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Armistice Day concert – In Remembrance

The Geelong Chorale is proud to introduce our new visual identity and our next concert.
We feel that this further supports our mission to communicate with and connect to our audience in a clear and beautiful way.

The Geelong Chorale will present a concert to acknowledge the centenary of the WW1 Armistice. Sunday 11 November 2018, 2:30pm, St Paul’s Anglican Church Latrobe Terrace, Geelong

TGC In Remebrance Poster

In Remembrance

 

Singing the Classics 12 Aug 2018

“Singing the Classics”, on Sunday 12th August, at Wesley Church, 100 Yarra Street, Geelong from 2-5pm, was enjoyed by everyone. Our own Anne Pilgrim took us through Dona Nobis Pacem by Ralph Vaughan Williams. John Bumford was our talented accompanist for the day.

Dona Nobis Pacem is a 6-movement cantata, in which Vaughan Williams has chosen text from Walt Whitman, written to describe why war should never occur again. Some OT texts are included, too. Whitman was a medical orderly in the American Civil War and had experience of the effects of war, and his poetry is alive with feeling. The work is very much a choral work, with the orchestra used to support the meaning of the texts, and solo soprano and baritone lines set beautifully. We’ve chosen it for its beauty and because of the proximity of the centenary of Armistice Day.

Watch out for the announcement of the program for 2019 soon.

 

Faure Requiem

Sunday 5 August 2018, Requiem by Faure and other French choral music.

St Paul’s Anglican Church, LaTrobe Terrace, Geelong at 2.30pm.

2018-Faure-DL

Reviews

Entertainment Geelong
The Stars Aligned in Concert
Fauré Requiem with motets by Fauré, Duruflé, Gounod, Franck & Villette sung by the Geelong Chorale, conducted by Allister Cox. St Paul’s Church, August 5, 2018.

Only rarely does it happen, when the stars align, the ducks are in a row, all the hard-work preparation pays off and fortune smiles on a single performance.

That all happened with this concert.
I don’t think that I have ever heard the Geelong Chorale in better voice. What’s more, its choice of material and soloists was perfect, the venue’s acoustics allowed pinpoint clarity – and the audience relished every note, every flourish and every syllable of conductor Allister’s introductory remarks.

This was a concert that grew to become a memorable occasion.
Its music was drawn mostly from the works of 19th Century French composers with Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem the principal work, taking up all of the concert’s second half.
For this, the Chorale had brought in soprano soloist Lisa Breen, whose warm, rounded tones and precise clarity was perfect for the solo piece Pie Jesu; and baritone Tom Healey, who matched Lisa for precision and added elements of power and pathos in his Libera Me.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard Lisa or Tom sing better, either. Their voices jigsawed seamlessly into the flawless elegant rendition that the Chorale was providing.
Add in Frank De Rosso’s masterly accompaniment on the St Paul’s pipe organ – which must, surely be the best in our region – and the combined interpretation could only be described as glorious.

And that was, if you like, only the main course.
We had been prepared for this by a series of appetisers starting with the well-known favourite in Cesar Franck’s Panis Angelicus delivered by the Chorale with al the warmth and flavour you would expect from bread made in heaven. This was followed by six short motets from De Several, Duruflé Saint-Saëns, Villette and Fauré along with a resounding version of Gounod’s Ave Maria featuring soloist Lisa.

The Chorale, for this concert, was smaller than usual and in an unfamiliar formation. Its eleven sopranos were ranged to conductor Allister’s left, with his 13 altos to the right, separated by the central male component of three tenors and seven basses.
Whether it was this configuration, the reduced size, or perhaps the make-up of voices, but this format sounded simply glorious given those perfect acoustics in St Paul’s church.

And such was their appreciation that following the performance, many audience members remained, waiting to congratulate the conductor, soloists, accompanist and individual Chorale members as they trickled in, wearing the satisfied smiles of people who knew they had made a first-class performance of an excellent concert, and all on a day when the god(s) were smiling, too.

— Colin Mockett

Photos

 

In Paradisum – rehearsal video

Western District Choral Festival 2018

The Western District Choral Festival, 2018 was hosted by The Geelong Chorale and held at the School of Performing Arts and Creative Education, Geelong Grammar School on June 17, 2018

2018-06-17-Africa2

Find reviews and photos here:

The Choral Grapevine

https://thechoralgrapevine.wordpress.com/2018/06/17/western-district-choral-festival-2018-sunday-june-17th-2018/


Entertainment Geelong

http://www.entertainmentgeelong.com/colinmockett/Reviews.html

The venue, titled ‘SPACE’, for ‘School of Performing Arts and Creative Education’, turned out to be a sparkling new theatre complex built inside the environs of Geelong Grammar’s Corio campus.

