A review of our Annual Concert

In February we enjoyed taking part in our Annual Concert at the beautiful Victorian Concert Hall in Reading Town Hall.

Alto, Carla Battelli has very kindly shared with us her review of the concert!

“My sixth Annual Concert, in the usual stunning Concert Hall, so rich and welcoming, and in a totally new musical formula, as we performed a big piece, Brahms’ Requiem, in the first half, followed by a choice of usual repertoire. But the roof was lifted once again! Our new conductor Chris Hann was precise and professional, as well as relaxed at the same time (!).
We all enjoyed the evening a lot, having with us wonderful soloists and two piano players! With a great lovely and very warming audience, and three friends of mine from Rome among them (it was my last Annual Concert with Phoenix, sob). Betta said “It has been so impressive, so professional, I cannot add a word, I just loved every bit of it! It reminded of my days singing with the Filarmonica Romana. Such nostalgia!”
I can only add that this concert will be in my memories for a long time!”

A warm welcome to our new Musical Director

We are delighted to announce the appointment of their new musical director for the start of 2017, Christopher Hann.

A highly accomplished choral conductor, Christopher currently works with a variety of Berkshire-based choirs, including Berkshire Youth Choirs. In addition to his conducting, Christopher is in great demand as a professional consort singer.

Commenting on his new role, Chris said:

“Reading Phoenix is a choir that I have admired and am delighted to be beginning my role as Musical Director at the beginning of the New Year. I look forward to working with the choir and joining them on a new chapter of their musical journey.”

The choir is looking forward to our first concert with Christopher on Saturday 28th January at St Michael at the North Gate, Oxford where they will celebrating 350 years since the birth of Antonio Lotti. The concert starts at 7.30pm and tickets (£10 per person) can be purchased at the door. Please CLICK HERE for further details 

This February, the choir will be performing Brahms Requiem and a selection of exciting, new repertoire at our Annual Concert on Saturday 25th February, 7.30pm at Reading Concert Hall. Tickets at from £6.00 and can be purchased HERE.

We look forward to welcoming you to our first concerts of the year and sharing with you, our repertoire we have been working on with Christopher.

Reading Phoenix Choir Open Rehearsal

Monday 9th January, 7.45pm – 9.55pm
South Lake Primary School, Campbell Road, Woodley, RG5 3NA

Open Rehearsal FB Post FINAL

Wash away the Monday blues with an evening of singing at our first open rehearsal of 2017 with new Musical Director, Christopher Hann.

A mixed voice choir made up of approx. 50 singers from across Berkshire, North Hampshire, Surrey, and Oxfordshire, now in its 49th season, the Reading Phoenix Choir is one of the country’s finest amateur choirs and performs a varied repertoire, mostly a cappella and from memory to the highest standards. Representing Reading throughout the country and abroad the choir performs approximately 15 concerts per year raising thousands of pounds for charity. The choir tours often, most recently to Cork and Kent, and has enjoyed taking part major competitions.

We are currently welcoming all voice parts to the choir, by audition but in particular Altos and Tenors.

Why our members love singing with The Reading Phoenix Choir:

“Having just sent the last of my children off to university and decided that instead of sitting in the audience at concerts it was my turn to get back on the stage, my next decision was which choir? My priorities were quality and variety. The Phoenix choir appeared to me to fill these qualities. One rehearsal and I was hooked, the ‘buzz’ of group singing, loads of new tunes going round in my head. I very quickly realised another of the Phoenix’s qualities –friendliness.”

If you are interested in joining us for our next open rehearsal, please contact our Choir Secretary Rebecca Ranson via secretary@readingphoenixchoir.com 

We look forward to welcoming you to Reading Phoenix Choir!

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.

IMG_0779

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.

IMG_0778

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.

IMG_1774

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.

 

 

Reading Phoenix Choir to tour Kent

This June, Reading Phoenix Choir will travel to Kent for a weekend festival of music making. Performing at various locations across the county, the choir’s family friendly programme will introduce audience members to our unique choral style singing a selection of songs from ‘madrigals to jazz’ from memory and mostly a capella.

This weekend celebrates the end of the choir’s singing season and will include the final performances with Musical Director, David Crown who leaves the choir in July after six successful years.

David Crown, says:

“We are excited to be performing in a number of venues across Kent. The variety of locations and audiences for whom we will perform demonstrates the choir’s adaptability and compliments the diversity of our repertoire – highlighting why we are one of the top amateur choir’s in the country.’

The choir will be visiting Kent from 10-12 June 2016 and will be performing at the following locations:

  • 10 June, 7.30pm – St George’s Church, Church Street, Gravesend DA11 0DJ
  • 11 June, 12pm – Wealden Times Midsummer Fair, Hole Park, Rolvenden TN17 4JB
  • 11 June, 7.30pm – All Saints Church, Mill Street, Maidstone ME15 6YE
  • 12 June, 2pm – Whitstable Funday Sunday, Marine Parade, Whitstable CT5 2BE

Tickets are available via the choir’s website at www.readingphoenixchoir.com/kent.

Reading Phoenix Choir sing in St Clement Danes, London

Last night Reading Phoenix Choir filled the magnificent St Clement Danes, the Central Church of the RAF, with music in an exciting and varied concert. In the choir’s first full concert in London as part of the Brandenburg Choral Festival, the concert was centred on pieces by the eponymous “Mr Bach and Mr Handel”. The choir opened the first half with Handel’s rousing Zadok the Priest, a truly spine-tingling experience as Christopher Enston’s superb organ playing led into the uplifting opening chords. Bach’s Lobet den herrn perfectly suited the acoustics and ambience of this lovely church and gave the choir an opportunity to really enjoy this challenging piece.

A high point of the concert had to be singing Holst’s I vow to thee my country in the spiritual home of the RAF, which was very moving. The concert raised money for Stoneleigh Youth Orchestra and New Life Nyambene, and the choir was thrilled to be able to support these causes whilst singing in such a prestigious and beautiful venue.