Dates for your diary

We are half way through our summer term now and thought you might like to take note of a few dates for your diary, that will complete our wonderful 2016/17 season at Reading Phoenix.

Saturday 10th June – Concert at Wokingham Methodist Church

From 7.30pm

Tickets – £10 per person

Set In the heart of Wokingham, our concert at Wokingham Methodist Church is in aid of the MORS Charity Fund which supports local and national charities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday 24th June – A Concert to celebrate Midsummer’s Evening, St. John’s Hartley Wintney

From 7.30pm

Tickets – £12.00 per person and £5.00 for under 16s

Located in the beautiful village of Hartley Wintney in Hampshire, our midsummer’s concert at St. John’s Church will be held in partnership with the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice, with whom all proceeds will be shared.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At both our June concerts we will be performing a wide range of repertoire with our Musical Director Christopher Hann. Beautiful excerpts of works by Brahms, Rheinberger and Herbert Howells; a 6-part, and an 8-part, Crucifixus by Antonio Lotti; and some magnificent and powerful excerpts from Rachmaninov’s Vespers. On the lighter side, madrigals, the delightful ‘My Spirit Sang all Day’ (Finzi), works by the Kings Singers, ‘Queen’, and David Bowie; even one piece called Chili Con Carne!!

Saturday 15th July – Come & Sing, Reading Minster

Rehearsal from 11.00am – 5.30pm, Concert at 7.00pm

25.00 per person (includes score) – EARLY BIRD TICKETS £20.00 (Available until 31st May)

At our 2017, annual Come & Sing we are looking forward to learning two settings of Gloria by Vivaldi & Rutter. We will be rehearsing throughout the day at Reading’s historic Reading Minster and invite your family and friends to join us for a performance of both in the evening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The choir are currently enjoying a short break over Half Term but are looking forward to all three of these dates and we do hope you will be able to join us.

Concert review: St Bartholomew’s, Lower Basildon

Over the last weekend of March, we enjoyed a concert at the beautiful St. Bartholomew’s church in Lower Basildon, West Berkshire.

The concert was a lovely way to welcome the start of spring and we enjoyed performing to a packed church, by candlelight.

The choir rehearsing at St. Bartholomew’s before the concert

 

We also received some lovely feedback that we just had to share with you:

“Magic from start to finish. The choir are in a class of their own. The evening was both enchanting and moving the singing reaching into every corner of our historic church.Your new Musical Director was obviously thrilled with the evening’s performance. The programme delighted the audience it was a memorable event for us all.The Friends of St Bartholomew’s also raised sustainable funds towards the restoration work at the church.We are looking forward to 2019 when we will welcome the choir to Lower Basildon once again.”

Lynn Thorn – Concert Organiser and Friend of St. Bartholomew’s

“Your concert last night was wonderful, I am so glad to have heard your choir sing at last and I love hearing concerts in Church too.  You are all amazing to learn all the music and songs by heart.”

Friend of Reading Phoenix 

If you didn’t manage to join us for this concert but would like to in the future, we have a packed diary for our summer term, with concerts in Worthing, Brighton, Wokingham, Hartley Wintney. Finally, we will be finishing on a high with our Come & Sing at Reading Minster in July. 

We hope to see you there!

Tour preview: Join us in Sussex, this May!

Last year we enjoyed a wonderful mini weekend tour to Kent, performing across The Garden of England.

In fact, we had such lovely weekend, singing and socialising with our fellow choir members, we knew it was something we had to do again this year! We are therefore delighted to announce that this May we are making a trip down to the south coast for a mini tour in Sussex.

With two concerts booked, preparations are well under way to organise another successful tour.

Our first concert on Saturday 6th May will take us to St. George’s Church, Worthing, where we will be singing a rich and varied concert programme in aid of Worthing Churches Homeless Project.

This fantastic charity has been working extremely hard over the past 16 years with a vision that “Worthing and surrounding area is a community where no local person needs to sleep out and everyone has the opportunity to fulfil their potential”.

“Started in 1991 by four local Christians who took soup, blankets and sleeping bags to the seafront to local homeless people. From this small beginning, Worthing Churches Homeless Projects was born. Today this West Sussex Christian charity has grown to 56 staff members and over 200 volunteers and provides a range of services, which offer opportunities to regain independence.
 
Worthing Churches Homeless Projects believe that everyone has the right to a home, regardless of the difficulties and issues they may face in their lives. We believe in showing those who need our help, that the wider community are there to support them and to offer hope for a better future.
 
The work undertaken by Worthing Churches Homeless Projects is crucial, people who live in our accommodation receive the specialist support they need to ensure their recovery. We empower homeless or insecurely housed individuals to achieve sustainable independent living.”
 
