In the morning workshop session, Dominic worked with pupils from All Hallows Preparatory School and Ansford Academy. There was a focus on using listening skills before working on three songs including an African song ‘Azikatale’, a traditional Swedish call and American folk song ‘Poor Wayfaring Stranger’. The morning concluded with a short performance attended by several parents. All the pupils were fully engaged, interacted well and took a huge amount away from the experience.
At lunchtime, Dominic’s professional group The Chamber Choir of London arrived to work alongside the King’s Chamber Choir, Chapel Choir and School Choir in a series of workshops during the afternoon. Dominic worked on several pieces including: No Small Wonder by Paul Edwards, Fascinating Rhythm arr. Hayes and E’en So Lord Jesus Quickly Come by Paul Manz. During the session, Dominic invited the King’s Chamber Choir to perform alongside the Chamber Choir of London in the first item of the evening concert and to give a performance of a piece during a short break in the middle of the concert.
The Chapel Choir enjoyed having some reinforcement on each of the parts as they worked through Bairstow’s Though I Speak With The Tongues of Men, Smith’s 5-part Preces and Responses and Psalm 67 with a wonderful Howells chant in B flat minor. Dominic worked the Chapel Choir hard on their attention to diction, unity of vowel sounds and emphasised the role of a chapel choir in their purpose to lead worship - all the work was particularly useful as the Chapel Choir prepare to sing a service of Choral Evensong at Hereford Cathedral on Wednesday 14th November.
The School Choir session focused on Mendelssohn’s There Shall a Star from Jacob Come Forth from the unfinished oratorio Christus which the Choir are preparing for the Carol Service at the end of term. It was good to have guidance posture for choral singing and again attention to diction, unified vowel sounds, the importance of the line and connected singing.
In the evening, we were treated to an amazing evening of music making of the highest calibre on a theme of remembrance entitled ‘Do Not Go Gently’. This was the Chamber Choir of London’s first performance outside of London. The audience were gripped from the opening piece St Nicholas composed by St Godric (c.1070 – 1170), arranged by Dominic Elis-Peckham and McGlynn. It was a dramatic opening that included stamping within the choreography of the performance. The King’s Chamber Choir were also honoured to have been asked to join for the performance of the opening work. The main item of the programme was Howell's Requiem a fabulous work with a tapestry of sound worlds. During the short break in the performance, the King’s Chamber Choir were honoured to be asked to perform Manz E’en So Lord Jesus Quickly Come whilst the Chamber Choir of London had a well-deserved short break. The second half of the concert included works by contemporary and living composers including: Alexander Campin, Toby Young, James MacMillan, Ed Rex. The evening closed with a stunning performance of Kim Arnesen’s Even When He Is Silent, that the Chamber Choir of London released on the day of the concert on iTunes. A fabulous day of choral music concluding with a beautiful evening performance with an extremely appreciative audience. We hope that the Chamber Choir of London will make a return visit in the future! An album of photos from the workshops can be seen below.
Ashley Marshfield - Director of Choral Studies