FESTIVAL OF CHICHESTER: Feast of choral gems in chorale’s favourite venue

Tom
Tom

Chichester Chorale return to their favourite venue for the Festival of Chichester with a concert in Boxgrove Priory on Wednesday, July 6, at 7.30pm.

The chamber choir is promising a feast of choral gems including Mozart’s Missa Brevis, Schubert’s Magnificat and British folk songs. It will be directed by Arthur Robson, with accompanist Mark Wardell and Festival Strings. Arthur is delighted to be joined by his son Tom, tenor at Westminster Cathedral, for a special extra treat on the programme.

Arthur said: “Tom is a professional singer and sang some early music with a lutenist two or three months ago and rang and told us about it. He said how wonderful it would be if we could do it in Boxgrove. We had a look at the figures to see if we could afford a lutenist, and we had some negotiations, and we are delighted to say that she is coming. She is Elizabeth Kenny and is a professor of lute at the Royal Academy. And according to Tom, she is brilliant. It will be great to include her.”

As Polly Robson, chorale administrator, says, the concert combines a splendid venue with a chorale on top form: “The acoustic there is tremendous, and it is the perfect size for our choir. It’s lovely. A lot of money has been spent on it, and you have a sense of history. It is really intimate and you can hear every note. It means a lot of responsibility for the choir to be on top form, and they are at the moment. They are as good as they have ever been. We took them on a tour to Belgium last year, and that was their first overseas tour. It was a really cementing time for the choir. We have got rehearsals every week, and we have a break in the middle, but it is not until you go away that you really get to know each other. We have noticed a real difference. We do everything we can to create a friendly atmosphere, but when you all go away together, that is the icing on the cake. Just to get away from your home venue and have that shared experience away together is something really special.

“We took some students, and we were able to find a bit of money for that because obviously they don’t have the financial resources. We have got two students that have stayed with us. It is great additional experience for them.”

As for the programme, Arthur is delighted to offer the Schubert Magnificat: “It is a joyous piece for the choir to sing, and it is quite challenging. It stretches them a bit further. It is in a higher register. It is quite a tiring piece to do, but has got a lot of oomph!”

They will also perform Handel’s Zadok the Priest and Haydn’s Insanae et Vanae Curae, among other pieces in a concert which Arthur and the choir regard as the centrepiece of their year. Stanford: Three Latin Motets and Holst: Folksongs will also be performed.

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