and a little challenging. The percussion was excellent and superb entertainment. Carmina Burana was magnificent. Congratulations to all who took part.

The looks on the childrens’ faces at the percussionists’ faces was almost worth the ticket price alone. 
We frequently attend your concerts – travelling from Nuneaton.
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Two cities come together in song.

 

‘Two Cities, One Voice’

The Bramall was packed for our second concert with Liverpool Welsh Choral on Saturday! 400 people in the audience, and 250 on stage were eagerly awaiting our big ‘Carmina’ concert.

In the first half was Leonard Bernstein’s ‘Chichester Psalms’, a work with beautiful melodies and contrasting discordant passages with complex rhythms. 13 year old James Corcoran was our soloist, singing the Hebrew version of ‘The Lord’s my shepherd’. The Mixed Metal Percussion Ensemble then amused us with a clever item ‘Suitcase of Sounds’.

It was a warm night, so people were pleased to spill outside into Chancellor’s Court to enjoy interval drinks and conversation in the evening sun.

 

Carmina Burana was the showpiece in the second half! Three choirs singing the famous ‘O Fortuna’ was a powerful opening to the work!

‘O Fortuna’ sings of the Wheel of Fortune – the ups and downs of life. Our posters had all used the image of a fragment of a medieval fresco in Rochester Cathedral, depicting the Wheel of Fortune. It was most interesting to meet a man in the interval who had come to the concert as a result of seeing one of our posters. This image had attracted his attention immediately, as he had been a pupil at the Cathedral School in Rochester, and looked at that fresco on the wall many, many times!

The programme used the image of a screenprint ‘O Fortuna’, made by one of our former sopranos , Norma Southwick, some years ago.

It was good to sing the whole work, as well as O Fortuna at the beginning and the end. The tenors and basses had a particularly large part to sing in the Taverna section. Sam Oram, our baritone soloist, sang the solos in the drunken scene with great conviction!

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The children’s choir in Carmina Burana, drawn from David and Alexandra Wynne’s junior choirs at St Chad’s Cathedral and the Junior Conservatoire, provided an important contribution, and sang their part with confidence.

Edward Harrisson (tenor) and Loretta Hopkins (soprano) both sang very demanding solos with ease.

Finally, the whole scene, with Kevin Gill and Stephen Hargreaves playing the two pianos, Mixed Metal Percussion Ensemble, the soloists and the three choirs, all under David Wynne’s clear and confident direction. Bravo!

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Birmingham Festival Choral Society and Liverpool Welsh Choral thoroughly enjoyed singing these choral works, and the visits to each others cities has led to warm friendships between the two choirs. It has taken a lot of work for the organisers over two years, but it was definitely worth it! Here’s to the next time!

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Message from the MD of Liverpool Welsh Choral, Keith Orrell

Well done everyone last night. Two great concerts and many happy friendships and musical highs. All the best BFCS.

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Carmina – this Saturday!

Following our very successful concert in Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall, we’re really looking forward to singing again with Liverpool Welsh Choral on Saturday (17th June). The Liverpool singers will join us on the stage of the Elgar Concert Hall, Bramall Music building, to sing Carmina Burana and the Chichester Psalms once again.

The Lord Mayor of Birmingham and her consort will be there – we hope you will be too!

Click here for ‘Carmina’ tickets.

We will also be joined by young singers from David’s Wynne’s Junior Choirs at St Chad’s and the Birmingham Conservatoire.

The soloists will be Loretta Hopkins, Samuel Oram and Edward Harrison.

 

Simplified Carmina

 

A warm welcome for our singers in Liverpool!

“Two Cities, One Voice” finally became a reality last weekend, when 69 singers from Birmingham Festival Choral Society travelled to Liverpool to sing with the Liverpool Welsh Choral.

The weekend events started with a joint rehearsal on Saturday, led by David Wynne, followed by food and socialising outside with the friendly singers of the Liverpool choir. The campus of Liverpool Hope University looked beautiful in the evening sun.

 

 

Singers dispersed to various Liverpool Hotels for the night, or were guests of Liverpool singers. Sunday morning was taken up with a 3 hour rehearsal led by Keith Orrell, the MD of the Liverpool choir. This was the first time that all of the forces for Carmina Burana had been brought together – the two big choirs, the chamber choir of Belvedere Academy, the percussion group and harpist, soloists Katherine Blumenthal, Elgan Llr Thomas and Gareth John, and pianists Kevin Gill and Stephen Hargreaves.

