Maidstone Choirs Concert
22nd International Maidstone Music and Dance Festival
St Martin’s Church Friday 11th July 2014
The annual Choirs Concert was turned into an international festival with the appearance of the ‘Choeur a Coeur’ choir from Heilles in France, with whom The Maidstone Singers had the pleasure to sing in 2013 in France. Each of the choirs presented its style of music for the enjoyment mainly of the other singers present in a relaxed and informal atmosphere.
The choirs were: Choeur a Coeur, Maidstone Choral Union, Energize, Innominata, Maidstone Operatic Concert Party, East Malling Singers, The Maidstone Singers and Bearsted Choral Society who, under Peter Ashley, led the massed choirs in extracts from Carmina Burana to end a most enjoyable evening.
The Maidstone Singers and The South Circular Orchestra
Saturday 31st May 2014 in West Dulwich and Sunday 8th June 2014 in Maidstone
The Maidstone Singers joined forces with The South Circular Orchestra to provide a mixture of choral and orchestral music in the two All Saints churches in their respective home towns. The West Dulwich concert, later repeated in Maidstone, included works by Handel, Vivaldi, John Taverner and J S Bach and was received on both occasions with overwhelming praise for the quality of the performances. It is to be hoped that this is just the first of many concerts in a fruitful partnership between the two groups.
Below is a selection of photographs from both concerts:
The Maidstone Singers joined with the Kent Concert Orchestra led by John Perkins for another outstanding evening of music and fireworks in a very British tradition. The large audience of picnickers joined in with the usual selection of ‘Last Night of the Proms’ favourites after a feast of choral and orchestral music including a number of songs from the First World War in acknowledgement of its centenary. Kathryn Jenkin provided some wonderful solo pieces.
The Maidstone Singers’ Tour of Portugal and Spain April 2014
In April this year The Maidstone Singers were on tour in Portugal and Spain. You can see below some of the beautiful places in which they performed in Porto and in Santiago de Compostela. The highlight of the tour was perhaps singing in the Pilgrims Mass in the Cathedral of St James in the World Heritage site of Santiago. But there was also time to relax and to enjoy the hospitality and friendship of the two excellent choirs with whom they sang in Spain:
The opening concert took place on 24th April at the Anglican Church of St James in Porto where the choir presented the core of their current sacred repertoire including:
‘Let Thy Holy Spirit’ by Pavel Tschesnekoff
‘O Magnum Mysterium’ by Morten Lauridsen
‘O Clap your hands / God is gone up’ by Orlando Gibbons
‘Jubilate Deo’ by Giovanni Gabrieli
‘Ave Maris Stella’ by James Macmillan
‘Ave Maria’ by Anton Bruckner
‘I thank you God’ by Eric Whitacre
‘Hail Gladdening Light’ by Charles Wood
‘Jesus and the Traders’ by Zoltan Kodaly
‘Beati Quorum Via’ by Charles Villiers Stanford
‘O Quam Gloriosum’ by Tomas Tomas Luis de Victoria
‘De Battle ob Jerico’ arr. C.S. Lang
These pieces formed the core of the other concerts although other works were substituted each time. The concert at the Igreja do Hospital de Sao Joao de Marcos in Braga was on the 25th April, followed by the final performance in Portugal at the beautiful Igreja de Lapa in Porto on the 26th.
The choir then travelled to Spain where they sang several pieces during the course of the Pilgrims’ Mass in St James’ Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela at the midday service on 29th April. Singing to a packed congregation at this event was a great honour for the choir and one which will stand out as one of the most prestigious events in 20 years of touring for The Maidstone Singers.
The concert on the evening of the 29th April was held at the Las Animas Church in Santiago and was shared with the local La Salle Coral who entertained the choir with a party including traditional Galician folk music after the event. The final concert was on the 30th April in the chapel of a country house outside Santiago at Pazo de Oca in Pontevedra. The Singers were joined by the Pazo de Oca Coral and enjoyed a tour of the grounds before the concert and a very amicable get together afterwards to finish the tour.
The Maidstone Singers’ Spring Concert
with the West Malling Community Choir
Saturday 15th March 2014 at St Mary’s Church, West Malling.
This concert included music that the choir will be taking on tour to Spain and Portugal in April 2014 – some of their familiar and favourite folk songs and madrigals, Kodaly’s dramatic “Jesus and the Traders” and Tschesnokoff’s “Let Thy Holy Spirit” back in the repertoire, together with a range of other sacred and secular music from composers such as MacMillan, Mealor, Delius and Jenkins. The concert finished with “May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You” arranged by Jeffrey Vaughan Martin for the choir’s performance on the final episode of series 3 of BBC 1’s ‘Call the Midwife”.
You can listen to the song here:
The West Malling Community Choir performed a number of traditional and modern song arrangements, including “You Raise Me Up” and “As Long As I Have Music”. In just two years they have become a capable and vibrant choir and added greatly to the enjoyment of the large audience.