The events page - Contents

Our forthcoming events

2019 summer concert

Sunday 7th July 2019, St James' Church, Abinger Common

Further details to be confirmed.


Recent events

Leith Hill Musical Festival 2019

Green Division: Friday 12th April 2019, Dorking Halls

Another competition, and yet again we felt that our winning streak must surely come to an end. Carmina Burana is an energetic work (“rhythmic shouting” is one unkind description), and we were not sure that we could do it justice with our relatively modest forces, especially in the selection for the Lower Voices class: ‘In taberna’. Alan Bullard’s Travelling Tales provided a welcome contrast, but was not without its challenges. But yet again we were surprised: wins in all classes except for the Ensemble (in which, bizarrely, we were awarded the lowest mark) and Own Choice classes. While it’s gratifying to have won yet again, it clearly is not much fun for the other choirs to see their hard work come to nought with such monotonous regularity. It is to be sincerely hoped that the deliberations of the Festival Committee will result in a competition that produces more equitable results in the future.

The evening concert went very well, although the decision to replace the usual orchestral accompaniment for Carmina Burana with two pianos and percussion nearly came unstuck, as one of the pianos drifted dangerously out of tune during the performance (no fault of the excellent pianists, Jean Douglas Tutt and Alan Brown). We were delighted that Alan Bullard was able to be present to hear the combined choirs perform his work and to acknowledge the much-deserved applause of an appreciative audience; he also gave out the prizes and make a speech that was exemplary in both content and length.

The competition schedule for Green Division was as follows:

Main works: Travelling Tales, Alan Bullard
Carmina Burana, Carl Orff
Madrigal:Lady, when I behold, John Wilbye
Part song:The River of the Water of Life, Malcolm Archer
Upper voices:Who is Sylvia?, David Willcocks
Lower voices:‘In taberna’, Carl Orff
Ensemble:Two for the price of one, Andrew Carter
Own choice:Ave Maris Stella, Edvard Grieg

Noël! : Christmas Carol Concert

Thursday 13th December 2018, St Mary’s Church, Holmbury St Mary at 8 p.m.

The choir faced several challenges at this concert: the venue (the church, instead of the usual Village Hall) was unfamiliar; accompaniment by a brass ensemble, with only a single, short rehearsal before the concert, was equally a novelty; not least, the choir had to work a bit harder than usual to follow their conductor, Amy Bebbington, who had completely lost her voice and was therefore having to communicate by rudimentary sign language and through intermediaries. In spite of (or perhaps because of) these challenges, the choir rose to the occasion and gave a disciplined, musical performance of every item on the programme. The professional brass ensemble, Dorking-based Martineau Brass, proved a successful addition to the mix: the choir and brass ensemble were well balanced, the latter being situated in the side-chapel, elevated as if in a minstrels' gallery. Helen Wharmby provided her usual excellent accompaniment, both on the organ and on the piano. The performers were warmly applauded by a larger-than-usual audience, who joined in carols with gusto when given the opportunity. A great way to herald the Christmas season. The programme was (audience joined in those marked *):

* O come, all ye faithful

John Wade arr. David Willcocks

The angel Gabriel from heaven came

Basque traditional arr. Edgar Pettman

Adam lay ybounden

Boris Ord

Reading

 

* The first Nowell

English traditional arr. David Willcocks

O magnum mysterium

T.L. de Victoria

Blessed be that Maid Marie

Amy Bebbington

Reading

 

There is no rose

John Joubert

A maiden most gentle

French traditional arr. Andrew Carter

* God rest you merry, gentlemen

English traditional arr. David Willcocks

O magnum mysterium

Morten Lauridsen

Jingle bells

J. Pierpont arr. David Willcocks

Reading

 

* Hark! the herald-angels sing

Frederic Mendelssohn

We wish you a merry Christmas

Traditional West country carol arr. Arthur Warrell

2018 summer concert: Carmina Iocunda - songs for the seasons

Saturday 7th July 2018, St James' Church, Abinger Common

On a very warm evening the choir performed a varied programme to an appreciative audience. The choir was joined by the harpist Gabriella dall’Olio, who accompanied much of the programme and also contributed a piece for solo harp (El Picaflor by John Marson). The main items, mostly with harp accompaniment, were: a selection of four pieces from Carmina Iocunda by Sarah Deere-Jones; Hymn to Vena, one of the third group of Gustav Holst’s Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda; and A Fancy of Folksongs by Cecilia MacDowell. Other items were: a setting by our conductor Amy Bebbington of the traditional English folksong The Cuckoo; Holst’s arrangements of the folksong I love my love and the shanty Swansea Town; and two pieces that the choir had sung so successfully in competition at this year’s Leith Hill Musical Festival: a setting by Stephen Chatman of Shakespeare’s song The Cuckoo from Love’s Labours Lost; and Wide Open Spaces by Sarah Quartel, with the harp replacing the usual piano accompaniment.