And it proved to be perfect for this non-competitive gathering of choral groups from Victoria’s Western district.
But that intro, too, was a little misleading, for 12 of the 14 choirs were from Geelong, and rather than a gathering, this presented as a glorious celebration of group singing.
Those 14 choirs brought the width and depth, the textures, colours and diversity of sung music, from folk songs to high opera, jazz to classic pop, in a smoothly-organised procession over two hours with just a ten-minute leg-stretching break.
And in the process, they created an afternoon of musical joy for its fortunate audience.
The show began with event hosts, The Geelong Chorale, displaying its delicacy of tonal excellence with ‘O Radiant Dawn’, followed by a happy rendition of the traditional Christmas ‘Wassail’. It ended with the venue’s hosts, the Choir of Geelong Grammar School making a glorious job of Freddy Mercury’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, followed by an all-on-stage – 400 voices, according to MC John Stubbings – version of Toto’s ‘Africa’. This had everybody in the room singing do-do-do do-do doop doop dooo.. and blessing the rains down in Africa – while hoping the rains in Geelong would hold off to allow them a dry walk back to the car park.

The time in between was filled with fine music and delightful memories. The Colac Chorale brought gentle treatments of folk spirituals with ‘Black is the Colour’, ‘The Water Is Wide’ and ‘Wade In The Water’; followed by Geelong group Wonderous Merry, who continued the wet theme with ‘Soon It’s Gonna Rain’ but negated the concept by singing ‘Dem Dry Bones’ – complete with an illustrative string-puppet skeleton – as their final number.
The Apollo Bay Community Choir was next, presenting a trio of joyfully warm African-styled rhythmic numbers from their Gitika Partington songbook, including one written by the gloriously named Three-Bucket Jones.

Then came the all-female Geelong Harmony Chorus presenting vocals as sparkling as their costumes, along with some neat prestidigitation as they conjured roses while singing about ‘Looking At The World Through Rose Coloured Glasses’.
The Geelong Youth Choir began small, with its six-member Chamber Choir before expanding to 30+ voices to present its witty, clever ‘Painless Opera’ – then expanding further by melding with their adult group, Raise The Bar, to bring a little happy clapping Arabic magic with ‘Sih’r Khalaq’.
Alone, Raise The Bar gave a preview of their forthcoming GPAC play appearance with ‘We’re All Here’, then reunited with the Youth Choir to sing a cheerfully spirited ‘Jabberwocky’.
Geelong’s Jeanette John conducts two choirs, one all-female, the other all-male, and they presented back-to-back. Her Geelong Welsh Ladies Choir opened with a Welsh hymn before moving to the classic show tune ‘Wouldn’t It Be Loverly’, while Jeanette’s men, the International Harvester Choir, started with a spiritual, ‘Cross The Wide Missouri’, before presenting ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Miserables and finishing with a pop version of Verdi’s chorus of Hebrew Slaves in ‘Speed Your Journey’.

Sing Australia’s Geelong group displayed crisp vocal clarity in their trio of songs that started with ‘Catch A Falling Star’ and finished with a plaintive ‘Take Me Home’. Then followed Vox Box, bringing bright Billy Joel and joyful ‘Java Jive’ before a gentle spiritual ‘Deep River’.

The U3A Geelong Choir kept that gentle flow going with a delightfully sparse version of WB Yeats’ ‘Down By The Sally Gardens’, before lifting the tempo with the Rice-Webber showtime ‘Any Dream Will Do’. This segued neatly to the Geelong College’s Community Choir’s medley of songs from the Four Seasons’ Jersey Boys musical – and this led to the immaculately blue-blazered entry of the Grammar School Choir to sing a spirited ‘Jerusalem’, a gentle ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ – then that wonderful ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ before the all-on-stage finale.
In total, everything came together; the superb venue, the different personalities of choirs and wide variety of their content to create what was simply a wonderful afternoon of joyful song.

– Colin Mockett


Many thanks to Helen Lyth of The Choral Grapevine for her wonderful photos of the event.

