Making a Great Exhibition of ourselves at RHS Malvern Spring Festival

We’re delighted to be making a great exhibition of ourselves at this year’s RHS Malvern Spring Festival.

The prestigious event, which attracts green-fingered enthusiasts and world-leading professionals from across the country and beyond, is celebrating the Great Exhibition of 1851 and we have been invited to recreate a key moment from its grand opening ceremony.

Organised by Queen Victoria’s consort, Prince Albert, the Exhibition was held in the the Crystal Palace, a magnificent glass structure especially built in Hyde Park, and was the first in a series of World Fairs recognising cultural and industrial achievement.

The elaborate opening ceremony, whose centrepiece featured a crystal fountain flowing with Malvern water, was attended by the celebrities of the day, including Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens and Charlotte Brontë, and featured state processions and grand music.

The latter featured a magnificent 600-voice rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah, and it is that moment we will be reproducing – albeit on a smaller scale – to herald the opening of this year’s spring show.

“We are delighted to have been asked to lend our voices to this wonderful annual event, a highlight of any gardening calendar,” says our musical director Stephen Shellard, who will be conducting the singers at the ceremony on Thursday, May 10.

“We won’t be delivering quite the same level of sound as those original 600 voices did but we can guarantee this year’s RHS Malvern Spring Festival will begin on a realy high note!”

For more information about the festival, visit https://www.rhsmalvern.co.uk

Worcester Cathedral Chamber Choir in Worcester Cathedral

Worcester Cathedral Chamber Choir

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Royal Wedding revisited – musically!

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry couldn’t have timed their wedding better, says our musical director Stephen Shellard.

The day, when the world’s gaze will be trained upon Windsor Castle to see the sixth in line to the throne tie the knot, comes just one week before we perform highlights from our latest recording Royal Worcester – A Celebration of Music for Royal Occasions.

Our disc already includes music heard at William and Kate’s 2011 wedding and the concert, in Crowle’s St John the Baptist Church on May 26, will include pieces familiar from other magisterial events down the centuries, such as coronations and jubilee celebrations.

“We wish the royal couple all the best for the future – and thank them for choosing the date they did,” grins Stephen.  “Some of the most beautiful, uplifting and rousing music has been performed at royal weddings and if you like what you heard at Harry’s wedding, we can give you another ‘live’ taste a week after.”

The concert, whose title Royal Worcester also references the world-famous Worcester Porcelain factory, heralds the start of a busy year for us as we celebrate our 20th anniversary.

Our group was stablished by Stephen, Senior Lay Clerk at Worcester Cathedral, who wanted to create a group of high quality local singers with a prestigious concert repertoire and to further enrich the cathedral’s own choral tradition. 

We now sing regularly at services and also guest at other churches in the diocese. Our Nine Lessons and Carols services at Kempsey in recent years have proved particularly popular.

We are also proud of our established concert repertoire and have also been asked to perform with other artists, including rock legend Rick Wakeman. Our current CD, which is available from the Cathedral Shop and on Spotify, Amazon Music and iTunes, is the latest addition to a growing catalogue of recordings.

Future events lined up for our anniversary year include a a trip to Lichfield Cathedral for a joint performance with its own chamber choir of Haydn’s Missa in tempore belli a celebration weekend of singing Cathedral services and a gala dinner.

Our Crowle performance is due to start at 7.30pm and will include works such as Handel’s Zadok the Priest and I Was Glad, by Parry.  Tickets are available from the church, Crowle Post Office or on 01905 381820. 

Stephen Shellard

Harry and Meghan couldn’t have timed their wedding better, says our MD Stephen Shellard

May 26 concert poster

Royal Worcester CD

Our latest CD, Royal Worcester – Music for Royal Occasions

Israel in Egypt – concert dedicated to the very special Ian Bell

OUR performance of Handel’s Israel in Egypt is now being held in memory of popular Lay Clerk Ian Bell who was due to take one of the solo roles.

Ian, who had been a friend and colleague of our Musical Director Stephen Shellard for nearly 25 years, had been battling a terminal illness for some time and had been expected to sing on Saturday, June 13.

However his health suddenly deteriorated and he died in St Richard’s Hospice at the end of April. His memorial service last month saw Worcester Cathedral packed in tribute with family, colleagues and friends from across the UK.

Ian’s part is now being sung by his long-time friend Steve Grice who joins fellow soloists Vicki Field, David Barclay, Tom Hunt, Sebastian Field and Kirsten Offer.

Dedicating the performance of this magnificent oratorio was the natural thing for us as Ian had often fulfilled the role of solo bass in many previous Chamber Choir concerts.

Stephen says: “On his move to St Richard’s Hospice Ian had asked me for a copy of the Handel so that he might begin to prepare for the performance. He also talked about making an appearance with the Cathedral Choir at Evensong before long. However, fate stepped in and denied us one last chance to hear his superb bass voice.

“It was a pleasure and privilege to have known and worked with him for all those years”

The Worcester Chamber Orchestra will be accompanying on period instruments and we are particularly pleased to be joined by Lichfield Cathedral Chamber Choir who are the second choir for the many exciting double choir choruses.

This is a rare chance to hear one of Handel’s most exciting oratorios – described as ‘fierce and fabulous’ when it appeared on The Times’ recent Hot 50 list of things critics would pay to see this summer – in the beautiful surroundings of Worcester Cathedral. The concert begins at 7.30pm and tickets cost £15 (students and under 18s, £5).
They are available from the cathedral shop, on 01386 860389 or via www.worcestercathedralchamberchoir.co.uk

Ian Bell

Ian Bell

 

Israel

Become a Patron through our sponsorship scheme

Rehearsals are now well under way for our June 13, 2015 concert, Handel’s Israel in Egypt, which promises to be truly spectacular.

It’s a monumental work and we’re proud and delighted to be able to perform it in partnership with the Lichfield Chamber Choir as well as some superb soloists and the Worcester Chamber Orchestra on authentic period instruments.

Of course, this kind of bold and spectacular kind of event comes at a price.  That’s why, for the first time ever, we are inviting sponsorship through a special Patrons’ Scheme.

For full details see the letter below – we would love to have your support and would very much welcome you in Worcester Cathedral for what promises to be a memorable night of music making.

 

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