Want to get an insight into what it’s like being part of Worcester Cathedral Chamber Choir? This article in the 2019 Spring issue of WR Magazine is a great read and gives you a taste of our stringent rehearsal process!
Our Remembrance concert is being hosted in Worcester, almost exactly 100 years to the day of the 1918 Armistice.
The central part of the evening of words and music, in St Martin’s Church, London Road, will be a performance of a new chamber ensemble arrangement of Fauré’s Requiem, featuring violin, cello, harp and organ.
The readings will be given by Gabrielle Bullock and Stephen will conduct us in the first concert of our musical milestone year.
Taking place on November 10 at 7.30pm, the evening heralds our 20th anniversary season, a year in which a gala dinner, a performance of Brahms German Requiem, featuring the composer’s arrangement for two piano accompaniment, and an anniversary cathedral Evensong and reception are planned.
Celebrations for this special year have been in the pipeline for some time but were originally completely unforeseen when, in 1998, then lay clerk Stephen Shellard outlined his dream to lead and conduct his own choir to Worcester Cathedral’s Chapter.
“I wanted to gather together the best amateur singers from across the Worcestershire diocese and beyond to form the first male and female choir to sing in the cathedral in its 900-plus years, but I never envisioned that it would be here 20 years later and such a successful and established part of the Cathedral and Worcester’s musical life,” reflects Stephen, now Senior Lay Clerk.
“Now the first concert of our anniversary season is coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the Armistice and will feature moving words and music in tribute to all those who have fought and died in the line of duty since the First World War.”
Tickets for the Remembrance concert ( £12, under 16s half price), are available on 01386 860389 and at the door. For more information, go to www.worcestercathedralchamberchoir.co.uk. You can also find the choir on Facebook, Google + Instagram and Twitter (@WCCC2).
Weeks in the planning (you could even argue years since it was three years since they came to us), our ‘away day’ to sing with our Lichfield Chamber Choir colleagues on their home turf was worth all the work. With our hosts sounding sublime in the first half’s Gerald Finzi’s Requiem da Camera, a setting of First World War poems it was a pleasure to join them in the second for Haydn’s Missa in Tempore Belli.Thee was also a grand opportunity between rehearsal and concert to check out Lichfield itself, especially for those on a first time visit.All in all, a grand day out and we weren’t the only ones who enjoyed the occasion. Lichfield’s conductor Martyn Rawles had some very nice things to say afterwards in thanking our MD Stephen and his ‘wonderful choir’.We’re delighted that he found us, he said, such a responsive group and that it was ‘quite something how we and Lichfield all came together in such a short space of time.Apparently, an orchestra member told him she could not remember the last time she had played for such a good choir!We’re all now looking forward to our next joint gig!
One of our sopranos is stepping out to really go for the high notes – of the sterling variety.
Intrepid Eileen Roberts is undertaking the 35-mile Llangollen Round Challenge to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
She is due to join hundreds of other walkers putting their best feet forward on the weekend of June 2 and 3 on the popular circular route, which visits every summit around the Vale of Llangollen in north east Wales.
Its total ascent is around 2,000 the equivalent, say the organisers, of going up Snowdon twice over.
Eileen who is aiming to raise £1,000, has set up a JustGiving page and is urging people to contribute to the cause.
“Like many people, cancer has affected many of my close friends and relatives,” she says. “This is a chance for me to support an excellent cause by walking in the beautiful valley where I grew up. Let’s hope for good weather!”
You can contribute by visiting https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/eileen-roberts1
Come on Eileen!
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
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.
Rick Wakeman wanted to perform with the county’s leading chamber choir, so did hit harmony group Blake – do you?
Worcester Cathedral Chamber Choir currently has vacancies for tenors and basses so please get in touch if you would like to join us.
Auditions are required but – there’s no Simon Cowells here – we’re a very friendly bunch!
We’re a choir of about 30 singers, all working to a high standard of musical excellence and, under our founder and musical director Stephen Shellard, have gained a reputation for musical sensitivity and ground-breaking performance.
Much of our repertoire is drawn from the traditional Anglican Church Music heritage while our recording catalogue includes music by Elgar, Parry, Vaughan Williams and contemporary Australian composer Paul Paviour.