On Sunday 7th May, our second will be part of the fabulous Brighton Fringe, England’s largest arts festival.

“Brighton Fringe is England’s largest arts festival and one of the largest fringe festivals in the world. We set out to stimulate, educate and entertain a diverse range of people through a diverse range of art forms. And all this in an iconic city with unique cultural heritage.
 
Brighton Fringe takes place every May (5 May – 4 June 2017)  This vast celebration of all things creative has grown out of and is inspired by, home-grown talent. More than 50% of participants are based in Brighton & Hove. We are committed to helping the arts flourish and are completely open-access, which means anyone can put on a Brighton Fringe event. No selection criteria are imposed on participants. This enables both new and established performers to try out new work and take risks. We also help artists develop professionally through a range of workshops, mentoring and bursary programmes. A wide array of critically acclaimed shows and performers also appear at Brighton Fringe each year, drawn by the huge number of appreciative audience members who attend every year.”
 
If you are going to be in Sussex, the weekend of the 6th & 7th May we would love it if you would join us for one of our fantastic concerts. We are looking forward to announcing our full concert programme shortly but in the meantime, further information and how to purchase tickets can be found HERE.

Concert venue sneak peek! Saint Bartholomew’s Church, Lower Basildon

This Saturday 25th March the choir is looking forward to performing a lovely rural church, tucked away in the heart of West Berkshire.

Saint Bartholomew’s Church dates to the 1280s’& is in the English style of flint & stone, local materials, a country church built by its people for its people. A fine brick tower was added in the 1730s’ & during the Victorian period the interior was re-furbished & the north aisle & porch added. It is listed Grade 1 by Historic England.

St. Bartholomew’s served its community for over 700 years but as the population moved up the hill to Upper Basildon where a new church was built, the old country church closed for regular worship in 1976; six services a year are now held here.

In the 1990s’ the church came into the care of The Churches Conservation Trust. The Trust have repaired & maintained the fabric & graveyard ensuring that St Bartholomew’s continues as a place of worship, an attractive historic church for its many visitors from home & overseas & a place where people can enjoy new experiences.

Jethro Tull, agricultural pioneer was baptised & finally buried here in 1741; as are the ‘great & the good’ from nearby Basildon House, the Sykes, Morrison’s & Ferdinando’s.

St Bartholomew’s is supported by a small & proactive group of ‘Friends’. Their aim is to organise an active calendar of activities to generate funds that ensure that St. Bartholomew’s is always a welcoming & attractive environment for worship, visitors & events & that it will be here to play a role within its community in future years.

The proceeds from this concert will contribute toward enabling the church to have a ‘voice’ again through the refurbishment of our striking clock & for repair to the ancient chancel door.

We would be delighted if you can join us for what is set to be a fabulous concert with a varied programme from Rachmaninov to Bob Chilcott! The concert starts at 7.30pm and full details, including ticket information can be found HERE

Meet our Annual Concert Soloists

We are gearing for our Annual Concert, the highlight of our concert season and thought now would be a great opportunity to introduce you to our concert soloists, who will be performing Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem alongside the choir.

For full details on our Annual Concert, this February, Saturday 28th at 7.30pm at Reading’s beautiful Victorian Concert Hall and to purchase tickets, please CLICK HERE.

Soprano – Jessica Broad

Jessica Broad, soprano, graduated with BMus Hons and a Postgraduate Diploma in Opera Studies from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She now lives in London and continues her studies with Jenny Dakin.

Jessica is a regular performer on the opera and oratorio platform. She sings regularly with The Royal Opera House Chorus, English National Opera and Welsh National Opera. She has most recently been performing Oedipe with the Royal Opera House Chorus. Other recent opera chorus work has included: The Force of Destiny and Queen of Spades with English National Opera and Le Nozze di Figaro with The Royal Opera House. Her recent operatic roles have included: Marguerite in Gounod’s Faust; Micaela in Bizet’s Carmen and The Countess in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. She has sung chorus in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges (for which she understudied the role of Nicolette) and Prokofiev’s War and Peace.

Jessica is a founding member and manager of the professional vocal ensemble Dieci Voices. They perform extensively as an ensemble and also provide soloists for concerts and events. www.diecivoices.com

Future oratorio work includes: Bach’s St John Passion, Haydn Nelson Mass, Faure Requiem and Carr Requiem for an Angel. She will also be performing with Dieci Voices and recital partner Peter Yardley Jones. Please see her website for further details -www.jessicabroad.co.uk

Baritone – Robert Garland

Baritone Robert Garland is studying on the Opera Course at the Royal Academy of Music with Mark Wildman and Audrey Hyland where he also completed his Master of Arts. He is also a graduate of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama where he studied with Janet Price. During his time at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama Robert was a Ley Clerk at Llandaff Cathedral and also sang with Classical Brit Award Winning Choir ‘Only Men Aloud!’.