Singing the Classics June 10, 2018

Sunday 10th June, 2018
St Lukes Church, Highton
Gilbert and Sullivan Choruses

Thanks to Helen Lyth of The Choral Grapevine for her article on this Singing the Classics afternoon.

https://thechoralgrapevine.wordpress.com/2018/06/13/singing-the-classics-gs-sunday-10th-june-2018/

 

Handel Dixit Dominus 2018

G F Handel, Coronation Anthems and Dixit Dominus

THE GEELONG CHORALE with instrumental ensemble
Conductor Allister Cox
Soloists: Lee Abrahmsen, soprano; Emily Swanson, soprano; Colm Talbot, alto; Terence McManus, tenor; Will Humphreys, baritone
Sunday April 29, 2018 at 2.30pm
Wesley Church, 100 Yarra St, Geelong

Photos

 

Reviews

Helen Lyth, The Choral Grapevine

Dixit Dominus and Coronation Anthems – The Geelong Chorale

https://thechoralgrapevine.wordpress.com/2018/05/03/dixit-dominus-and-coronation-anthems-the-geelong-chorale/

Colin Mockett, Entertainment Geelong

This had to be just about the Geelong Chorale’s perfect concert.

Its content, two significant works by George Frederic Handel, written 20 years apart and for very different occasions, was executed just about flawlessly.
Their guest soloists were impressive, their scratch orchestra of a high quality and the overall reception couldn’t have been better.
This concert twice drew long, wholehearted applause from its appreciative audience that continued through several bows from choristers, soloists and orchestra until conductor/director Allister Cox finally gestured to end them with calming waves of his hand.
He had chosen to reverse the listed order by putting the most difficult piece first. This was Dixit Dominus, written in 1707 when Handel was in his early 20s and commissioned to create a musical version of the words of God.
A feature of concerts led by Allister Cox are his illuminating and interesting introductions and this was no exception. He neatly put the work into its time, place and perspective.
But after that, the Chorale and guests delivered a 30-minute oratorio that had all the required delicacy, strength and power to exactly illustrate their conductor’s words – one that would have certainly brought the glory of God to its 18th Century congregation.
The 10 segments ranged from muted intricacy – Virgam virtuosi delivered by alto Colm Talbut accompanied by organ, cello and bass, while Tecum principium had Lee Abrahmsen’s (literally) glorious soprano voice soaring over chorale and orchestra to swirl around the rafters of the acoustically and visually suitable venue. There were moments of rare musical delicacy, with Ms Lee Abrahmsen, duetting with fellow-soprano Emily Swanson; and of robust vigour, with the male chorale and soloists combining to bring De torrente in via to sturdy life. And it all climaxed in glorious splendour drawing that first burst of sustained applause quietened by the first conductor’s gesture.

Following a short interval, Chorale and guests presented Handel’s Coronation Anthems, written in 1727 and performed at every British coronation since, Allister’s introduction informed.
This was fascinating on several levels, not the least because it drew into perspective the Germanic elements of British Royalty, for the work’s commissioner, George I, its original recipient, George II and its creator were all German-born.
The works also illustrated not only Handel’s musical maturation, but also his differences in interpreting the words of God to the glory of a monarch.

The Coronation Anthems were all bright, triumphant and illustrious, beginning with the magnificent Zadok the Priest, delivered with equal amounts of finesse and vigour by the Chorale and its orchestra augmented by trumpets, oboes and timpani.

The anthems oratorio brought larger prominence to soloist tenor Terence MacManus and baritone William Humphreys, whose discreet trips between his regular central position in the Chorale to take his place with the other soloists became a charming feature.

But above all its component parts, this concert’s memorable element was the quality of its music and it’s professional delivery.

All together, this elegant concert would have significantly enhanced the reputation of our principal choral ensemble.
And that has to be the perfect result to a near-perfect musical afternoon.

Thanks to Colin Mockett at http://www.entertainmentgeelong.com/colinmockett/Reviews.html

Singing the Classics – Opera Choruses

Find out more about our fun afternoon Singing the Classics on Sunday 18 March in an article on the Choral Grapevine.

https://thechoralgrapevine.wordpress.com/2018/03/18/for-the-joy-of-singing-the-classics-opera-choruses/

Starting the year

Have you ever wanted to join a choir? Do you like the Hallelujah Chorus?

Well we aren’t singing that this year, but we are singing Dixit Dominus and Coronation Anthems also by G.F. Handel.

2018 commences on Saturday February 3 with an all day rehearsal. Any prospective singers are welcome to join us and see what we do. If you like it, you are welcome to join us for a few rehearsals at no obligation. If you still want to continue, we will invite you to have an audition with our musical director.

So come along and see what it’s all about. We have a very exciting year ahead of us.

Venue: St Paul’s Anglican Church Hall, LaTrobe Tce, Geelong.
Date: Saturday February 3, 2018.
Time: 10am to 4pm

Singing the Classics 2018

Opera Choruses

Mar 18, 2018 – Daryl Barclay, accompanied by Hugh Davidson

Gilbert & Sullivan Choruses

Jun 10, 2018 – Allister Cox, accompanied by Sonoka Miyake

Dona Nobis Pacem (R Vaughan Williams)

Sunday, 12th August, at Wesley Church, 100 Yarra Street, Geelong from 2-5pm.