This may not have been a vintage performance – the heat was largely to blame – but it was a pleasing one nevertheless, with much fine music added to the choir’s repertoire. The sopranos and altos in particular are to be commended for a very creditable performance of Holts’s Hymn to Veda. Many of the choirs finer qualities were on display, including excellent diction.

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Leith Hill Musical Festival 2018

Green Division: Thursday 12th April 2018, Dorking Halls

We approached this year's competition with considerable trepidation. The re-organisation of the Divisions meant that there could be no certainty as to how we would match up to the other choirs (Bookham, Dorking and Mickleham). The choice of main work proved to be particularly challenging, as the chorus contributions to The Kingdom are more fragmentary than in many choral works, and Elgar's constantly shifting dynamics, keys and ideosyncratic tempo markings inevitably caused particular difficulties for those less confident in reading music.

It is therefore a considerable tribute to Amy's persistence and skill as a musical director, that we performed well by our own standards in every class, and won all classes except for the Upper voices (runners-up) and Own choice (runners-up). A score of 92 in the Madrigal class earned us two extra awards for the highest mark not only in that class but in any class.

With a successful competition behind us, we were able to enjoy the evening concert, although not everyone agreed with Jonathan Willcocks' decision to exclude the competition pieces from the programme, and (according to some in the audience) the otherwise excellent orchestra (Southern Pro Musica) sometimes drowned out the chorus in the Elgar.

The competition schedule for Green Division was as follows:

Main work:The Kingdom, Edward Elgar
Madrigal:Cuckoo, Stephen Chatman
Part song:Ride on, King Jesus, Nancy Wertsch
Upper voices:Stocking and Shirt, Alan Bullard
Lower voices:Wide open spaces, Sarah Quartel
Ensemble:O Waly, Waly, Trad. arr. Keith Willis
Own choice:Beati quorum via, Charles Villiers Stanford

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There’s a song in the air: Christmas Carol Concert

Thursday 14th December 2017, Holmbury St Mary Village Hall at 8 p.m.

For those lucky enough to get tickets the choir put on one of its best Christmas performances of recent years. The programme was (audience joined in those marked *):

* O come, all ye faithful

John Wade arr. Philip Ledger

Hodie Christus natus est

Jan Sweelinck

What child is this?

Thomas Hewitt Jones

Reading

 

A little child there is yborn

Malcolm Archer

My Lord has come

Will Todd

* O come, O come, Emmanuel

15th century French arr. Paul Leddington Wright

Reading

 

The Shepherd’s Carol

Bob Chilcott

Nova

Bob Chilcott

The Trees

Sasha Johnson Manning

* Ding dong! merrily on high

15th century French arr. Mack Wilberg

Reading

 

There’s a song in the air

John Hearne

Wassail

Jonathan Willcocks

* See amid the winter’s snow

John Goss arr. Paul Leddington Wright

Santa Claus is comin’ to town (with Rudolph)

Fred Coot, Johnny Marks arr. Chris Mallinson

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2017 summer concert: Serenity

8 pm, Saturday 1st July 2017, St James' Church, Abinger Common

2017 summer concert

The choir was on good form for its summer concert, despite misgivings about their readiness for the performance. The audience was very appreciative of this challenging programme of music, mostly by living composers. The choir was accompanied by Helen Wharmby on the piano with her usual aplomb. The ’cello accompaniment and exquisite solo interludes were provided by Léonie Adams—a real treat. As one member of the audience put it: “The overall tranquility of the music seemed so fitting for a church sitting in the middle of fields on a beautiful summer evening.”

The final programme included three sacred works by the Norwegian-American composer Ola Gjello: Ubi caritas I, Sacred Heart/Ubi caritas III and Serenity, the latter being composed around the words of the responsorial chant O magnum mysterium. These works by Gjello were complemented by two other works that are firm favourites in the choir’s repertoire: Maurice Duruflé’s Ubi caritas and Morten Lauridsen’s O magnum mysterium, which gave the choir all the excuse needed to reprise their signature work, Morten Lauridsen’s Sure on this shining night. The other choral works were by Gabriel Fauré (Cantique de Jean Racine), Matyas Seiber (Three Hungarian folk-songs, which had been performed at the 2016 Leith Hill Festival), Zoltán Kodály (Esti dal), Ēriks Ešenvalds (Only in sleep), Kim André Arnesen (Flight song), Jake Runestad (I will lift mine eyes), René Clausen (O my luve’s like a red, red rose) and Aaron Copland (Zion’s walls), the concert finishing with Moses Hogan’s I’m gonna sing ’til the spirit moves in my heart. Apart from providing accompaniment for three choral works, Léonie Adams performed two ’cello solo interludes: Fauré’s sublime Après un rêve and Aaron Minsky’s highly entertaining The train whistle (from Ten American ’cello interludes).