Since moving to London Robert’s operatic roles include Bartolo in the Royal Academy of Music’s production of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figao, Talbot in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda, Figaro in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, Guglielmo in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Papageno in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and Belcore in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore. He has also covered the role of Papageno for Nevill Holt’s production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflote. He has performed the roles of Demitrius from Britten’s A Midsummer Nights Dream and Nardo from Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera for the Royal Academy of Music’s Postgraduate Opera Scenes. Recent professional chorus work has included singing for Opera Holland Park’s Iris (Mascagani) and Grange Park Opera’s Peter Grimes (Britten), Pikovaya dama (Tchaikovsky), La Boheme (Puccini) and Samson et Dalila (Saint-Saens).

Robert has also worked with Northern Ireland Opera for Macbeth (Verdi) and Der fliegende Holländer (Wagner). He has sung in numerous oratorio performances most notably including; Brahms’s Requiem, Gounod’s St. Cecilia Mass, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle and Vaughan-Williams’s Five Mystical Songs.

He is sponsored by the Josephine Baker Trust and his studies are generously supported by the Winship Foundation, the Split Infinitive Trust and the Mario Lanza Foundation.

Piano – Somi Kim

South Korean born New Zealand pianist, Somi Kim graduated from the Royal Academy of Music last year with an Advanced Diploma in Performance, receiving the HRH Princess Alice the Duchess of Gloucester’s Prize for exemplary studentship. In 2015, Somi gained her Master of Arts with Distinction, receiving a DipRAM and the Christian Carpenter Prize for the Best Recital. Somi is the winner of the Gerald Moore Award for Accompanists, AESS Patricia Routledge National English Song Accompanist Prize, Bromsgrove International Musicians Competition Accompanist Prize, Vivian Langrish Memorial Trust Prize, Thomas Art of Song Accompanist Prize, Major van Someron-Godfery Prize for Accompanists and the Concordia Serena Nevill Prize. Somi received the 6th Pettman/Royal Over-Seas League Arts International Scholarship in 2013 and had her debut with Chamber Music New Zealand last year.

Somi is sought after as a chamber musician, song accompanist and répétiteur. She is an artist for the Kirckman Concert Society, Park Lane Group, Concordia Foundation and is a Yeoman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians. Somi is a scholar on the Samling Artist Programme and Georg Solti Accademia and is a staff pianist at the International Holland Music Sessions. In recital, Somi’s recent and future appearances include Het

Concertgebouw, Slovak Philharmonic, Wigmore Hall, St. John’s Smith Square, Cadogan Hall, Bridgewater Hall and the Edinburgh Fringe, Ryedale, Kings Lynn and Oxford Lieder Festivals.

Piano – Corrado Valvo

Sicilian pianist Corrado Valvo obtained a Bachelor’s degree in piano at the Musical Institute Vincenzo Bellini in Catania with Maestro Corrado Ratto, and his Masters at the Conservatory Dall’Abaco in Verona under the guidance of Maestro Michela Forgione. Corrado has dedicated his study in orchestral conducting under the guidance of Maestro Marco Boemi. He worked in production of Puccini’s La Boheme with the Theatre of Spoleto and undertook a tour of Japan earlier this year. As a soloist, he is a laureate many piano competitions including the Competition of Barcelona, Vincenzo Bellini of Milo, G. De Vincenzi, Tuttarte of Nicolosi, Benedetto Albanese of Caccamo, Lions City of Viterbo. He received the “Lucio Stefano D’agata” prize of Acireale, and the Nuova Coppa Pianisti of Osimo.

He made his debut with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Lugansk in 2012, gaining critical acclaim. Corrado has performed at the Teatro Garibaldi of Enna, Philharmonic Theatre in Lugansk, Castello Ursino in Catania, the Modern Art Park La Verde-La Malfa of Catania, Cultural Centre of EXPO Pedara (CT), Nuovo Teatro Fenice in Osimo (AN), Montanari Hall of the Literary Society and the Camozzini Palace in Verona, Hall of the Ballet of the GAM in Milan, Teatro Nazionale of Opera in Rome, Sala Pegasus of Spoleto (PE) and Teatro Lirico G. Menotti of Spoleto (PE).

In April 2016 he was admitted to the George Solti Academy for repetiteurs and conductors. Here he is studying under renowned tutors such as Richard Bonynge, Pamela Bullock, James Vaughan and Jonathan Papp. He is also studying conducting technique at Conservatorio Santa Cecilia in Rome with the M° Maurizio Ciampi.

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.

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

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/