German Orchestra Visit
Streicherensemble Celle (Celle string Orchestra) and Phoenix Singers perform sparkling concert in St Chad's
The Phoenix Singers had an exciting and full week entertaining our friends in the Celle Orchestra. They arrived on Sunday at lunchtime and after Sunday lunches and a rest we had a joint rehearsal with Richard Walker. On Monday our guests were given an official town tour of Shrewsbury to learn about our beautiful and historic places and churches.
On Tuesday the orchestra rehearsed for their own concert on Tuesday evening in St Alkmund's Church, where they performed Telemann recorder Suite in A minor, Stravinsky and Respighi. All the pieces where linked musically by using dance forms in their structure.
On Wednesday they had a day in Birmingham and some of our visitors were thrilled to visit the Symphony Hall to hear the CBSO play Weber, Mozart and Brahms under their very expressive conductor Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla. Thursday was a lovely sunny day and the group went on a walk in the Stretton Hills with a full rehearsal in the evening.
Friday saw many independent activities happening and then we came together on Friday evening in St Chad's to give a sparkling performance of Mozart's Requiem and Handel's challenging Dixit Dominus. After the performance we had a sumptuous bring and share supper with the orchestra, soloists and other guests. Our Chairman Tony Newell thanked the orchestra for their superb playing and for visiting us. The exchange has been continuing for twenty-one years. Tony is an excellent German speaker and is at the fore in organising and enabling our mutual visits.
Saturday morning saw us all in the Abbey car park to see our German guests off. Annette Busch produced the music to a farewell song and the uplifting sound of about sixty people singing in four part harmony drifted across the tarmac. It was a moving moment and we look forward to paying a reciprocal visit.
Our next concert is on Thursday 7th December when we present a programme of Christmas Music and Readings in Leaton Church (on the Berwick Road between Shrewsbury and Baschurch). There is plenty of parking. We will be singing Carols old and new plus pieces by Villette and Britten.
You can now buy tickets for Thursday 7th December online: www.trybooking.co.uk/CGL
Dates for your Diary 2017 - 2018
Thursday 7th December 2017 - A Christmas Celebration
Saturday 3rd March 2018 - J S Bach - B minor Mass
Saturday 9th June 2018 - A Summer Concert
Saturday 1st December 2018 - Charpentier and other works
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.