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Leith Hill Musical Festival 2017

Division One: Friday 7th April 2017, Dorking Halls

Mendelssohn’s Elijah is a huge work, and it dominated this year’s programme for our Division. The competition passages were deliberately selected to be challenging. We also knew that both Oxshott and Buckland & Betchworth choirs were going to give us a run for our money. In the end we did as well as we could have hoped to do, winning all classes except for the Lower Voices class and the Ensemble class, and we also won prizes for the highest score (88) in the Madrigal class across all three Divisions and (with Leatherhead) the joint highest score (89) in the Main Chorus class across all Divisions. It’s a huge tribute to our conductor, Amy Bebbington, that we were so well prepared and were able to give a really consistent performance across most of the classes.

This was the first Festival to be conducted by our new Festival Conductor, Jonathan Willcocks, so both the final afternoon rehearsal following the competition and the evening concert were eagerly anticipated. This was also the first opportunity to sing with the Southern Pro Musica orchestra. In the event the concert went very well. The length of Elijah meant that not only was this the only work performed at the evening concert, but Jonathan Willcocks took it at a brisk pace, to which the combined choir responded well; the result was much enhanced by a fine performance as Elijah by bass soloist Marcus Farnsworth.

The competition schedule was as follows:

Full chorus:Elijah, Felix Mendelssohn
Madrigal:Sing we and chant it, Thomas Morley
Part song:For He shall give His angels, Felix Mendelssohn (from Elijah)
Upper voices:Lift thine eyes, Felix Mendelssohn (from Elijah)
Lower voices:I bought me a cat, Aaron Copland
Ensemble:He that shall endure to the end, Felix Mendelssohn (from Elijah)
Own choice:I will lift mine eyes, Jake Runestad

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New Light, New Hope: Christmas Carol Concert

Thursday 15th December 2016, Holmbury St Mary Village Hall at 8 p.m.

A capacity audience greatly enjoyed the traditional evening of carols and other festive fare. The programme was (audience joined in those marked *):

* Hark the herald angels sing

arr. David Willcocks

New boy born

Carol Ann Duffy / Sasha Johnson Manning

My Lord has come

Will Todd

* Silent Night

Franz Grüber, arr. Bob Chilcott

Reading

 

* Away in a manger

James R. Murray arr. Bob Chilcott

Softly

Will Todd

A maiden most gentle

French trad. arr. Andrew Carter

* Good King Wenceslas

arr. Bob Chilcott

Reading

 

O little town of Bethlehem

Bob Chilcott

Lord of the dance

Trad. arr. David Willcocks

* Joy to the world!

Lowell Mason arr. Mack Wilberg

Reading

 

New Year

John Rutter

Scots Nativity

Alan Bullard

Mirabile dictu

Carol Ann Duffy / Sasha Johnson Manning

* We three kings of Orient are

John Henry Hopkins arr. Paul Leddington Wright

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2016 summer concert: Shakespeare in Song

Saturday 2nd July 2016, St James' Church, Abinger Common

Conducted by Amy Bebbington and joined by double bassist, Malcolm Creese and pianist, Helen Wharmby, the choir presented George Shearing’s set of Songs and Sonnets from Shakespeare and three of John Rutter’s delightful set of Birthday Madrigals (It was a lover and his lass, Come live with me and When daises pied). Interspersed with appropriate Shakespeare readings, the programme also included: Will Todd’s It was a lover and his lass; Bob Chilcott’s The isle is full of noises; Full fathom five in two versions, by Charles Wood and by Jaakko Mantyjaarvi (Finland); Caliban’s Song by David Hamilton (New Zealand); and the set of three songs An Elizabethan summer (Cuckoo, Golden slumbers kiss your eyes and Come away, sweet love) by Stephen Chatman (Canada).

There was much of the choir’s performance to be pleased with, and it was clearly enjoyed by the audience, but some of the less familiar music was slightly under-rehearsed and there were (for the choir, at least) some anxious moments. Malcolm Creese was a great asset in the Shearing and Rutter (hardly surprising, given his close association with these works from their first performance), and Helen Wharmby provided excellent accompaniment that kept the choir out of serious trouble on several occasions. One or two members of the choir (including the writer!) need to remember not to sing if they're not sure of the right note or the right words...

