Reading Phoenix Choir Open Rehearsal

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

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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.

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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/

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.

Search for a new MD commences

Reading Phoenix Choir (RPC) has begun its search for a new music director to replace David Crown, who is leaving after six very successful years to succeed Nicholas Cleobury as music director of Oxford Bach Choir.

Since his appointment in spring 2010, David has directed the choir in dozens of concerts, led RPC on tours of Yorkshire, Cardiff and Cork, and guided the choir in new initiatives including workshops with young choirs, the carol service in Reading Minster and the annual Come and Sing.

David commented:

Reading Phoenix Choir is without doubt one of the finest amateur choirs in the UK and I am extremely sad to be leaving them after six exciting and stimulating years. They are a wonderfully friendly group of hard working singers, performing a wide range of repertoire to universal acclaim. I cannot say how much I have enjoyed my time at the helm of this tremendous group.

Gill Leishman, chair of RPC added:

The choir has benefited enormously from David’s appointment as our music director six years ago. Although we are sad to see him go, we are looking forward to the next stage of the journey and are excited by the idea of a new leader to continue the development of this amazing choir.

Applications are invited from accomplished conductors with a strong track record in directing adult mixed-voice choirs. They will be inspiring and energetic, engaging and committed, and excited by the prospect of leading this excellent group of singers.

The full job description can be downloaded here. The closing date for applications is Monday 23 May. Auditions and interviews will be held in June and July.

For further information about RPC, visit www.readingphoenixchoir.com. Questions regarding the vacancy can be sent to RPCapplications@gmail.com.

Star soloists join Reading Phoenix Choir for Annual Concert

Choir breaks from tradition to perform Faure’s Requiem

After 48 singing seasons, Reading Phoenix Choir makes a break from the tradition of singing a selection of songs from ‘ madrigals to jazz’ to perform Faure’s Requiem as part of their Annual Concert. This concert is the celebratory event of the choir’s singing season. This year the choir will be joined by up and coming star soloists Morgan Pearse (Baritone) and Anna Sideris (Soprano), and accompanied by Organist Christopher Cromar.

The choir’s musical director, David Crown, says: “Following the success of singing ‘works’ at the choir’s annual Come and Sing events we have been encouraged to learn and perform Faure’s Requiem. We are always looking to try new things and to challenge ourselves, and have enjoyed this opportunity to explore a different area of musical history. It has been an exciting journey. We are now really looking forward to sharing our musical adventures with our Annual Concert audience.

Reading Phoenix Choir, one of the UK’s finest amateur choirs, was established in 1969. Its first performance was at the Morris Motors Music Festival in Oxford and it has since performed at venues worldwide, including the Royal Albert Hall, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and Reading’s Madejski Stadium as part of the London Olympic 2012 festivities. The choir competed at the prestigious Cork International Choral Festival 2015 in Ireland in May 2015 and at Christmas won a national competition to be featured on Classic FM’s Drive.

The choir’s Annual Concert takes place on Saturday 6 February at 7.30pm, at the Concert Hall, The Town Hall, Blagrave Street, Reading RG1 1QH. Tickets are available herehere and range from £9.50 to £19.50 (£6 for under 16s).

Anna Sideris – Soprano
Anna is studying on the Advanced Opera Programme at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she works with Janice Chapman. While studying for her undergraduate degree at Oxford University Anna sang in masterclasses with eminent singers, such as Renee Fleming, Toby Spence and Ann Murray. She obtained her Masters from the Royal Academy of Music, where she was generously supported by the Kohn Foundation, the Josephine Baker Trust and Help Musicians UK; and performed the following roles in scenes performances: Fiordiligi Cosi Fan Tutte (Mozart), Ellen Peter Grimes (Britten) and Ariane Ariane et Barbe-Bleue (Dukas)

Anna has recorded two Fauré songs for BBC Radio 3 Music Matters, and performed Cinq Melodies de Venise (Fauré) at Kings Place, London. Recent concerts include Boulez Improvisations sur Mallarmé with the Manon Ensemble for Aldeburgh festival, Strauss Vier letzte lieder with the Oxford Millennium Orchestra, Handel Messiah and Mozart Mass in C performed at St John’s Smith Square. Anna has been working for the charity Live Music Now! since November 2014.

Anna was an Alvarez Young Artist for Garsington Opera in the 2015 season, playing Resi Intermezzo (Strauss) and 1st Fairy A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Mendelssohn). Other operatic experience includes Lucy The Telephone (Menotti) for Salon Opera, Tamiri (cover) in Il Re Pastore (Mozart) for New Chamber Opera, Monica in The Medium (Menotti) & Eurydice in Orfeus and Eurydice (Gluck) for New Chamber Opera Studio. Anna has been involved in education projects for Glyndebounre Opera and Garsington Opera.

