A Year in Concerts!
What a year it has been! The group was excited to get back to performing for live audiences having had such a large hiatus from singing in person. Our first concert, aptly named Out of Darkness, was a celebration of emerging from a time of uncertainty and separation, due to the pandemic, into a time of unity and light. We performed in the St Salvator’s Chapel which was special since it was the last venue we performed in before the lockdown began, in what was a rather wistful concert. This concert picked up where we left off, beginning with the dark tones of Byrd’s Ave Verum Corpus and Pucell’s Hear My Prayer, O Lord, but then saw a gradual transition into a more joyous affection with pieces such as Os Justi by Bruckner, and All Creatures Now by Bennet providing brightness and effervescence. The new members took to the choir like ducks to water, and we were off to a strong start for the year.
The Christmas period was a busy one and before our major Christmas concert we were thrilled to be asked to sing carols at the Forgan’s Christmas light turn on event. Next was our big 2021 Christmas concert, also held in Sallies Chapel. Despite the fast-approaching exam season we had one of the year’s biggest audience turnouts. The programme contrasted traditional classics with some lesser known contemporary compositions, and featured a range of solos from members of the choir. Highlights included Nathanael Fagerson’s solo in Atkins’ iconic The Three Kings, Emily Kemp’s exquisite and controlled solo line in Stopford’s Lully, Lulla, Lullay, and Isaac Bateman’s verses sung beautifully in Rutter’s I Wonder as I Wander. Audience members particularly enjoyed the canonic entries in the final verse of Elizabeth Poston’s Jesus Christ the Apple Tree in which each soprano entered one after the other, creating a complex but warming sound that filled the stunning acoustic. We rounded the concert off on a celebratory note with Handel’s Joy to the World. We took this same programme to Crail Community Hall who kindly invited us to perform at a shared concert with The Other Guys!
We were straight back into music making in semester 2 as we immediately prepared for the annual Holocaust Memorial Service. This service brings together representatives from all faith communities at the university in an act of remembrance and reflection. At this service we performed Tomás Luis de Victoria’s O Vos Omnes.
Soon after this we performed at a lunchtime concert in the McPherson recital room, housed in the University’s brand new Laidlaw Music Centre. It was an amazing experience to sing in such a rounded and resonant acoustic, and was good preparation for our CD recording, as that was the room in which we would be recording. In the concert we sang mostly pieces that we would be recording on the CD. This included Tallis’s classic If Ye Love Me, Lotti’s haunting Crucifixus á 8, and Elgar’s gorgeous partsong The Shower, a piece which became a favourite of the choir over the year. Not long after our CD recording came our next major concert, The Turtle Dove, whose name was given by Vaughan Williams’ English folk ballad. The piece tells the story of two lovers bidding each other farewell, and was performed both in this concert and on Summer Tour, with solos from Duncan Tarboton, Sterling Hudspeth, and Harriet Tyler. As ever, madrigals formed a major part of the concert, with Ward’s Come, Sable Night and Farmer’s Fair Phyllis being particularly enjoyed. Some MadGroup classics we also performed such as Frobisher Bay, arranged by Kalea Turner-Beckman, and Loch Lomond by Vaughan Williams.
Other highlights of the semester included the Kate Kennedy Procession, at which we sang a host of our favourite madrigals, the Gaudie, in which we performed some folk classics, and our performance at the installation of the new rector, Leyla Hussein, in which Anna Lyons delivered a moving solo in Paulus’ The Road Home. Following all of this was of course Summer Tour, over which we sang a whole selection of our favourite pieces from throughout the year. This year seemed busier than ever, and we cannot wait to get back to more concert-ing and music-making in the coming year!
Will Thorne is our music director extraordinaire, and we can't wait to see where his brilliant musical leadership takes us in his fourth year.