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Fund raising concert at Holy Trinity Church, Preston Wynne a tremendous success! (Posted 5th July 2017)

On Saturday 1st July a packed church raised over £1100 for the restoration fund of this little church in a field. The acoustic was perfect for a lovely afternoon of music making provided by a chamber choir from Bromyard Choral Society conducted by Kate Cheetham and accompanied by James Wall. Music ranged from sacred to secular and included some toe-tapping gospel settings. Contrast was provided by the beautiful solo voices of youngsters Alice Burdsall and Isabella Powell who led everyone in Kum-ba-yah and Cockles and Mussels.

 

Haydn’s ‘Creation’ 60th Anniversary Concert (posted 1st July 2017)

On Saturday evening, 20th May, Bromyard Choral Society presented the first concert of its 60th season in St Peter’s Church.

To mark the diamond anniversary, the Society performed a shortened version of Haydn’s oratorio “The Creation”. The Society had performed the work at its inaugural concert and again in 2007.  For this performance the oratorio was accompanied by the organ, with John Jenkin producing a lovely range of registrations to suit the changing moods within the piece. The three soloists, all graduates of Birmingham Conservatoire, not only sang their solos very beautifully but blended  well in the duets and trios, which are a feature of Haydn’s composition. Under their new conductor, Kate Cheetham, the choir gave their all to produce a series of carefully prepared choruses, which were delivered with aplomb on the night.

At the end of the programme the Chairman of the Society thanked all those who had contributed to the success of the concert, with a special vote of thanks to John Jenkin, who was giving his final performance with Bromyard Choral Society.

By singing this shortened version, the performance was presented without an interval and at the end the audience had the opportunity to join with all the singers for a finger buffet and drinks.  All around, one could hear the enthusiastic remarks on the very high quality of the performance so everyone went home happy.  What a musical treat!

 

Diamond Anniversary Dinner, speech by President Pat Taylor (posted 1st July 2017)

60 YEARS OF CHORAL SINGING

May the music we make come from our hearts

And may the music we hear enrich our souls

But most of all,

May we share the music to lift the spirits of those we meet

And bring harmony to the world around us.

(Susan Over)

“What do the Baptist Church Hall, the Church Institute and the Grammar School have in common? They were all once rehearsal homes to the Bromyard Choral Society, (originally Bromyard & District Choral Society) who this year is celebrating 60 years of singing.  Members and friends of the Society were hugely entertained by Pat Taylor, President and founder member, in her speech at the Society’s Diamond Anniversary Dinner on Saturday 18th March at the Falcon Hotel.

Some of Pat’s memories included rats running underfoot during rehearsals and a lady who gave more attention to her knitting than the music on her lap, to the despair of conductor Sgt Nunn.  The Choir have made the Methodist Church Hall their home since 1976 and, currently, there are neither rats nor knitting in evidence.”

Pat concluded her speech reading out part of a poem from Music and Mayhem – A Musician’s Prayer, as quoted above. She then cut a celebration cake provided by the Falcon, for which many thanks.

After dessert an impromptu concert followed, introduced by Rob Hollis and Radio 4’s “I haven’t a Clue’s” “Samantha”, consisting of several acts based on the theme of “Diamonds” (of course) one of the most notable being a rendition of “Diamonds are Forever” by Miss Shirley Batty. The evening ending with voices upraised to ABBA’s “Thank you for the Music” which even the collapsing of the music stand could not spoil.  A most enjoyable evening with good friends, good food and good music and in ABBA’s words we all say Thank you for the music.

 

Popular Christmas Concert 2016 (posted 1st July 2017)

For the final concert of its 59th season Bromyard Choral Society offered a packed audience in the Conquest Theatre on 3rd December 2016 “A Christmas Mince Pie”, a miscellany chosen from its lighter repertoire, with readings interspersed among the musical items.

Under the direction of their new Conductor, Kate Cheetham, the first part included traditional songs, two arranged for the choir by their former conductor, Richard Popple, and more substantial pieces by Faure and Richard Rogers.  Before the concert and during the interval mince pies, cooked by various members of the Society, were offered to the audience.  The second part included pieces more directly associated with Christmas with a variety of carols, and rounded off with Vaughan-Williams Fantasia on Christmas Carols.  Throughout the evening the audience was very enthusiastic and, perhaps, a little surprised at the range of music put before them.  As they left the theatre many of the audience expressed their pleasure after a very good evening out.

Kate, also the Musical Director of Cradley Singers, has been warmly welcomed by the Choral Society which is celebrating their Diamond Anniversary this year with a performance of “The Creation” by Franz Joseph Haydn on Saturday 20th May 2017 at 7.30 p.m. in St Peter’s Church.  The performance will be followed by a glass of wine for all and time to reflect on both the performance and 60 years’ of the Society’s continued success.

 

New Principal Conductor (appointed September 2016)

After seeing off half a dozen other applicants (two of them after competitive interviews and full-choir auditions), Kate Cheetham has been appointed as BCS’s new Principal Conductor, taking up the position in September 2016 following the retirement of Sir Richard Mynors after the hugely successful performance of Elgar’s The Kingdom in May (see below).