Morgan Pearse – Baritone

During the 2014/15 season Morgan joined Houston Grand Opera Studio where his roles included Papageno (The Magic Flute), Yamadori (Madame Butterfly), Anthony (Sweeney Todd) and the cover of Guglielmo (Cosi fan tutte). He went on to perform Figaro in Corigliano’s Ghosts of Versailles for Wolftrap Opera in Virginia.

This season Morgan returns to the UK and to English National Opera taking the role of Figaro (Barber of Seville) and appears at Wigmore Hall.

In 2013 Morgan was selected by YCAT and won the Gold Medal at the Royal Over-Seas League Competition. He subsequently took the title role in Owen Wingrave with Sydney Chamber Opera and made his debut with English National Opera as Pompeo (Benvenuto Cellini).

Born in 1988, Morgan Pearse studied at the Sydney Conservatorium & University and the Royal College of Music International Opera School, where he won the prestigious Lies Askonas Prize. He was selected by YCAT in 2013.

Christopher Cromar – Organist
Christopher Cromar was born in Scotland and was educated at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Chetham’s School of Music, the Conservatoire Superieur de Paris. He now works extensively as a conductor, pianist and organist on the concert platform and as a repetiteur and vocal coach for leading opera companies, choirs (including the BBC Singers and Halle Choir) and distinguished soloists. He regularly serves the vocal and opera faculties of several UK conservatoires.

Christopher has also pursued a career as a concert organist giving many recitals in Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Cathedral, King’s College, Cambridge, Notre Dame and in Germany, Holland, Greece and the USA.

As a pianist he has performed extensively throughout Europe and made his debut at London’s Barbican Centre in 2006.

Christopher has broadcast on BBC TV and radio, Channel 4 TV and Radio France and he features on several CD recordings. A disc of music by Jonathan Dove on the Naxos label was released in June 2011.

Reading Phoenix Choir wins national competition

Reading Phoenix Choir’s festive recording to feature on Classic FM this Christmas

Reading based music group Reading Phoenix Choir is delighted to announce that it will feature on Classic FM’s Drive this Christmas, with a special recording of Coventry Carol.

The group’s recording is one of five winning entries selected for Classic FM’s popular prime-time Drive slot by Classic FM and Making Music, the UK’s membership organisation for amateur music groups.

The five winning entries will be played in the week commencing 7 December, one entry per day. Reading Phoenix Choir’s carol will be played on Wednesday 9th December.

Following the success of the choir’s annual charity Christmas Concert at Reading Minster this recording was made as part of the choir’s Christmas CD ‘The Midnight Clear’. It was chosen as the entry for Classic FM because it highlights the choir’s warm and joyful sound – a perfect choice for spreading good feeling this Christmas. It was conducted by Musical Director David Crown and recorded in 2013.

This year the choir’s Christmas Concert ‘Carols at Christmas’ will be at 5pm on Saturday 19th December, Reading Minster.

Making Music’s Executive Director Barbara Eifler says: “We were delighted to receive 59 entries from across the UK, showing the breadth and variety of our member groups. All the entries were strong but these five represent the very best and show the UK amateur music scene to be in very good health – we are thrilled that Classic FM is recognising the wealth of talent that is out there this Christmas.”

With almost 5.5million listeners tuning in each week, Classic FM is one of the top three commercial radio stations in the UK. This is an exciting opportunity for Reading Phoenix Choir to reach an even wider audience across the UK, and spread some musical joy this festive season!

UK chart-topping pianist Ji Liu guests at Reading Phoenix Choir’s Annual Concert

Concert marks the choir’s 800th performance

 

Reading Phoenix Choir will be joined by UK chart-topping classical pianist Ji Liu at its Annual Concert on Saturday 16 May 2015, at Reading’s impressive Concert Hall.  The concert marks the choir’s 800th performance since its creation in 1969.

 

The choir’s musical director, David Crown, says:  “To celebrate our 800th performance, we wanted to invite a guest artist of international standing to this year’s Annual Concert.  I’m delighted that Ji Liu, who has played on some of the world’s most famous stages, has agreed to join us.  I think this will be a very special evening for Reading’s music lovers.”

 

Described by Classic FM as ‘…one of the most promising pianists of his generation’, Shanghai-born Ji Liu, 25, was the UK’s biggest-selling classical breakthrough artist of 2014.  His debut solo album Piano Reflections shot straight to Number One in the classical charts in February 2014, and his second album Piano Encores entered the charts at Number 2 in February 2015.

 

Reading Phoenix Choir, one of the UK’s finest amateur choirs, was established in 1969.  Its very first performance was at the Morris Motors Music Festival in Oxford and it has since performed at venues worldwide, including the Royal Albert Hall, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and Reading’s Madejski Stadium as part of the London Olympic 2012 festivities.  The choir was recently selected to compete at the prestigious Cork International Choral Festival 2015 in Ireland in May 2015.

