Welcome to KEMS Choir.We're a friendly bunch of people who enjoy singing together.Trained and conducted by our popular, young and talented Choral Director, Ian Chesworth, we extend a warm welcome for enthusiastic 'young at heart' singers (male and female) to join us.
KEMS has its own Orchestra which plays for most of our choral concerts and sometimes we're joined by some of the KEMS Concert Band members - we all enjoy making great music together.
Major works performed by the KEMS choir in the 2015/16 season
• North-West Premiere of Chris Williams ‘Tsunami Requiem’, Rutter ‘Gloria’
• Brahms ‘A German Requiem’
• Various carols and spirituals, selection from Vivaldi Gloria, Chilcott Jazz Mass
We started our 59th season in a new venue, Bolingbrook Primary School which despite some initial teething problems now appears to be working smoothly, also allowing for a bit more flexibility in choir seating. Our first concert included two relatively modern works, the John Rutter ‘Gloria’ and Chris Williams’s ‘Tsunami Requiem’. The Requiem, “A moving and intense work telling the story of the devastating tsunami of 2004” proved a hit with the choir and was a NorthWest premiere. We were joined by First Year students of the Manchester School of Theatre (Manchester Metropolitan University) singing the ‘children’s choir’ part. We sang the Rutter in its full orchestral version which is rarely done (most choirs opting for the original brass ensemble version).
We returned to ‘old favourites’ from Carols for Choirs 1 for our Christmas concert in celebration of the life of Sir David Willcocks who died in September. It was a pleasure to revisit these arrangements which went down well with audience and choir alike. The remainder of the choral section also proved a hit with movements from the Vivaldi Gloria and the Chilcott ‘A Little Jazz Mass’. My feeling coming away from the evening was immense pride with the choir giving one of their best Christmas concerts yet!
The April concert was the monumental Brahms ‘A German Requiem’ (sung in English with the new Novello translation). This is a huge undertaking for the choir with most of its sixty minutes being choral coupled with some huge fugues. Despite some initial reservations from some members of the choir in tackling the work in English, I think most people were won over by the new translation giving the direct approach in the vernacular that Brahms desired. We coupled this with an orchestral overture (Mendelssohn ‘The Hebrides’) and a Brahms miniature for accompanied chorus, his ‘Schicksalslied’ that we sang in German. Despite its relatively straightforward harmony and counterpoint, the choir found this work a little tricky but all pulled together well by the concert which was yet again stunning.I would like to encourage choir members to make sure they ‘do their homework’ and look at their scores between rehearsals not just in the weeks immediately preceding the concert!
We continue to need to work on blend and projection through our regular rehearsals and voice exercises but also we could do with some extra voices in both the tenor and alto sections to truly balance out the sound. Our 60th Season looks to be very exciting. We have programmed two new works to the society (as far as we can tell!), the Beethoven Mass in C and Will Todd’s Mass in Blue. As a contrast for the Gala Concert in April we will perform ‘Choral Favourites’ that the society has sung over its history.
Overall, an excellent season. Thanks once again to Tony and the orchestra and to all the ‘backroom’ members that keep rehearsals running smoothly.
Why not join us? Singing in a choir is very rewarding and is great fun too. KEMS are always happy for new singers to join us, without audition. If you fancy joining us please telephone Steve Kleiser (01625 431 544) or send us an e-mail by clicking here.
Sophie Ann Keagan