You may remember our performance of ‘A Little Jazz Mass’ by Bob Chilcott a while ago, well today some of Bel Canto spent the day singing with Bob at Leeds College of Music. We worked on his recent composition ‘The Voyage’, a collection of songs commissioned by AgeUK as part of a project to highlight and combat loneliness. Needless to say, the music is beautiful – Bob is the master of melodies, and such poignant words. A rare treat to work alongside an inspirational composer and such a lovely gentleman.
There was a flurry of activity on the streets of Swinton as we approached the church for rehearsal yesterday afternoon, with gates and lampposts being adorned with giant poppies, each dedicated to the individual fallen, each made by the community in preparation for today’s centennial events.
This set the scene for what must surely be one of the best, most moving concerts performed by Bel Canto.
The choice of music couldn’t have been more fitting for the occasion and Karl Jenkins’ ‘The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace’ took both choir and audience through every emotion with many a tear being blinked away by the end.
The outstanding ensemble of musicians created the drama and sensitivity throughout from the bold, exciting rhythms of the percussion to the sonorous cello, the vibrant trumpets, the joyously lilting piccolo and flute to the beauty of the tranquil strings. With the choir at their best, weaving parts in and out, creating drama, fear and harrowing images with their voices then blending beautifully in the final unaccompanied chorale, the performance was simply magical.
Fauré Requiem was a perfect contrast to complete the evening offering a time of reflection and the opportunity to savour the beauty of Fauré’s choral writing.
Our thanks go to Clare Wheat who performed soprano solo in both works to perfection, to Jonathan Gooing, our incredible accompanist and choir master and to Robert Webb, our inspirational musical director who brings out the best in Bel Canto.
We’ve had a fun craft session (well several!) creating these handcrafted poppies for Bel Canto choir members to wear at our concert on Saturday and support the work of the Royal British Legion.
With our performance of Karl Jenkins’ ‘The Armed Man’ and Fauré Requiem, they’ll be a poignant reminder of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1.