Most afternoons are held in St Luke’s Uniting Church, Highton, as for many years now, from 2 to 5pm. $15 fee is payable at the door and includes the provision of afternoon tea, venue, personnel and music. The Geelong Association of Music and Art Inc helps to meet these costs, too.

Please let us know if you are coming, in plenty of time for us to get the music organized and the afternoon tea arrangements in place, on this email address: pandapilgrim@gmail.com. Or ring or text Anne Pilgrim on 0412 524 316.

SingClass2018

Christmas around the World 2017

The Geelong Chorale in association with the Geelong Handbell Choir performed ‘Christmas Around the World’ on Saturday December 2 2017 at 5pm at All Saints Anglican Church, Newtown.

 

Reviews

Christmas Around the World – The Geelong Chorale: December 2nd, 2017
All Saints Church, Noble Street, Newtown.  Saturday, December 2nd, 5pm.
https://thechoralgrapevine.wordpress.com/2017/12/09/christmas-around-the-world-the-geelong-chorale-december-2nd-2017/

An Unconventional Christmas from the Chorale

Christmas Around The World, sung by The Geelong Chorale  conducted by Allister Cox. All Saints Anglican Church, Newtown December 2, 2017.

The Geelong Chorale’s annual Christmas concert has become a tradition in itself, going back to the time the group was called ‘The GAMA Singers’ presenting carols and wassail songs in the Geelong Art Gallery. That took place for most of the second half of the 20th Century.

But that was then. This is now, and our Gallery, now re-badged to ‘Geelong Gallery’ has no room for singers as it pursues other agendas. This year it was crowded with Archibald visitors.
So for most of this century, our Chorale has chosen to present its annual Christmas song feasts in different venues, usually chosen for the quality of their acoustics.
So it was that we gathered in Newtown’s All Saints church – itself newly refurbished and furnished – to experience another episode of a Geelong convention.
But that wasn’t what the Chorale had in mind. This time, they presented a Christmas concert laced with surprise and refinement, with songs chosen from a much wider spectrum. The world, no less. Though, on second thoughts, it’s probably safer to say the Christian world.
The concert started unconventionally, with the Chorale entering with its female members chorusing very good impressions of kookaburras which melded into Matthew Orlovich’s Australian carol ‘If Christ Had Been Born In Another Time’ – all delivered from the back of the church, behind the audience. This resounding piece, echoing around the venue’s high rafters, set the standard for what was a glorious mix of unusual with conventional material.
So we heard a delightfully sweet  all-female version of the Dutch carol ‘King Jesus Hath A Garden’ delivered by the Chorale’s women conducted by Ann Pilgrim, and later the men sang a West Indian calypso carol ‘De Virgin Mary Had A Baby Boy’ with tall, slim, Anglo baritone, William Humphries, more than doing justice to the Harry Belafonte lead part.

We heard the full Chorale delight with the traditional French piece ‘Il est ne, le devin enfant’,  accompanied by Frank De Rosso on the church’s organ, a moving Czech song ‘Rocking’ – and were invited to join in with what we learned was a Finnish tune to a Bohemian story – Good King Wenceslas.  Kristine Mellens, as ever, contributed subtle accompaniment
on the piano.
The songs were divided into brackets with subheadings ‘The Prophesy’ ‘The Birth’ ‘The Shepherds’ etc with now-customary excellent introductions and explanations from the Chorale’s director/conductor Allister Cox.
Before the interval – during which we were served with sparkling wine and Christmas cake, no less –  came another tradition, when the Chorale’s familiar guests, the Geelong Handbell Choir,  presented six short pieces that reflected the concert’s theme in the most charming way.
So after a brilliant chiming of the  Fanfare to ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’, we heard a French, an Australian and a Canadian carol delivered by the bells which finished with a harmonic version of Irving Berlin’s ‘White Christmas’.  All greatly appreciated and applauded.
The concert’s second half started with a New Zealand jewel and strung along with Canadian, Spanish, and Ukranian seasonal pieces, set with the beautiful ‘Coventry Carol’ lament, the musical fun of a Czech ‘Zither Carol’ (with the male chorus singing ‘zum zing zing’) and a beautifully tonal ‘Silent Night’  – before finishing in traditional style with ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ followed by ‘We Wish You A Merry Christmas’.

In all, this was a delightful, unconventional way to continue a fine tradition – and even the weather contributed a northern-hemisphere cold, wet -and very un-Australian – afternoon.

Colin Mockett

Entertainment Geelong