 

The choir’s Annual Concert takes place on Saturday 16 May at 7.30pm, at the Concert Hall, The Town Hall, Blagrave Street, Reading RG1 1QH.  Tickets are available via the choir’s ticket page and range from £10 to £20 (concessions for under 16s).  The choir is offering a £5 discount on Annual Concert tickets if bought together with tickets for its Come & Sing event on Saturday 11 July 2015.

Reading Phoenix Choir selected to compete at Cork International Choral Festival

One of only 10 choirs selected from entrants worldwide

Reading Phoenix Choir has been selected to compete at the prestigious Cork International Choral Festival 2015 in Ireland. One of just 10 choirs chosen from entrants in 14 countries, the choir will be singing to win the Festival’s Fleischmann International Trophy, competing against some of the best amateur choirs in the world.

David Crown, the choir’s musical director, says: I am delighted that Reading Phoenix Choir will be taking part in one of the world’s most prestigious choral competitions. We’re going to be working our socks off in the next few months to make sure that we can give any choir a run for their money.  I’ve already felt the excitement among the members of the choir and I’m looking forward to seeing how we fare as we pit ourselves against some of the best choirs in the world.’

The choir will sing four unaccompanied pieces in the competition, lasting around 12 minutes in total. As one of the Fleischmann International Trophy participants, it has also been invited to perform at a number of the Festival’s other activities, including fringe concerts, its church interchange programme and informal public performances. The Festival takes place between 29 April and 3 May 2015.

Reading Phoenix Choir currently has vacancies in all voice parts, not least because of its very own baby boom – five of the choir’s female singers have had babies in the last year!

To audition for the choir in time to sing at Cork, singers are invited to email info@readingphoenixchoir.com.

Here, There and Everywhere: From Bach to the Beatles

Reading Phoenix Choir is thrilled to return to Reading Concert Hall for its annual concert, this year welcoming as its guests rising stars from the Young Classical Artists Trust Philip Higham (cello) and Alasdair Beatson (piano).

This highly-acclaimed choir will take you on an exciting musical journey ‘here, there and everywhere’, through different genres, eras and nations, offering something to music-lovers of all backgrounds and ages.

Reading Phoenix is one of Reading’s most accomplished choirs, performing across the country in concerts, competitions and festivals. The choir is in its 45th season and is delighted to be marking this achievement in such a beautiful local venue.

Cellist Philip Higham has been described as having ‘all the qualities of a world-class artist’, and is rapidly emerging as one of the most prominent young cellists from the UK. He is accompanied by pianist Alasdair Beatson who is highly regarded as a distinctive and vibrant musician.

The concert will take place at 7.30pm on Saturday 17th May at The Concert Hall, Reading Town Hall, Blagrave Street.  Tickets range from £10-£20 with discounts available for under 16s.  You can book tickets directly through our website www.readingphoenixchoir.com, calling 07783 222993 or emailing info@readingphoenixchoir.com.

Don’t miss out on this fantastic event!

Sing Out! with Oxford Road Community School

Reading Phoenix Choir spent a fantastic afternoon and evening with the talented pupils of Oxford Road Community School on Saturday 8th February. The children took part in a workshop in the afternoon with David Crown, followed by a concert in Argyle Community Church to a packed audience, raising money for the Mustard Tree Foundation.

This is the fifth workshop the choir has done with local schools, and they have been hugely successful both in terms of raising money for good causes and inspiring young people to enjoy choral music. The Head of Oxford Road Community School, Claire Hurst, said the following:

“Tonight was very special. The choir is just incredible and I was so proud of my children for their performance and their true enjoyment of you guys. I would jump at the chance to do that again, it was very moving watching you all. Please thank all the choir for their support and encouragement – they were such an inspiration to the children (and I got a great deal from it too!). They were lovely with the children and it will be a lasting experience”.

Please get in touch if you would like young people in your area to share this experience!

 

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.

A Carol Concert in Reading Minster

A Carol Concert with Reading Phoenix Choir and Daisy’s Dream

Reading Phoenix Choir is performing with Reading Minster Boys’ Choir for a Christmas carol concert at Reading Minster of St Mary the Virgin on Saturday 14th December at 5pm.

Entry is free and there will be a collection in aid of Berkshire children’s charity Daisy’s Dream and the Reading Minster Organ Fund.  Daisy’s Dream supports children and their families throughout Berkshire and the surrounding areas who are affected by life threatening illness and bereavement.

There will be plenty of opportunity for everyone to join in with well-known favourites such as ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ and ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’. In addition, Reading Phoenix and Reading Minster Boys’ Choir will be performing pieces from their festive repertoire.  Reading Phoenix Choir will also be selling its latest album, ‘The Midnight Clear’, which features family favourite Christmas carols.