Will Todd’s Mass in Blue and Passion Music are very different from our usual repertoire, but we’re really loving those jazz rhythms and blues harmonies! Listen to our singers and Music Director talking about the Will Todd music we’re learning for the concert at the Ruddock Performing Arts Centre on 26th March.
We hope that you will enjoy listening to the beautiful Kyrie by Josef Gabriel Rheinberger, sung by the Birmingham Festival Choral Society virtual double choir.
The Kyrie is the first movement of Rheinberger’s most famous choral work, the Mass for double choir in E flat, (Cantus Missae) Op 109. Written in 1878, it recalls the old compositional style of alternating unaccompanied choirs , as used in late Renaissance Venice. Listening through stereo headphones is the best way to appreciate the full double choir effect .
Music Director: David Wynne
Rehearsal accompanist: Kevin Gill
Video Editor: Michael Cullen
Audio Editor: Gareth Howell
We hope that you will enjoy our performance of Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus, recorded individually in our own homes, and brought together with some digital magic.
Click the symbol in the bottom right corner to make the video fill the full screen.
Our last concert was in November, when we sang Handel’s Messiah to a packed audience in St Alban’s Church. The beginning of the concert was delayed while our front of house team ran around trying to find extra chairs and spaces to fit in the people who were still arriving. Who could imagine that now!
We had great plans for 2020, our 175th Anniversary, but the Covid-19 Pandemic put an end to all of that. But nothing will stop Birmingham Festival Choral Society singing, so we are proud to present our first Virtual Choir Performance to you.
Many thanks to David Wynne for leading us through this process, to Kevin Gill the accompanist, the BFCS singers who overcame the technological obstacles to make their recordings, and to Gareth Howell for putting it all together.
Sixty BFCS singers joined together for the first time on Zoom yesterday evening. It was lovely to see familiar faces on the screen, and to laugh together.
We knew that singing together as a choir would not be possible on Zoom, due to the different internet speeds, but muting our microphones and singing alone to the conducting of David, our Music Director, with a recorded accompaniment from Kevin, was definitely the next best thing. We started with a simple piece – but who knows what we will accomplish in the future!
Choirs involve so much more than just the actually singing. We really felt that we were together again, and we look forward to more zooming in the future.
Update 3.6.20. The scheme below was great for keeping us going, but we are now starting to do Wednesday rehearsals by zoom. Watch this space!
March 2020. To keep our voices in use, and for a bit of fun, we are suggesting a different piece from our repertoire each week for BFCS singers to practise. We will provide a link to the music on You Tube, and make the suggestion that we all sing it in our own homes at 7.30pm on a Wednesday, the time that BFCS would normally be meeting for rehearsal. We hope that it will help our choir to feel connected during these weeks when we can’t meet together. Some photos of singers joining in from home can be seen below.
Parry’s Blest Pair of Sirens is our sing-along work for Wednesday 27th May. We loved singing this English choral favourite in our concert ‘The English Choral Tradition’ in Warwick last July.
The rousing Dies Irae from Mozart’s Requiem is the piece we will be singing at 7.30pm next Wednesday, 20th March. We really enjoyed singing Mozart’s Requiem in St John’s and St Peter’s Church Ladywood in November 2017. We were accompanied by Kevin Gill and Stephen Hargreaves on the piano.
Stanford’s Beati Quorum Via is the work we will be singing on Wednesday 13th May 7.30pm. This beautiful work beings back lots of memories for BFCS singers, including singing it on tour in Romania in 2019 and in Slovenia in 2006.
Wednesday 6th May 7.30pm. The piece for this week is Bairstow’s ‘Let all Mortal Flesh Keep Silence’, which we sang last July at our concert in the Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick. We also sang it on tour in Romania: in Bucharest, in Sighisoara, in Brasov and, most memorably, in the courtyard of Dracula’s Castle in Transylvannia!
The first piece of music is the Kyrie from Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, which we’ve enjoyed singing so much in the first term of 2020, and planned to sing on 28th March 2020. We also have happy memories of singing it in the Adrian Boult Hall in 2010. If you wish to join in, we will sing it in our homes at 7.30pm on Wednesday 29th April.
Do you, or someone you know, fancy joining a choir – but aren’t quite sure? Why not come along to our Open Rehearsal on Wednesday 9th January? We’re a friendly group of men and women of all ages, united by a love of singing.
Come along to Lordswood Girls School at 7pm to have time to be welcomed, and introduced to someone in your voice part who will help guide you through the rehearsal. We’ll have a break for refreshments and socialising half way through. The rehearsal finishes at 9.30pm.
Click here for more information about joining our choir. We’d be grateful if you would pass this information on to anyone you think might be interested in our Open Rehearsal.
This is the concert we’ll be working towards this term. It includes some lovely choral classics , and some new works too. All wonderful to sing and enjoy!
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!
“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!
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.
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
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!
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.
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!
Wednesday 26th April, 7.00 for 7.15pm. Finishing time 9.30pm
Lordswood Girls School, Knightlow Road, Harborne, Birmingham B17 8QB
Visitors to the 50+show at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) were treated to two 30 minute performances of popular classics from BFCS in Harmony. The programme ranged from settings of ‘Ave Verum Corpus’ by Mozart and Elgar to ‘Joyful joyful’ from ‘Sister Act, which we had sung at a wedding last year. It was great fun – and the receptive audience included someone who came up to tell us that she had sung with the Birmingham Festival Choral Society many years ago, another who was interested in joining in the future, and others who asked for details for booking BFCS in Harmony.
BFCS in Harmony is a small offshoot of the big Birmingham Festival Choral Society (BFCS), and is available to hire for weddings, Christmas carol singing and other events. It is led by Margaret Jones, who also sings contralto in the big BFCS.
Contact details can be found by clicking here: Hire BFCS in Harmony