Leith Hill Musical Festival 2016

Division One: Thursday 14th April 2016, Dorking Halls

Despite misgivings about how well prepared we were, especially in the Haydn, we yet again performed well in competition, winning four of the main classes, including the Main Chorus class, and comfortably achieving the highest aggregate in our Division. Most of the choir sang the Madrigal and Part Song from memory, which undoubtedly helped. Particularly pleasing was our success in winning the Own Choice class with a version of Ubi caritas composed by the contemporary Norwegian-born composer Ola Gjeilo. Yet again we failed to impress the adjudicator with our single entry in the Ensemble class, so there's still room for improvement there. The evening concert went well, in Brian Kay's last Festival as Festival Conductor. We look forward to Jonathan Willcocks taking over the baton for the 2017 Festival.

The competition schedule was as follows:

Main works:Serenade to Music, Vaughan Williams
Harmonimesse, Haydn
Madrigal:All creatures now, Bennett
Part song:Three Hungarian folk songs, arr. Seiber
Upper voices:Tread softly , Bullard
Lower voices:The old superb, Stanford arr. Tomlinson
Ensemble:In these delightful, pleasant groves, Purcell
Own choice:Ubi caritas, Gjeilo

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Sing Alleluia: Christmas Carol Concert

Thursday 17th December 2015, Holmbury St Mary Village Hall at 8 p.m.

The Carol Concert was as popular as ever. The programme was chosen to be a celebration of John Rutter's 70th birthday and of the life and work of Sir David Willcocks, who had died in September (audience joined in those marked *).

* Once in Royal David’s City

Henry J. Gauntlett arr. A. H. Mann / R. Wells

O come, O come Emmanuel

Andrew Carter

Nativity Carol

John Rutter

Reading

 

* O Come all ye Faithful

18th Century words, to a tune by J.F. Wade arr. W.H. Monk / H.A. Chambers / William Llewellyn

Jesus Child

John Rutter

Wexford Carol

John Rutter

Sussex Carol

David Willcocks

Reading

 

* God rest you merry gentlemen

Traditional English arr. D. Willcocks

Star Carol

John Rutter

Softly

Will Todd

Birthday Carol

David Willcocks

Reading

 

* Away in a manger

W.J. Kirkpatrick arr. D. Willcocks

Mary's lullaby

John Rutter

Lord of the dance

David Willcocks

What child is this? (Greensleeves)

arr. Bob Chilcott

* Hark the herald angels sing

Charles Wesley / Felix Mendelssohn

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2015 summer concert: Fortyssimo

Saturday 20th June 2015, Holy Trinity church, Guildford at 7.30 p.m.

flyer

Our conductor Amy Bebbington had conceived this year's summer concert to celebrate a significant birthday, and hence the title: Fortyssimo! Four choirs performed separately in the first half of the programme, then came together after the interval with the mezzo soprano Melanie Marshall to perform John Rutter's cycle of spirituals Feel the Spirit. Holmbury Choral were, of course, one of the four choirs involved, the others being Dorking Camerata, Nota Bene (the Guildford office choir of Stevens & Bolton LLP) and Choros Amici (Choir of the Year in 2000).

Inspired by the sense of occasion, and possibly also by the challenge of performing with Melanie Marshall and a professional-standard choir (Choros Amici), Holmbury Choral gave a clean and spirited performance which delighted its supporters in the audience, especially in what has become our signature work, Morten Lauridsen's Sure on this shining night. Both the other amateur choirs gave good performances, with Dorking Camerata skillfully articulating the tricky Sing a song of sixpence from John Rutter's collection Five Childhood Lyrics, and Nota Bene giving an impressive performance of Adiemus from Karl Jenkins' Songs of Sanctuary. Choros Amici, under their conductor Chris Mallinson, concluded the first half of the concert with some stunning choral acrobatics, and were particularly sublime in Holst's Nunc dimittis.

In the second half Chris Mallinson gave Amy a short break by conducting the combined choirs in a convincing performance of Rachmaninov's Bogorodytse Devo. Finally there was Rutter's Feel the Spirit, in which we had the immense privilege of singing with Melanie Marshall, who had inspired John Rutter to write the work and had sung the solo in the first performance with John Rutter and the Cambridge Singers at Carnegie Hall, New York, in June 2001. The performance was further enhanced by a hugely talented and experienced ensemble of professional instrumentalists.

Holmbury Choral at Fortyssimo

Holmbury Choral

Combined choirs with Melanie Marshall and instrumental ensemble at Fortyssimo

Combined choirs with Melanie Marshall and instrumental ensemble

If so much satisfying music were not enough, the concert ended with birthday cake provided by Amy's aunt, Diana Beard: delicious cup-cakes for the audience and performers alike, and a spectacular chocolate cake in the form of a grand piano as a special gift for Amy. Many happy returns!

Many happy returns!

