Review of the 2015 - 2016 Season.
In November 2015 The Society presented Handel`s `Samson` at Holy Trinity Church, Folkestone. Although not the best known of Handel`s Oratorios, the choir loved the music that was well received by an enthusiastic audience. The work contains the wonderful `Let the Bright Seraphim` famously sung by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa at Prince Charles` wedding to Lady Diana (remember the hat?). Suzy Fischer, an internationally renowned soprano, travelled from Berlin specifically to sing for the performance.
Mendelssohn`s `Elijah`, always a choral favourite, was the Society`s choice for their traditional Good Friday concert in the Leas Cliff Hall and was performed with a very substantial orchestra. In contrast the programme for the June concert in St. Leonard`s Church, Hythe contained Rossini`s `Petite Messe Solennelle` which was presented in its original version for just two pianos and organ. Both programmes gave the Society plenty of opportunity to sing some really great music and were well received by the audiences.
Review of the 2014 - 2015 Season.
The increased membership and greater confidence developed in the previous year has enabled the society to present some large scale and demanding concerts, with both musical and financial success.
In November we performed a "Winter Prom" to a capacity audience in the spacious and impressive Saga Pavilion. The programme comprised a mix of the familiar and less well known items appropriate for the season ...
John Rutter`s song cycle "When Icicles Hang", Vaughan Williams "Fantasia on Christmas Carols" and a selection from "My Fair Lady". The full professional resources of the Amberley Symphony Orchestra came into their own for the Sibelius "Finlandia" and Rossini "William Tell Overture" and the enthusiastic audience participation in the traditional Prom`s Finale made a fitting climax to the concert.
The Good Friday concert of Bach`s St John Passion in the Leas Cliff Hall, was a very different mood, but equally successful. This is one of choral music`s greatest masterpieces and the Society`s careful preparation of the very difficulty choruses paid off in a performance that was deeply moving. With six fine vocal soloists and quality instrumentalists, the story of the Passion unfolded with dignity. Instead of the sermon that originally separated the two parts of the Passion, the orchestra played Bach`s wonderful concerto for two violins. The ending of the Passion - the final choral - was particularly impressive, with a prolonged silence before emphatic applause.
The June concert was held in Holy Trinity Church, where the improved lighting has transformed the appearance of the interior. The vigour of Vivaldi`s "Gloria" and the serenity of Schubert `s Mass in G contrasted with the sparkle of concertos for cello (Vivaldi) and for organ (Handel) and shorter choral works by Zelenka and Purcell. This was a joyous occasion and a very fitting conclusion to a highly successful sea for the Society.
Review of the 2013 - 2014 Season.
The programme for this season was designed with quite specific aims.....to increase the number of singing members, to build confidence of singers and to raise our profile in the local community ... and all these were largely achieved.
In November 2013 we performed Handel`s Messiah in Holy Trinity Church, Folkestone. Although this is probably the best loved of all choral works it contains some very difficult passages. We always perform The Messiah `complete` even though this makes quite a lengthy programme, as making cuts destroys the artistic shape that Handel intended. We had a large enthusiastic audience and the final chords of the `Amen` chorus were greeted with a standing ovation.
The programme for our Good Friday concert in The Leas Cliff Hall was chosen to mark the Centenary of the start of the First World War. `The Armed Man` by Karl Jenkins was performed with passion and energy and impressed the large audience. The concert concluded with the contrasting and peaceful `Requiem` by Gabriel Fauré.
Posting on our Facebook page - "My whole hearted congratulations to you on your performance this evening of Karl Jenkins `The Armed Man`. I was moved to tears." ...P.S.
The summer concert in St. Leonard`s Church, a contribution to the Hythe festival, consisted of Bruckner Motets, traditional Spirituals and Rutter`s Gloria. The choir was pitted against brass, percussion and a powerful organ with exciting, strong rhythms and syncopations.
On 29th November 2014 we performed a "Winter Prom" concert supported by the Amberley Symphony Orchestra at the Saga Pavilion, Sandgate. This concert included Finlandia, Sleigh Ride, The William Tell Overture, Songs from My Fair Lady, Fantasia on Christmas Carols with a Traditional Proms Finale. The Hawkinge Gazette reviewed this performance on the 2nd December 2014 and amongst the comments made were :- "The Amberley Orchestra gave a spirited performance and the choir were clearly enjoying themselves particularly in the songs from My Fair Lady."
This was a really exciting, contrasting and very enjoyable year for the choir.