Our latest CD, featuring music for royal occasions, is due to be released in August 2017.
Apart from regular concerts as a member you will be expected to sing at Cathedral Eucharist and Evensong services several times a year, sometimes two or three times over one weekend, plus some other services.
We rehearse on Thursday evenings during term times and require an attendance level of at least 70% for any one project.
Any interested tenors or basses wishing to join us, please go to the contact section of this website where you can email our membership secretary.
Worcester Cathedral Chamber Choir is to royally entertain the entire nation with the release of a majestic new CD.
Royal Worcester – A Celebration of Music for Royal Occasions, goes on UK release
after its official launch at a special concert in the city on Monday, July 24.
The regal occasion, in St Martin’s Church, London Road, will be a crowning moment of two appearances during Worcester’s Three Choirs week by the singers who come from across Worcestershire and Herefordshire.
The disc, recorded in Worcester Cathedral earlier this year, is the brainchild of the choir’s Musical Director Stephen Shellard who wanted highlight the building’s centuries of connection with Royalty.
“In the last year we have celebrated the life of King John, who was the catalyst for the celebrated Magna Carta and is buried at Worcester Cathedral, which is also the resting place of Prince Arthur whose death, at just 15, paved the way for his brother to inherit the throne as Henry VIII,” he explains.
“The CD’s title also reflects references the world-famous Worcester Porcelain factory which was granted the Royal Warrant in 1789 by George III.
“We are very grateful to the Portmeirion Group for allowing us to use Royal Worcester as the disc’s title.”
The disc – and concert – features music spanning 500 years of royal ceremonies, ranging from the eternally popular Coronation favorites such as ‘Zadok the Priest’ by Handel and ‘I Was Glad’ (Hubert Parry and Henry Purcell), to the lesser known but equally powerful ‘Behold O God Our Defender’ (Howells) and ‘O Hearken Thou’ (Elgar) as well as ‘Blest Pair of Sirens’ (Parry), which was sung at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Royal Worcester also features organ solos from Worcester Cathedral’s Assistant Director of Music Christopher Allsop and newly appointed Sub Assistant organist Richard Cook who joins the choir for the concert which is due to begin at 7.30pm.
It will be the second consecutive performance in two days for the Chamber Choir, which is also leading the Three Choirs Festival opening Evensong on Saturday, July 22nd at 5.30pm.
Concert tickets cost £10 (U16s half price) and are available from 01386 860389 and on the door.
Copies of the CD can be bought during the evening, from the Cathedral shop or ordered from the choir’s website. In the near future the CD will also will also be available for online streaming.
This is the first recording to be released under the Chamber Choir’s own Pink Giraffe label. The name has been inspired by the pink giraffe depicted as being held by Adam in one of the medallions of the West Window which illustrates the Creation of Animal Life (see photo).
We’re very proud of these new publicity flyers which we’re hoping will send our profile soaring.
Along with the atmospheric photograph, taken during one of our many Worcester Cathedral services, the leaflet gives our potted history and outlines our future performance plans.
It also lists our most recent recordings (available to buy here and through major online stores) and shows where we can be found on social media.
Copies are already available in Worcester’s Tourist Information Centre but we’re working hard on distributing them round and about the county.
Definitely worth reading all about us!
The arrival of the posters and printers for our next concert have made us very glad indeed.
They herald our October 15 celebration of English music, a sparkling occasion which will also anticipate our forthcoming CD Royal Worcester.
With classics such as Zadok the Priest, Purcell’s Rejoice in the Lord Alway, Howells’s Behold Oh God Our Defender and, of course, I Was Glad – both Parry’s much-loved familiar version and the lesser known Purcell arrangement – the evening and CD are destined to be two crowning moments for Worcester Cathedral Chamber Choir.
The concert will take on a slightly nautical flavour too when baritone William Thomas joins us to perform Charles V Stanford’s Songs of the Fleet.
Conducted by Stephen Shellard and with accompaniment from Richard Cook, the evening promises to be a right royal musical feast.
Venue: St Martin’s Church, London Road, WR5 2ED. 19.30pm. Tickets: £10/£5(under 16s & students). 01386 860389