Training Choir

Summer Gala Concert 2017

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The concert held on 8th July at Farnham Maltings had the usual celebratory feel, bringing all the choirs together on the stage and summing up what has been achieved during the past season. It is always lovely to see singers from age 6-18 performing with joy, directed by their various conductors and all ably accompanied by pianist Matthew Rickard.

The concert opened with a set from the senior FYC choir, directed by Jo Tomlinson, who sang several sacred pieces from the sixteenth century up to the present day, including the dramatic piece To Agni with text taken from the Hindu Rig Veda. The final piece in this first set was a World Premiere of And then we knew Peace by Janet Wheeler, commissioned by FYC.

Next to the stage came the crowd-pleasing Trainers Choir who despite their young ages performed wonderfully, with clear diction, good intonation and smiling faces! Conductor Sarah Burston has them well trained!

After the interval we were treated to songs in English and in French from the Junior Girls Choir, conducted by Jo McNally, followed by songs performed jointly by the Girls and the Junior Boys Choir, directed by Patrick Barrett. Both these choirs had enjoyed the opportunity to perform together this year in a new work, Dies Irae, by Ian Assersohn at Dorking Halls. As a thank-you for their dedication, Ian composed a setting of the words Silver by Walter de la Mare, and this was given a World Premiere performance with the composer present in the audience at the Maltings.

Patrick Barrett then directed the Boys Choir with songs in Congolese and Hebrew, followed by Panis Angelicus, ably assisted by the senior boys from FYC.

Jo Tomlinson conducted a set of lighter pieces from FYC to close the concert, including the quirky and demanding piece Wah Bah Dah Doo Bee! by the Swiss jazz composer Ivo Antognini and a charmingly choreographed version of Paloma Faith’s Upside Down, arranged by Michael Higgins who was present in the audience.

All choirs rose together to perform the final piece Goin’ Up a-Yonder which has been a favourite in the FYC repertoire for some time and brought tears to the eyes of the leavers!

Laura Brown

Singing Together: A joint concert with FYC Junior Choirs and Taplow Children's Choirs

  Photographer: Jeremy Smith

Photographer: Jeremy Smith

On Saturday 25th March, both FYC Junior Choirs and the Training Choir joined with Taplow Children’s Choir to provide a wonderful evening of singing at St Andrews Church.

The choirs first came together last year when FYC Junior Boys and Girls choirs travelled to Taplow and this time the invitation was returned and family and friends of all choirs packed the Church.

The repertoire was the usual mix of styles that we have come to expect from FYC concerts including traditional folk songs from across the globe and gave each choir the chance to sing alone and to showcase their joint pieces.

The concert started with a first outing of their rendition of Cantate Domino by the FYC Boys and Girls Junior Choirs followed by a trilogy of Benjamin Britten songs.

Then the Girls choir sang three accomplished pieces -Bon Di and I Dance to the Stars and the Moon around their debut performance of The Bird’s Lament by Richard Rodney Bennett.

Rugby followed and was the humorous offering from the Junior Boys with actions to match, followed by Hine Ma Tov to which there was notable toe tapping from the audience!

We were then treated to all choirs coming together - after a magnificent feat of stage management to get everyone in place.  Two rousing pieces filled the church with over 100 voices perfectly in time and you would not have guessed that they had only had a few hours’ rehearsal together - a tribute to the work of the conductors as well as the singers.  The choirs began with Kusimara by Jim Papulis- with enthusiastic drum accompaniment from the Taplow Conductor Lucy Joy Morris -followed by the moving Hashivenu - an Israeli folk song.

FYC trainers clearly enjoyed their chance to perform in front of family and friends.  They sang and marched through The Zulu Warrior, and their ecological version of 10 Green Bottles was not quite the one we may have remembered from childhood car journeys but all the better for its modern twist.  Add to these a Canadian song - the Land of the Silver Birch -and The Lighthouse and their quartet of songs were complete.  The smiles said it all!

Taplow Children’s Choir then took to the stage to provide a lively set of four songs.  The uplifting Marvellous Song was followed by Ken Johnston’s The Wind that Shakes the Barley.  We were then treated to a well-choreographed duet of songs - Bye Bye Robin and Engine Engine - arranged by FYC’s Jo McNally.

The evening was finished by bringing everyone back together again to sign the Ghanaian playground song Sansa Kroma, that was a fitting end to a delightful evening that more than lived up to its name of Singing Together.  We were treated to a high standard of choral singing by two talented and dedicated choir families.

Reviewer: Lynn Marlow