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
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.