 

More on The Kingdom (posted 1st June 2016)Christian_Aid_Thank_You

Here is the Hereford Times story, and a thank-you from Christian Aid.

Presentation
Jill Stone receives the final cheque for Christian Aid (Photo – Denis Teal)

 

Superb fundraising result for The Kingdom concert (posted 23rd May 2016)

When our Chairman and Treasurer sat down last week to go through the final fundraising results from the 30th April performance of The Kingdom, (more below) they could hardly believe what emerged.  The surplus on the concert itself came to a little over £3,860 – a quite stunning amount given that we were worried on the day whether we would sell enough further seats at the door to allow us just to have covered the costs.  Taking account of the various direct donations to Christian Aid linked with the event, and the gift aid tax rebate that they can claim, this means that the total amount raised by the joint efforts of everyone involved with the performance exceeds £6,860.  “Well done all” doesn’t really say enough!

Jill Stone, Christian Aid’s Regional Co-Ordinator for Herefordshire, came to Bromyard on 23rd May to receive the cheques from Chris Jarman (Chairman Bromyard Choral Society) and Sue Embrey (Chair, Ledbury Choral Society), and was absolutely delighted.

You can download here the press release put out by Christian Aid, and the final financial analysis.

 

A real accolade for Elgar’s The Kingdom (posted 3rd May 2016)

The Kingdom - Hereford Cathedral
Awaiting the conductor and soloists (Photo – Jo Kennedy)

The joint performance of The Kingdom on 30th April with Ledbury Choral Society was hugely appreciated by the 400+ audience and by the performers alike.  As yet the financial outcome remains to be quantified, as probably the largest invoice has yet to arrive, and we also await the outcome of an insurance claim for the late replacement of our tenor soloist – Jon Weller was indisposed and we were very grateful to Justin Lavender for stepping in at short notice.  But we are quietly confident that a healthy surplus over costs will turn out to have been raised for Christian Aid – in addition to cheques direct to Christian Aid which we had received beforehand, amounting to a stunning total of £2,200, and the cash collection on the night by the Christian Aid volunteers which came to around £217.  More news will be posted here when available.

 

Meanwhile, the Head of Music at Hereford Cathedral School, some of whose students took part in the concert with us, has written the following compliment:

From the Quire it was exceptional, with a very full Elgarian sound and super crystal clear soloists. I have written to Richard to say how well it was received, and even those hardened ex choristers who were rather sceptical about the work found much in it and gained enormously from the experience. It is lovely to think that those people who performed on Saturday are exactly the people who Elgar would have written for!

 

Carol-singing round Bromyard (posted 22nd December 2015)

Thank-you to all who participated in singing carols at Highwell House and Whitegates, to the delight of the residents, and even more so to those stalwarts who went on to sing carols round the pubs of Bromyard (well, and partake of a little refreshment on the way!).  The latter excursion raised a total of £218.69 for the Mayor’s Charity – well done all!  Our thanks are also due to the staff at Whitegates who laid on a terrific spread for us to encourage us on our way.

 

Bromyard keeps its end up! (posted 24th November 2015)

Two members of Bromyard Choral Society were among the chorus of 300 (including the whole choirs of Hereford, Worcester and Gloucester Cathedrals) invited by HRH Prince Charles to sing a gala concert at Buckingham Palace to mark the 300th anniversary of the Three Choirs Festival. See also the Hereford Times report

 

A treat for Bromyard despite some tricky runs! (posted 5th November 2015)

Despite clashing with the Rugby World Cup Final, and doubtless with a few local Halloween parties, nearly 100 singers from all over north Herefordshire converged on St. Peter’s Church, Bromyard, on Saturday 31st October for an informal “Come and Sing” event focusing on Handel’s well-known favourite, Messiah. The event was organised by Bromyard Choral Society and conducted by Sir Richard Mynors, ably accompanied by John Jenkin playing the organ that had been newly restored two years ago.

John Jenkin checks his mirror for the beat
John Jenkin checks his mirror for the beat

BCS members were outnumbered by visiting singers who had responded to advertisements published over the preceding few months. A special feature of the event was the invitation for participants registering by the end of September to volunteer to sing one or more of the solo arias. All in all twelve different soloists (three from within BCS itself) took part, aged from 17 to well past 70 and most points in between. Indeed two of these, Jane Bovell and Kate Andrew, kindly took on additional pieces at a couple of hours’ notice as a result of illness. Judging by the enthusiasm of the audience at the end of the early evening performance, the afternoon’s work on the sometimes tricky runs of notes had been well worth while, and everyone (audience and performers alike) left feeling they had enjoyed a real treat.

Richard Mynors conducts the assembled singers
Richard Mynors conducts the assembled singers

Welcoming the guests as the afternoon got under way, BCS chairman Chris Jarman remarked how many of those present were known to BCS members from other contexts, and expressed the hope that a number of the guests might join the society for future events. Richard Mynors underlined this message saying that Bromyard Choral Society is one of the friendliest choirs with which he has been associated. (Did this have something to do with the splendid array of cakes on offer when the time came for a refreshment break before the performance?!)