The Sunday afternoon concert was an amazing experience for everyone involved! The tiredness from the morning was soon forgotten, and we pulled out all the stops to sing the rhythmic and beautiful music of the Chichester Psalms, which was followed by lovely solo items from the Chamber Choir and the harpist. After the interval – the big finale, Carmina Burana! The men of both choirs deserve a special mention for the complex and difficult parts they sang so well in both works.The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Liverpool, our families and friends from Liverpool and Birmingham gave long applause at the end, and we boarded the coach back to Birmingham with those lovely tunes going round in our heads.

We look forward to the return leg on 17th June, when we will be the hosts to welcome Liverpool Welsh Choral to the Bramall Music Building at the University of Birmingham. We can’t wait to sing those amazing choral works again!

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Some feedback from Liverpool :

From Belvedere Head of Music :

Thank you to everyone today for making such a memorable and amazing experience for our girls. The concert was fantastic. Thank you for inviting us.

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From our guests :

A MESSAGE FROM HER MAJESTY’S LORD-LIEUTENANT OF MERSEYSIDE 

Dear Barbara, Sundays concert at the Philharmonic Hall was absolutely splendid. Two of my favourite works and I have never heard them performed better.

Thank you for asking us to be part of it. Please pass on my thanks to all concern.

Best wishes, Dame Lorna

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From Guy Kelland ( sponsor):

I was glad that we could help support what was a fantastic event, everybody is so talented. Both myself and my guests had a super time…keep singing!

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From our audience/members :

Just wanted to congratulate you and LWC on an absolutely amazing concert. Very well done to all. 

I was in the audience yesterday for the concert, and enjoyed every second of it. Friends in the audience, who had not been to our concerts in the past, were as impressed as I was.  You must feel very proud of the choir, I look forward to regaining my fitness level, so that I can again be part of such a wonderful choir

Thank you  for such an enjoyable concert yesterday, a resounding success, well done!

Our friends from Australia loved it and described it as ‘electrifying’ and ‘fantastic’ whilst a total stranger stopped me outside and said that she’d really enjoyed every minute of the afternoon. I hope all goes as well in Birmingham.

Firstly, what a great concert yesterday!  I really enjoyed performing as
I’m sure the rest of the choir did too, and what complimentary words we
received from Huw!  It makes it all worthwhile when you receive good
feedback from the audience, doesn’t it?

Thought we were amazing. Tim was very complementary (a harsh critic) said the diction was teally clear. All good comments from everyone I’ve spoken to.

WOW!!!….still singing all over after super concert. Choir was in excellent form, well supported by instrumentalists and amazing Belvedere  children. Shame  it was not a full house. Must have been upsetting facing so many empty seats.Hope the message gets home where needed!!!

I don’t usually respond after a concert, but I was quite emotional after today’s performance as I felt the joint choirs sang from their hearts + the deliverance was good – I hope you did too.

Wow! wow! wow! What a fabulous experience. Never known anything like it and we’ve had some marvellous concerts. My husband John was even singing all the way home. Thank you for such a brilliant day and all your hard work with us. Sure Birmingham will be excellent too.

 

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BFCS in Liverpool

 

 

 

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Two Cities, One Voice.

After two years of planning, our collaboration with Liverpool Welsh Choral is finally coming together! LWC’s Music Director, Keith Orrell, came to Birmingham last Wednesday to take our rehearsal, and this weekend 86 BFCS singers will travel to Liverpool for the first of our two joint Carmina Burana concerts.

We are all looking forward to meeting the Liverpool singers for a rehearsal on Saturday, followed by a Hog Roast and Quiz. At 2.30pm, following a Sunday morning rehearsal, the choir of 200 will sing Carmina Burana and the Chichester Psalms in Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall. What an occasion!

Information about the return concert in Birmingham on Saturday 17th June can be  found elsewhere on this Website. We hope that you will be able to join us in Liverpool or Birmingham for this exciting programme!

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Come to our Open Rehearsal!

 

Do you love singing? Come and try a choir practice with Birmingham Festival Choral Society! (No obligation). Chat to our singers over coffee and cake in the interval.

We are a friendly mixed choir who sing a wide variety of the world’s best classical choral music. We’ll be learning Carmina Burana and Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms this term, in preparation for concerts with the Liverpool Welsh Choral.

As well as concerts in Birmingham and the Midlands, we tour abroad every 3 years – great for singing experiences, as well as strengthening choir friendships.

We look forward to meeting you!

OPEN REHEARSAL

Wednesday 26th April, 7.00 for 7.15pm. Finishing time 9.30pm

Lordswood Girls School, Knightlow Road, Harborne, Birmingham B17 8QB  

Click here for map.

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