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2022

1 March 2022
Song for Ukraine
21 February 2022
#22for22 Update
7 February 2022
The Armed Man

2021

16 December 2021
#22for22 is launched
4 December 2021
Christmas is Back! with a brassy bang!
6 November 2021
714 Days... Back in Concert
27 October 2021
660 Days... We're Back
4 October 2021
Annual General Meeting
1 August 2021
2021/22 Season Launched
7 June 2021
Expanding the Canon
18 May 2021
Live Singing started ... stopped
17 May 2021
Fridays and the Future
14 April 2021
Virtual Video
12 April 2021
Summer in the Alps
26 March 2021
Fridays at Four - Spring Done
9 March 2021
International Women's Day
22 February 2021
Cooking up a Feast
12 February 2021
Centenary Classics
11 January 2021
Classical Classics

2020

31 December 2020
Christmas Choral Alphabet
17 December 2020
Christmas Singing and Quiz
4 December 2020
Experts - Angel, Nun, and Priest
2 November 2020
Concerto for Ten
22 October 2020
Virtual AGM
14 September 2020
How can I keep from singing?
7 September 2020
An Angel, a Nun, and a Red Priest
29 August 2020
Choral Alphabet reaches 3000
27 July 2020
Virtual Quiz Time
1 July 2020
Our MD begins with RLSBC
8 June 2020
Howells in Lockdown
9 March 2020
Committee Changes
9 January 2020
New Appointment for our MD
6 January 2020
Choral Evensong in Oxford

2019

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Viva Venice! Choir on Tour

On our Flight from Luton
 
Travelling to St Mark's by Private Boat

Over five days last week more than seventy members of the choir visited Venice to sing a Mass at St Mark’s Basilica for Ascension Day, and also spent a day in Padua giving a concert performance in the sumptuous acoustic of the tenth-century church of St Nicolò. At both events they sang four unaccompanied motets - two by British/Irish composers, and two by Venetian-school composers.

Getting ready for the Marriage of the Sea
 
Breakfast at the Hotel

In the concert in Padua the choir additionally performed Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem, a work the choir has recently recorded, and will launch in a concert performance on Saturday 8 July. The first motet - God is gone up by Arthur Hutchings (1906-89) was a relatively simple affair for the choir (even in the elevated key of C major), but the second O Rex gloriæ by Andrea Gabrieli (1532-85) was in a polyphonic style not often encountered by the large choral society, and stretched us into five parts. The third motet - Cœlos ascendit hodie by Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924) was already known to the choir from their performance of it at the Mass at the Vatican in 2011, and so the double-choir eight-part writing was not a particular challenge. The same couldn’t be said of the final motet - Buccinate in Neomenia tuba by Giovanni Croce (1557-1609) where the double-choir, eight-part writing was much more challenging, especially in its quick syncopations and polyrhythms. Nevertheless, even in the huge acoustics of St Mark’s Basilica the dancing sound world came across. We were delighted to receive a round of applause from the congregation as we concluded our participation in the Mass, and Canons Camilotto and Barlese praised the choir for their singing, and invited us back to sing again.

After our Concert in Padua
 
Before Mass at St Mark's

Gabriel Fauré’s (1877-1962) Requiem was far less of a challenge, though the large number of singers in the choir meant that we had to stand at the back of the church of St Nicolò in order to balance with the organ (situated in a gallery at the back of the church) and to allow sightlines with our wonderful organist Alvise Pellegrini, who lives and works in the UK (and regularly accompanies the choir at Olney where our MD is also Director of Music), but who hails from Padua, and was able to secure the opportunity to sing in this fine church. Alison Barnes and Michael Waterfield sang the soprano and baritone solos with style and aplomb, and we received generous and hearty applause from the audience.

Our Communial Meal
 
After Mass at St Mark's

As well as our musical performances, there was plenty of “tourist time” for us; our hotel was in Mestre - a 15 minute journey by Bus or Tram from Venice - and supplied us with superb breakfasts and a communal first evening meal upon our arrival. Some of us even caught a glimpse of the special Marriage of the Sea ceremony which took place on Ascension when the Mayor of Venice has for two-hundred years (and the Doge of Venice for eight-hundred years before that) has symbolically cast a ring, consecrated by the Patriarch of Venice, into the sea, and with the words "Desponsamus te, mare, in signum veri perpetuique domini" ("We wed thee, sea, as a sign of true and everlasting domination") declared Venice and the sea to be indissolubly one.

The Doge's Palace