This concert was part of the Guildford Summer Festival 2015.

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Leith Hill Musical Festival 2015

Division One: Friday 10th April 2015, Dorking Halls

Another fine year for the choir in the competition, winning all the main classes and winning the Division overall. Much of our success is, of course, down to the skill and dedication of our conductor, Amy Bebbington, who steered us through the competition, in spite of suffering from tonsilitis. The concert was a huge success, with great performances of Bob Chilcott's commission and the Mendelssohn, assisted by the Surrey Festival Orchestra on fine form and an excellent clutch of soloists.

The competition schedule was:

Main works:Dances of Time, Chilcott – new commission
Hymn of Praise, Mendelssohn
Madrigal:Fire, fire!, Morley
Part song:O mistress mine, Carter
Women's song:May , Gibbs
Men's song:All through the night, arr. Christopher
Ensemble:As water to the thirsty, Barnard
Own choice:Bogoroditse Devo, Rachmaninov

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Christmas Carol Concert

Thursday 18th December 2014, Holmbury St Mary Village Hall, at 8 p.m.

A packed Village Hall heard the choir perform a particularly successful programme. Amy taught the audience to sing a Christmas round and interludes between the carols included a particularly moving reading by Sam Henderson of the poem The Christmas Truce by Carol Ann Duffy, the Poet Laureate. The full programme was as follows (audience joined in those marked *):

Manchester Carol No 9: Mirabile Dictu

Words by Carol Ann Duffy set to music by Sasha Johnson Manning

* Ding,dong! merrily on high

arr. G.R. Woodward / D. Willcocks

Manchester Carols Nos 8 & 1: The Gold of Straw, New Boy Born

Words by Carol Ann Duffy set to music by Sasha Johnson Manning

Reading (Sam Henderson): The Christmas Truce

Carol Ann Duffy

Remember, O thou man

Words by Thomas Ravenscroft set to music by Bob Chilcott

Bogoroditse Devo

Sergei Rachmaninov

* It came upon the midnight clear

Words by E.H. Sears set to music by Arthur Sullivan / David Willcocks

O come, O come Emmanuel

Andrew Carter

Reading (Liz Hamilton): Advent 1955

John Betjeman

Ceremonies

Patrick Larley

* Ceremonies

Alan Woods

SHORT INTERVAL

 

Christmas-tide

Lewis arr. Chilcott

Mid-winter

C. Rossetti arr. R. Chilcott

Silent Night

Franz Gruber

Reading (Sam Henderson / Francis Cave): A Christmas Carol

 

Jingle Bells

J. Pierpont arr. David Willcocks

* Hark the herald angels sing

Charles Wesley / Felix Mendelssohn

We wish you a merry Christmas

Traditional arr. A. Warrell

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Appearance on The One Show, BBC 1

Tuesday 16th December 2014

In the edition of The One Show broadcast on BBC 1 on Tuesday 16th December Holmbury St Mary Choral Society sang Ralph Vaughan Williams' setting of the well-known Christmas hymn O little town of Bethlehem, which we recorded in Holy Trinity church, Forest Green, on Monday 1st December. Conducted by Amy Bebbington, with Helen Wharmby providing organ accompaniment, we had great fun making the recording with Giles Brandreth, Andrew Gant (composer and author of the book Christmas Carols: A Celebration) and an appreciative local audience. This edition can be viewed until Thursday 15th January 2015 online on BBC iPlayer. We appear towards the end of the show.

2014 summer concert: Everyone Sang

Saturday 5th July 2014, St James' church, Abinger Common at 7.30 p.m.

This was yet another really successful summer concert devised and conducted by Amy Bebbington; some members of the audience described it as the "best ever". The programme, inspired by the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, caught the imagination of the choir at an early stage in rehearsal and the performance reflected a genuine enthusiasm for the music. To open the programme, Mark Nathan, currently studying for a Masters degree in singing at the Royal College of Music, sang the baritone solo with great gusto in a performance with the choir of Charles Stanford's Songs of the Fleet. The choir then sang the first three of C Hubert Parry's Songs of Farewell: My soul there is a country, I know my soul hath power and Never weather-beaten sail. Following a short interval, the choir gave its second public performance of Picnic: July 1917, the work commissioned from Mike Sheppard, which had been our successful Own Choice piece at the Festival earlier in the year. Mark Nathan then sang a selection of three songs from Ralph Vaughan Williams' Songs of travel, with a sensitive piano accompaniment provided by the ever-dependable Helen Wharmby: The vagabond, The roadside fire and Whither must I wander. There were then two choral arrangements of Siegfried Sassoon's poem Everyone sang, the first by Honey Smith and the second by Bob Chilcott (from his song series Singing by numbers). Mark Nathan then sang the solo in a performance with the choir of Howard Goodall's Do not stand by my grave and weep (from Eternal Light: A Requiem). The programme ended with Ian Assersohn's arrangements of two well-known First World War songs: There's a long, long trail a-winding and It's a long way to Tipperary. Helen Wharmby's piano-playing throughout the evening was superb, and there were excellent poetry readings from Sam Henderson, Hilary Swift and Phil Thomas.


