There are many great choirs in and around Shrewsbury so what makes Phoenix a bit different?
We continue to sing the classical choral repertoire from the 15th century to the present day and to do it really well.
We have a first class conductor, Richard Walker, and choir members have a short informal audition and are expected to read music.
We aim for a high standard of performance which will encourage our audiences to bring their friends and families and spread the joy of hearing beautiful and satisfying music, well performed in inspiring surroundings.
We wish to support local musicians and music teachers and it is this group who make up our Phoenix Orchestra.
We want to support new young composers and we have run two Composition Competitions. The entrants were drawn from all over the world. Our first winner Owain Park has gone on to compose professionally.
We like to employ local young soloists and final year students from the Birmingham Conservatoire.
Phoenix is more than just a choir. We have social events, form friendships and support each other, sharing our love of music.
Why sing in a choir?
Singing has been found to lower your stress levels and relax your muscles.
Give it a try! Go to Contact page for our contact details and facebook and twitter feeds.
This is what other people say about our singing.
It sounded heaavenly..' a member of the audience.
'The Marie Theresa Mass definitely gave me the tingle factor', a member of the audience
Saturday 26 November 2016
The Phoenix Singers have a long history of good performance and last night’s concert at St Chad’s Church in Shrewsbury under the direction of Richard Walker was no exception. The music of Josef Haydn began the programme and filled the second half while Benjamin Britten and Henry Purcell represented the English school in the middle. The Phoenix Orchestra of 18 players lead by Paul Bramwell matched well the 40 strong choir and the accompaniment balanced at all times.
Haydn’s great chorus Insanae et Vanae Curae assures an incisive start and the moods of disquiet and serenity lie alternately. Whilst Haydn indicates no change of tempo, the two quiet sections need just that subtle relaxation of speed which was achieved beautifully. We heard immediately the sensitive phrasing of both singers and orchestra which was to be the hallmark of the evening. These two special passages are some of my favourite in all music and they have to be right!
Benjamin Britten was conveniently born on St. Cecilia’s Day, 22nd November. Hymn to St. Cecilia has a lovely benign opening with succeeding refrains which belie the difficulties elsewhere, requiring high vocal skills in terms of intonation, breath control and diction. The choir proved up to this as did the four soloists within the choir each portraying a different instrument.
Endearing was Purcell’s Coronation verse anthem My Heart is Inditing during which the orchestra had a little time to itself during the two introductory passages marked Symphony. Delights of Purcell include his unexpected and attractive twists of harmony which the choir negotiated with consummate ease. I have developed a taste for this period of music played with little to no vibrato and I would love to hear this tried in the clear acoustics of St. Chad’s.
The highlight of the evening was Haydn’s late Maria Theresa Mass in which the Phoenix Singers were joined by four excellent professional soloists, Natalie Clifton-Griffith, Imogen Garner, Ian Yemm and Richard Moore. The central section of the Credo gave them a particular opportunity to shine. The whole performance of this work exuded enthusiasm and confidence. The final movement Agnus Dei is not normally the most exburant part of the liturgy, but here Haydn seems be smiling at the thought of a job well done! I hope all performers in this concert felt the same way because we the audience had a delightful evening.
Next Concert - Saturday 25th March 2017 St Chad's Church Shrewsbury.
Our Conductor - Richard Walker
In January 2012 Richard Walker was appointed as principal Conductor of the Phoenix Singers. His career has been in teaching, first in Scotland at The Edinburgh Academy and then as Director of Music at Daniel Stewart's and Melville College, Edinburgh. During this time he was assistant Organist at St Mary's Cathedral Edinburgh and later Organist at St John's Princes Street Edinburgh. He moved back to England in 1980 firstly to be Director of music at the Leys School Cambridge and then at Harrow School for 20 years. It was at Harrow that Richard gained most of his conducting experience with the Chapel Choir, Cathedral Evensongs and Choral Society concerts with professional orchestras.
Richard is currently Assistant Director of Music at St Chad's Shrewsbury where he accompanies most of the major services, gives organ recitals and organises the Friday Lunchtime Concerts. In July 2016 he conducted the Phoenix Singers in Handel's Messiah as the opening concert of the 50th Church Stretton Music Festival.