Choir Report 2017
In some ways, 2017 was a year of pushing boundaries, certainly musically, as we attempted and sang music that is far more difficult than we could have managed in many previous years. Some of this was due to the increasing capability and confidence of our younger singers, and some to a desire to return to more complex music that had sat for a number of years unused in the choir library. Certainly, both the “Requiem” by Victoria that we sang on Good Friday, and the “Mass for Four Voices” by Tallis that we sang during Singing Week were musically demanding and pushed the choir to its limits. But, in addition, we rediscovered pieces by Bairstow, Howells and Mendelssohn (amongst others) that required a lot of work to get ready, and learnt a host of new music to add to our repertoire. This meant that we had more pieces to choose from and allowed us to sing some glorious music at our Friday choral evensong services.
2017 also saw a number of comings and goings amongst the choir membership. It had been great to have Simon with us as Concentor for eight months, but in September he returned to university, and we bade farewell to Arianwen, Freya and Sacha who after many years of service (as choristers, choral scholars and organ scholar) also went off to university. However, it was great to see them all come back at Christmas to catch up on their singing! We also had a few new members join the choir and look forward to working with them in the future.
One of the most rewarding aspects of this year has been to see the way our trebles have really grown both technically and musically. In the first half of the year, we occasionally struggled at Vespers (which they sing on their own), but as the year progressed, so did their confidence and ability, and it has been great to see them taking on solo work. It was also good to see Daisy, Ffion, Sophie and Rebecca prepare for, and succeed in their RSCM Bronze Award examinations. The final reward for their efforts was when they (and choral scholar Sam who achieved his silver award) were presented with their certificates by the Bishop at the Diocesan Choral Festival in Newport Cathedral in October. Doubly satisfying as we were the only choir who had awards presented this year!
Singing Week saw us in residence at Rochester Cathedral where we had a wonderful time, both socially and musically. It retrospect, a full week (Monday-Sunday) was just too long, and we were on our knees by the end of it; but, we’re still talking about it as probably the best singing week ever! 2018 will be our nineteenth consecutive singing week as we go to Gloucester Cathedral.
Singing at least two full services a week, as well as “special” services is very demanding, particularly when you consider we only have one full practice a week. And yet, thanks to the commitment and enthusiasm of our choristers, we manage not only to maintain the choral tradition, but also keep expanding our work. It’s never easy, but it is incredibly rewarding, and if by our work we help others in their worship of Almighty God, it is worth it. We’re looking forward to the rest of 2018.