Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival

Hertfordshire Chorus at Hatfield House

A little taste of Brahms in the Marble Hall

 

About our engagement

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 choir at the festival in 2017 singing Haydn’s Creation

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 Melvyn Tan. 

Accompanying the post-concert reception

The choir then entertained all the guests with some unaccompanied singing at a reception held in the Long Gallery – “.. beautiful contributions to the evening ..” was just one of the plaudits we received and we now look forward to September and the main event in what is a very high quality four-day Festival.

The Festival

The theme for 2018 is Brahms and Friends. This year the festival will run from 20th September with the finale on the 23rd. The reputation of the festival has grown significantly in the seven years since it began. Music is high quality and played in atmospheric surroundings.

Hertfordshire Chorus 2018 concert calendar

We have some fantastic concerts in 2018 including a reflection on WW1 at Watford Colosseum with BBC Concert Orchestra, Sam West as narrator, to be broadcast on BBC radio 2. Read about our other 2018 concerts here.

 

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A Choir Unwrapped – From the Bass Section

A Choir Unwrapped – From the Bass Section

To sing bass with a top ranking choir requires a good voice, a loyal heart and a sense of humour.

The Hertfordshire Chorus bass section has a deep, rich sound and an enthusiasm for the wide-ranging and challenging repertoire the choir is called on to perform. Team work is paramount and this section sticks together even when the going is tough.

Hertfordshire Chorus singing at the BBC Proms

Basses In the Royal Albert Hall

David Temple MBE, the Chorus’s musical director, has a keen ear and a passion for excellence. This inspires all voice sections to ensure they are constantly improving. There are no passengers here.

Rehearsals are fun but no easy ride. David is meticulous and demands the best from all. At the beginning of the evening, after a full day’s work, most singers feel a little sluggish. They are fired up and exhilarated, however, by the end of the rehearsal – the perfect state of mind for a debrief in the pub.

Choral Quality

Entry to the Chorus is by individual audition, and everyone is re-auditioned every three years. It may feel intimidating but auditions are handled supportively and sensitively and all Chorus members are agreed that maintaining quality is vital.

That quality has enabled the Chorus to perform at the best venues, such as The BarbicanThe Royal Festival HallSt Albans Abbey and St John’s Smith Square. We continue to work with world-class orchestras and soloists and commission new music from talented modern composers such as Will Todd, James McCarthy and Roland Perrin.

Colin Blankfield, a bass who has sung with the choir for over 30 years, is very clear on the benefits.

‘I also sing with a chamber choir which is great but love singing the really big works too. Hertfordshire Chorus gives me the chance to perform these to a very high standard.’

Outreach

We have recorded several of our commissions and more traditional repertoire. These releases have attracted high praise from renowned critics and organisations.

Singing with the Chorus is a great way to support your community. We often work with local schools, from primary age to teenagers. This gives the students an opportunity to participate in a large-scale concert and get a taste for performing to a high standard.

The Chorus supports many charitable events – putting on concerts and raising funds.  We sing for The Willow Foundation every Christmas which is very popular.

Hertfordshire-Chorus-Willow-10k-October-2017

Singers running for Willow

Fitting Singing In

Singing with the Chorus is a commitment but there are so many benefits for health and well-being. Bass Julian Edwards, says ‘My wife tells me I’m a lot happier since I joined Hertfordshire Chorus’

Dr Paul Baker,  juggles work, family and playing cello with a local orchestra but knows the Chorus is worth the effort.  ‘We are a very good section and fortunate to have the opportunity to sing with such a wonderful choir without having to travel into London. Hertfordshire Chorus is really on a par with the best in the country.’

Social Life

In addition the social life is great. Chorus members are welcoming and supportive and lifetime friendships are common.

Steve Williams joined in 2003 to sing Mahler 8. ‘I enjoyed it so much I’m still here. After 45 years of choral singing I can honestly say that Hertfordshire Chorus is the best’

The Chorus is always looking for talent and encourages singers to try us out. If you sing with a chamber choir, another large chorus or have not sung for a while please get in touch. Main rehearsals are on Wednesday evenings between 7:30pm and 10:00pm. There are additional all day workshops and rehearsals depending on the current programme. Follow the link to find out how easy it is to try us out.

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