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...and not so recent events

Leith Hill Musical Festival 2014

Division One: Thursday 10th April 2014, Dorking Halls

Another successful year for Holmbury St Mary Choral Society, winning in all classes except for the part song and the ensemble. Division 1 was joined for the first time by Buckland & Betchworth, who were impressive and were deservedly runners-up overall. It was a particular pleasure to win the own choice class with our commissioned work composed by Mike Sheppard - there will be another chance to hear it at our summer concert. The Division 1 concert that evening was widely recognised as one of the best choral performances from this Division for many years.

The competition schedule was:

Main works:Missa Brevis in B-flat, Mozart
Requiem for an Angel, Carr
Madrigal:Now is the gentle season, Morley
Part song:Feasting I watch, Elgar
Women's song:Charles Augustus Fortescue , Bullard
Men's song:Ching-A-Ring Chaw, Copland
Ensemble:The long day closes, Sullivan
Own choice:Picnic: July 1917, Sheppard

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Christmas Carol Concert: Mirabile Dictu

Thursday 19th December 2013, St Mary's Church, Holmbury St Mary, at 8 p.m.

A large and appreciative audience gathered in Holmbury church to hear the choir sing its Christmas programme, somewhat depleted by seasonal colds (particularly in the alto section) but determined to uplift and entertain as usual. The size of choir meant that the majority were on the chancel steps, or just below that, but most of the basses were behind the chancel screen. This presented some challenges for achieving a good ensemble at times, but overall the programme provided a successful mix, with Sasha Johnson Manning's Manchester Carols being particularly warmly received by the audience. Hilary Swift, Sam Henderson and Phil Thomas provided appropriate and amusing interludes (the “readings” were in fact delivered from memory), and special thanks must go to Cindy Frostick for her flute acrobatics in The Gold of Straw, to Helena Wharmby for her usual impeccable accompaniment and not least to Amy Bebbington for helping us achieve our best (and for her forebearance when occasionally our best wasn't perhaps quite as good as she would have liked).

The final programme was as follows (audience joined in those marked *):

* Once in Royal David’s City

Henry J. Gauntlett arr. A. H. Mann / R. Wells

Adam lay ybounden

15th Century English carol arr. Boris Ord

The Little Road to Bethlehem

Words by Margaret Rose set to music by Michael Head

Reading

 

Manchester Carols Nos 1, 8 & 9:

New Boy Born
The Gold of Straw
Mirabile Dictu

Words by Carol Ann Duffy set to music by Sasha Johnson Manning

* The First Nowell

Traditional English arr. John Stainer / William Llewellyn

Reading

 

A New Year Carol

Benjamin Britten

Blessed be that Maid Marie

Words by G.R. Woodward set to music by Amy Bebbington

In Dulci Jubilo

Old German carol arr. R.L. Pearsall / W.J. Westbrook

* In the Bleak Midwinter

Words by Christina Georgina Rosetti set to music by Gustav Holst

Reading

 

I saw Mummy kissing Santa Claus

Words and music by Tommie Connor arr. Richard Allain

I saw Three Ships

English carol arr. Ian Humphris

Torches

Galician carol set to music by John Joubert

* O Come all ye Faithful

18th Century words, to a tune by J.F. Wade arr. W.H. Monk / H.A. Chambers / William Llewellyn

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Cycle-ride to the south coast

6th – 7th September 2013

Downs Link cycle ride September 2013

If you want to raise money for the Choral Society and have fun at the same time, getting on your bike is one way that has proved popular with at least some members. Pictured above are six of the seven who braved the rain on 6th September and cycled the Downs Link trail to Bramber and Shoreham-by-Sea. Five veterans of a similar trip last year (Amy, Paul, Helen, Liz and Francis) were this year joined by Sam and Cindy. Liz took the above photo (taken on a road stretch of the Downs Link near Christ's Hospital), so isn't in the picture, although her much-loved "pink panther" bicycle managed to sneak in in her place. After ceremonial ice-creams on the beach at Shoreham, the group returned to Bramber to celebrate with a well-earned slap-up dinner.

2013 summer concert: Light, Liberation, Love

Saturday 6th July 2013, St James' church, Abinger Common at 8 p.m.

