Chadlington concert with the Male Voice Choir of Voronezh

It was with great pleasure that we welcomed the Male Voice Choir of Voronezh, Russia, last weekend when they joined us in a concert in the Oxfordshire village of Chadlington.

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Phoenix has had a long association with Vorenzh, first hosting the university choir in 1989. We then made a return visit to Russia in Easter 1990, performing in Moscow, St Petersburg and Voronezh, the most memorable concert being in the latter’s opera house where we had a two thousand strong standing ovation.

A number of us had kept in close contact with our Russian friends resulting in the visit of last week. They were here to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Russian Orthodox Church in the UK and to remember the life of Anthony of Sourozh They started the week in Winchester with performances in Gosport, Portsmouth, Oxford and London. The last three days were spent with us.

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A joint concert in Chadlington, Oxfordshire, featured both choirs singing Bogoroditze Devo from Rachmaninoff’s Vespers and a John Rutter arrangement of Down By the Riverside. The powerful male voice sound, including a bass Octavist who could sing an octave lower than your traditional bass, felt like a giant wave as we reached the climax of the Bogoroditze.

“It was worth travelling the great distance to hear both the Reading Phoenix and the Voronezh Male Voice Choir at St Nicholas Church, Chadlington. Hearing a Russian choir again brought back fond memories from the 50s and 60s when I used to go to hear Russian music performed at the Royal Albert Hall and other venues in the capital. The concert gave us two distinct sides of the musical sphere and was a very moving experience and will live long in my memory.I hope the bonds of friendship between the two choirs will continue for many years to come. Memo to Voronezh Choir – Haste he back.”

Leslie Townsend -Friend of Phoenix.

Members of choir hosted the group and the following day was spent in Windsor followed by a concert shared with Occasion Singers in St Mark’s Church Binfield and finally a lunchtime concert in Reading Minster on Monday featuring their extensive repertoire of sacred, classical, folk and popular music. My favourites were The Wide Russian Steppes, Unsaddle the Horses, Lads and a beautiful arrangement of the Beatle’s Yesterday. They raised £250 for the Minster Organ Fund.

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Then it was a couple of hours of shopping before attending our weekly rehearsal. Hopefully, we will be making a return visit in Spring 2018 with concerts in Petersburg, Moscow and Voronezh. I can’t wait!

Gill Leishman – Reading Phoenix Chairman

A visit from Voronezh Male Voice Choir

Back in 1990, Reading Phoenix Choir flew to Helsinki and then travelled by train to Russia. We gave concerts in Leningrad, Moscow and most memorably in Voronezh, when the Opera House was packed to more-than-capacity. We have never had louder or longer applause, and quickly established a strong link with the wonderful people of Voronezh.

We are therefore very excited to welcome Voronezh Male Voice Choir to the UK this October.

Under their chief conductor Tatyana Izhogina the choir will be visiting the South of England to celebrate the life of Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh (1914-2003). This well-known spiritual leader came from the family of the Russian composer Alexander Scriabin. In the 1920s his family emigrated to France where he later worked with the French Resistance.

After the Second World War he took a monastic vow and in 1947 was sent to Britain to serve the church in London. During fifty years of dedicated service to the Russian Orthodox Church he left a significant memory in the hearts of many nations as a priest who spoke five languages and as a theologian, philosopher and spiritual leader.

As part of this tour, the choir will give concerts in Gosport, Winchester and London. On Saturday 15th October, they come together with Reading Phoenix Choir for a joint concert in Chadlington, Oxfordshire.

Their programme with range from inspirational sacred music by Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky and other Russian and Ukrainian composers, to vibrant folklore pieces.

 

 

Welcoming Libby Burgess as Reading Phoenix Choir guest conductor

Reading Phoenix Choir are delighted to welcome Libby Burgess as guest conductor for the start of our 2016/17 season.

Libby joins the choir for the current Autumn/Winter term and has already enjoyed success at our first concert of the season on the 24th September, St. Laurence’s Church, Reading.

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Libby primarily works with singers – as pianist, vocal coach and conductor and has worked with choirs ranging from the BBC Singers to the King’s Consort. CLICK HERE to read Libby’s full biography.

Fans of Reading Phoenix Choir can look forward to hearing Libby conduct the choir at their next concert on 15th October, 2016, St Nicholas Church, Chadlington. 

Further details are available via the choir’s website at www.readingphoenixchoir.com/concert/chadlington/