Covid and choirs – learning to cope

Covid and choirs – learning to cope

The news was full of heartbreaking images of overrun hospitals and desperate medics in Italy. As Trustees, we suddenly had an awesome responsibility for the safety of our singers. We talked for several days about what we should do in order to manage the risk for our more vulnerable members. It was March 2020 and the decisions we had to make seemed existential to the life of our Chorus. We followed the government guidance and put in measures to protect singers during rehearsals. Some members had already decided that the risk was too great for them and the number not coming to rehearsals increased. In the end there was no alternative to suspending activities when the venue for our next ... Read More

Sits and Stands

Sits and Stands

We were meant to remain on our feet during the tenor aria and wait for the next chorus. We stood quietly and dutifully held our folders at the right angle - a picture of choral professionalism. Our musical director was dealing with a lot of stuff - the orchestra, choir, soloists, tricky acoustics and the score. Maybe there was a sit we had failed to record or maybe he just thought we were looking a bit tired. Anyway, he gave a clear downward wave. There was a split-second of indecision before we all obeyed. The aria was beautiful but short and there was a growing sense of tension among the singers. This was clear from the tightening of shoulders and ... Read More

Four workshops with Hertfordshire Chorus

Four workshops with Hertfordshire Chorus

All workshops are on Wednesday evenings from 7.30 - 10pm at our regular rehearsal venue, Stanborough School, Lemsford Rd, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6YR Workshops cost £5 which includes music hire and tea and a chance to sample our excellent cakes! Elgar – The Music Makers This beautiful work is based on a poem ‘Ode’ by Arthur O'Shaughnessy and celebrates the importance of art to society. 30th October Haydn – Harmoniemesse Haydn’s last major work combines wind instruments with choral voices in this glorious ‘High Mass’. It is a vast work that is a joy to sing. 6th November Karl Jenkins – The Armed Man Jenkins composed this work as‘A Mass for Peace’ a commission for the Millennium celebrations and ... Read More

Porgy and Bess in Poland

Porgy and Bess in Poland

Hertfordshire Chorus has been asked to perform George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess in Wroclaw, Poland later this year. The choir will be joining leading conductor and renowned American specialist Wayne Marshall, the NFM Wrocław Philharmonic and top-quality soloists Indira Mahajan, Angela Renée Simpson, Ronald Samm and Kevin Short in the International FestivalWratislavia Cantans on Sunday 15thSeptember. The concert forms part of a year-long national project to commemorate the centenary of Poland regaining its independence after the First World War. Porgy and Bess was written in 1935, just two years before Gershwin’s untimely death at the age of only 38. The work was based on the novel Porgy by DuBose Heyward, with lyrics by Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward. It is considered to ... Read More

One Giant Leap – James McCarthy perspective

One Giant Leap – James McCarthy perspective

Inspiration and the desire to strive for a seemingly impossible goal can come from the most unexpected of places. Could anyone imagine today a President of the United States, or the leader of any country at all for that matter, unifying a nation behind a rallying cry for the spirit of adventure? John F Kennedy did just that in a speech in Houston, Texas, in September of 1962: ’Why, some say, the Moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may as well ask, why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? We choose to go to the Moon!’ We CHOOSE to go to the Moon. It can sometimes feel to us today that we are living ... Read More

Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival

Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival

The Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival is now into its 7th year. The 2018 Festival celebrates 'Brahms and Friends' and will feature music by Brahms, Mendelssohn and Schumann. The singers of Hertfordshire Chorus are delighted to have been asked to return again to sing Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem in the Finale concert on Sunday 23rd September 2018 at 8pm. Performers The Chorus will take to the stage with a marvellous line up of internationally acclaimed performers –Ailish Tynan, Soprano,Ben McAteer, Baritone, the Faust Chamber Orchestra and conductor Mark Austin. Historic Location The concert will take place in the Banqueting Hall of the Old Palace.  John Morton the Bishop of Ely built The Old Palace around 1485. The remaining wing contains the Banqueting Hall, ... Read More

Forty Years On – David Temple MBE

Forty Years On – David Temple MBE

David Temple MBE has been Musical Director for Crouch End Festival Chorus since 1984 and for Hertfordshire Chorus since 2000. But his musical life started long before that. 'My conducting adventure all began 40 years ago on July 1st 1978. I had been with the London Philharmonic Choir for 5 years and wanted to have a go at waving the baton.' David was a teacher at Goldbeaters Primary School and had identified a need for investment in musical instruments. He decided to put on a concert to raise money towards this cause. He chose the date, booked a slot at St Alphage's Church in Burnt Oak and set about finding performers. 'I had already used my long-suffering school pupils as ... Read More

War Horse Coventry Cathedral

War Horse Coventry Cathedral

Hertfordshire Chorus was very pleased to have been asked to sing in a special performance of War Horse – The Story In Concert  for BBC Radio 2 in the special venue of Coventry Cathedral on Friday 18th May 2018.  The concert was part of Coventry's Big Weekend Fringe Festival and was recorded for later broadcast. It also featured acclaimed actors Juliet Stevenson and Simon Callow and the wonderful BBC Concert Orchestra under the direction of conductor David Charles Abell. The story of the book and the play War Horse has been a huge success in recent years. The story is by now well-known – at the outbreak of World War One, Joey, Albert’s horse, is sold to the army and sent to ... Read More

Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival

Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival

Hertfordshire Chorus has been asked to sing in the final concert of this year’s Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival in September – the third time we have been invited in the seven years of the Festival. The Festival was launched in a special concert in the Marble Hall at Hatfield House recently and a small group of singers sang an extract from Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem as a taster for the performance of the full work in the Festival itself. The concert also featured fabulous performances by some of the people who will be appearing in the Festival, including cellist and Artistic Director of the Festival Guy Johnston, acclaimed tenor James Gilchrist and amazing pianists Anna Tilbrook, Tom Poster and ... Read More

History of a new commission – Michael Hurd The Phoenix and the Turtle

History of a new commission – Michael Hurd The Phoenix and the Turtle

The Canterbury Singers performed Michael Hurd's Music's Praise for their annual concert in the Chapter House in Canterbury Cathedral in 1973. Chris Godfrey is a bass who has been singing in the choir for 50 years. When the Musical Director, Anthony Stutchbury, chose the piece for a concert, Chris wrote to the composer to ask him if he would like to attend. As Michael Hurd lived in Liss, a two hour drive from Canterbury, Chris's wife, Janet, offered to provide him with a meal and a bed for the night. On the day of the performance a green MG sports car drew up and a youngish chap dressed in smart casuals, got out. Chris was surprised. 'I wasn't sure what a ... Read More

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