An appreciative audience were treated to a fine concert on a glorious summer's evening in Abinger Common. The choir were accompanied for most of the programme by an ensemble comprising a string quintet (Mihkel Kerem and Björn Kleiman, violin; Thomas Leate, viola; Tae-Mi Song, violoncello; Kristina Edin, double bass) and regular accompanist Helen Wharmby on piano. The string ensemble sounded just right in Michael Higgins' arrangement of Fauré's Requiem for choir, string quintet and organ (with piano substituting for organ), making one hope that the composer would have approved. The strings definitely enhanced the exotic atmosphere of Eric Whitacre's Five Hebrew Love Songs with judicious uses of decoration and portamento. To mark this year's Britten centenary celebrations a sub-choir gave a solid performance of Britten's song The Evening Primrose (from Five Flower Songs), and this was followed by the Waltz form Britten's Three Divertimenti for string quartet. The concert ended with a rousing performance of Tippet's Five Negro Spirituals (from A Child of Our Time), arranged for choir, piano and string quintet by Mike Sheppard (who was in the audience).

Many in the audience commented afterwards that this had been one of the most successful summer concerts for several years.

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Leith Hill Musical Festival 2013

Division One: Saturday 13th April 2013, Dorking Halls

This was yet another successful year for Holmbury St Mary Choral Society. The competition was thankfully more balanced than in some past years, with Oxshott winning three of the seven classes, but our performances in the Madrigal and Main Chorus classes in particular helped to give us the edge. We won - outright on this occasion - the Keith Willis trophy for the highest mark in the Madrigal class across all three Divisions. The evening concert was a great success.

The competition schedule was:

Main works:Coronation Mass, Mozart
Lux Aeterna, Lauridsen
Madrigal:To shorten winter's sadness, Weelkes
Part song:Sing as one, Assersohn
Women's song:It was a lover and his lass, Willcocks
Men's song:The farmer's boy, Vaughan Williams
Ensemble:Linden Lea, Vaughan Williams
Own choice:Here comes the sun, Harrison

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Christmas Carol Concert

Thursday 13th December 2012, Village Hall, Holmbury St Mary, at 8 p.m.

Christmas concert 2012

Yet another memorable evening singing carols to a packed village hall. The evening started with a slightly hesitant performance of Victoria's O Magnum Mysterium, but the choir soon warmed up after that, giving a sensitive rendition of the Vaughan Williams arrangement of The truth from above. The duet A dream of Christmas, sung by Elizabeth Dobson and Hilary Swift, was particularly effective. The audience were particularly appreciative of Winter's Promise by local composer Anna Tabbush, sung by a semi-chorus, which takes a satirical look at the commercialisation of Christmas, particularly the obsession with food. The singing ended as it began, with O Magnum Mysterium, but this time as set by American choral composer Morten Lauridsen – his music seems to suit the choir, and this was no exception. A fitting end to a highly successful year, for which much of the credit must go to our conductor Amy Bebbington and accompanist Helen Wharmby.

The final programme was as follows (audience joined in those marked *):

O Magnum Mysterium

T.L. de Victoria

Sans Day carol

Traditional Cornish arr. J. Rutter

* The First Nowell

Traditional English arr. D. Willcocks

Reading

 

The truth from above

Traditional English arr. R. Vaughan Williams

Ding,dong! merrily on high

arr. G.R. Woodward / D. Willcocks

* God rest you merry gentlemen

Traditional English arr. D. Willcocks

Reading

 

A dream of Christmas
Duet performed by Elizabeth Dobson and Hilary Swift,

 

* Jazz Gloria

Anon

SHORT INTERVAL

 

Jesus Christ the apple tree

E. Poston

Sir Christemas

W. Mathias

* Good King Wenceslas

J.M. Neale / D. Willcocks

Winter's Promise
Sung by a semi-chorus

A. Tabbush

Santa Baby

J. Javits / T. Springer arr. R. Allain

Jingle Bells

J. Pierpont arr. D. Willcocks

Reading

 

Wassail Song

Traditional English arr. R. Vaughan Williams

* See amid the winter's snow

J. Goss arr. D. Willcocks

O Magnum Mysterium

M. Lauridsen

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2012 summer concert: Jubilate

Friday 1st June 2012, St James' church, Abinger Common

The summer concert this year was brought forward from its normal occurrence in early July to the Jubilee weekend at the beginning of June. This meant a restricted series of rehearsals, especially for those choir members who weren't able to attend the away weekend of rehearsals and informal concert at Eype church in Dorset at the beginning of May. In the event, the choir delivered an excellent performance to a packed and appreciative audience. The final programme was as follows:

Zadok the Priest

George Frederic Handel

Ave Maria

Franz Biebl

Ubi caritas et amor

Maurice Duruflé

Ubi caritas et amor

Paul Mealor

The Hills

John Ireland

The Turtle Dove

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Five Mystical Songs

Ralph Vaughan Williams

Londonderry Air

Bob Chilcott

Hine e hine (Maori lullaby)

David Hamilton

Asakhi Thali / Hamba Lulu / Mangwani (African songs)

Mike Brewer

Gloria

John Rutter

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Leith Hill Musical Festival 2012

Division One: Friday 13th April 2012, Dorking Halls

Despite some uncertainties about our preparedness for this year's Festival, we achieved a Festival "first" by winning every class in Division 1. We also shared the new Keith Willis trophy with Leatherhead for the highest score in the Madrigal class across all Divisions. A vintage year indeed, for which we are hugely indebted to our conductor, Amy Bebbington.

The competition schedule was:

Main work:Requiem, Brahms (in English)
Madrigal:Mother, I will have a husband, Vautor
Part song:Londonderry Air, arr. Chilcott
Men's song:Peter Piper, Bridge
Women's song:To the ploughboy, Vaughan Williams
Ensemble:The Younger Generation, Ira Gershwin / Copland
Own choice:Ain't misbehavin', Waller / Brooks arr. Gritton

The photo below, taken to celebrate winning a record number of trophies, was taken when we gathered for the 2012 AGM.

Holmbury St Mary Choral Society, April 2012, having recently won
	 a record number of trophies at the 2012 Leith Hill Festival.

Photographer: John Kerry

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Christmas Carol Concert: 'Joy to the world'

Thursday 15th December 2011, Village Hall, Holmbury St Mary, at 8 p.m.

The Carol Concert provided plenty of variety for a capacity audience. There were rather more solo opportunities than in previous years, which enabled us to show off some of the fine individual voices we have, And it was also the first opportunity for our accompanist, Helen Wharmby, to perform with us, including in some duets with Amy Bebbington. The final programme was as follows (audience joined in those marked *):

A maid most gentle

French traditional arr. A. Carter

* Once in royal David's city

H.J. Gauntlett

I wonder as I wander

Appalacian carol arr. J. Rutter

I saw three ships

English traditional arr. J. Rutter

Reading by Hilary Swift

 

A spotless rose

H. Howells

* Deck the hall

Welsh traditional arr. D. Willcocks

Piano duets: Away in a manger, Good Christian men rejoice
Perfomed by Amy Bebbington and Helen Wharmby

arr. G.M. Martin

When Santa got stuck up the chimney

J. Grafton arr. M. Martin

INTERVAL

 

* Away in a manger

W.J. Kirkpatrick arr. D. Willcocks

Tomorrow shall be my dancing day

English traditional arr. D. Willcocks

Bethlehem Down

P. Warlock

Reading by Hilary Swift and company

 

* O come all ye faithful

J.F. Wade arr. D. Willcocks

Birthday carol

D. Willcocks

In the bleak midwinter

H. Darke

* Joy to the world

L. Mason arr. J. Rutter

We wish you a merry Christmas

Traditional arr. A. Warrell

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ABCD Gala Concert: Five by Five

Sunday 23rd October 2011, Dorking Halls, at 7.30 p.m.

We were pleased to join four other choirs to perform an evening of varied choral music, organised by the Association of British Choral Directors. Each choir sang five pieces from their repertoire. We sang: My spirit sang all day (Finzi); It was a lover and his lass (Shearing); Il est bel et bon (Passereau); Sure on this shining night (Lauridsen); Ev'ry time I feel the spirit (arr. Chilcott). The four other choirs taking part were Crawley Youth Choir, JuSSt Voices, London Latvian Choir and Cantatrice.

2011 summer concert: My spirit sang all day

Saturday 2nd July 2011, St James' church, Abinger Common, at 8 p.m.

The summer concert was particularly successful. A large audience was treated to a programme of madrigals and part-songs, almost all taken from the Oxford ‘Madrigals and Partsongs’. As a change from previous years, the concert was all choral music and was performed without an interval, allowing refreshments to be enjoyed at the end without time constraints.

The final programme was as follows:

Bonjour mon coeur

Orlande de Lassus

My bonny lass she smileth
Now is the month of maying (ensemble)

Thomas Morley

Fair Phyllis I saw sitting all alone

John Farmer

Il est bel et bon

Pierre Passereau

The blue bird

Charles Villiers Stanford

As torrents in summer

Edward Elgar

My spirit sang all day

Gerald Finzi

The evening primrose

Benjamin Britten

La nuit froide et sombre (ensemble)

Orlande de Lassus

Lay a garland

Robert Pearsall

The long day closes

Arthur Sullivan

Sleep

Eric Whitacre


Events prior to summer 2011

For information about previous events please click here.

 

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