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Cappella Newcastle present an exciting mix of music in their 2023-24 season. In the Autumn we share a programme entitled, “Dona nobis pacem; music for war, peace and reconciliation”, in the Spring we will perform Handel’s mighty Messiah and then next Summer we invite you to join us for a concert of music on the theme of air. Our first concert takes place at St James's United Reformed Church on Saturday 18th November. This programme threads together the many elements of war; its horror and tragedy, but also the kinship which is born out of necessity. We will be joined by Alison Gill on piano and Robin Crinson who will perform Arthur Butterworth’s song cycle A Shropshire Lad. Both will also feature in Lili Boulanger’s Pour les funérailles d’un soldat, a rarely heard work which tells the story of a company of soldiers burying their captain. The concert will close with a call to hope in the form of the ending of J.S. Bach’s Mass in B minor, the “Dona nobis pacem”. Soon after this concert, on Saturday 2nd December, we will be hosting a workshop to kickstart our Spring programme. Local singers are invited to join us for a session in which we will explore the Christmas section of the Handel’s Messiah in our rehearsal venue of St. James’ United Reformed Church in Newcastle. The workshop will conclude with an informal performance featuring young local soloists. Our performance of Messiah will take place on Saturday 23rd March 2024 in the splendour of St. George’s Church, Jesmond. We will be performing this great work accompanied by full orchestra and it should be a wonderful occasion featuring young and upcoming soloists. In the Summer term we are excited to be commissioning young local composer Lucy Walker to compose a piece on theme of air to tie in with our concert on Saturday 29th June 2024. Lucy hails from Sedgefield in County Durham and is currently the composer in residence at St. Martin-in-the-Fields church in London. This concert will include a performance of J.S. Bach’s motet, Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf (BWV 226) as well as an extract from American composer Christopher Theofanidis’ …messages to myself…, the second movement which is entitled, “God picks up the reed-flute world and blows”. We hope that you will join us as we tackle these varied programmes – there really is something for everyone! The choir is looking for new singers in all parts, but particularly bass and tenor so if you have ever considered auditioning for us, now is the time! Please do get in touch to find out more.
I am writing on behalf of the whole choir to thank you for your support for Cappella in 2022-23. It has been a huge boost to perform to such strong audiences this season, and it’s always lovely to see so many friendly faces. Special thanks to those of you who followed us all the way to Holy Island earlier this month, for our summer concert. Our programme – ‘Crossing the Water’ comprised a varied range of songs, about water, or the sea, from all centuries, and several different genres; beginning with the magical “The Heart’s Cry” from “Riverdance” and ending with the lively “My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord” by the American composer Moses Hogan.
This was the final concert for Caroline McCartney, our first conducting scholar; we are very sorry to lose her, but wish her well with her future musical adventures. We’re now advertising for a new conducting scholar to join us in the autumn. If you know anybody who would be interested in this exciting opportunity please do put them in touch with us as soon as possible. Full details of the role can be found on our website.
We’re also keen to attract new singers! We have a really exciting and varied programme lined up for next year and can promise a warm welcome and lots of uplifting music making!
Highlights to include:
Sat 18 November 2023 - concert: ‘Dona nobis pacem’; music on the themes of war, peace and reconciliation
Sat 2 December 2023 – open workshop – come and sing Christmas Messiah
Sat 23 March 2024 – concert: Handel’s Messiah, with orchestra
Sat 29 June 2024 – concert: ‘Air’; programme to include a new commission from composer Lucy Walker
We’d welcome new singers in all parts but are especially keen to hear from sopranos, tenors and basses. Please spread the word and encourage anyone you know who is looking for a choir to get in touch. Rehearsals start again on Wednesday 6 September.
That’s it from Cappella for now but thank you again for your support and we look forward to seeing you on 18 November if not before.
With all good wishes,
Chair, Cappella Newcastle
Conductor: Simon Lee
with Caroline McCartney, Conducting Scholar
This summer, Cappella Newcastle invites you to embark on a voyage across the ocean in a programme inspired by exploration and water. We begin at the source of the river with Bill Whelan’s The Heart’s Cry and then journey to the port where we dance Purcell’s Hornpipe, before casting off and setting out into the deep blue sea, to encounter tempests and storms in Giaches De Wert’s amazing motet Ascendente Jesu in naviculam. As we catch our first glimpse of land we rejoice with Parry’s Never Weather Beaten Sail and our first steps into the new world take us to a sleepy lagoon. It’s an eclectic and diverse programme – there will be something for everyone! Other composers include Vaughan Williams, Jason Robert Brown, John Rutter and Robert Convery.
Cappella Newcastle is looking forward to returning to Holy Island, our first visit in over a decade. We will be bringing the songs of the Tyne to Lindisfarne with Elizabeth Poston’s beautiful setting of The Water of Tyne and Eric Boswell’s touching short song, The Parting. We do hope that you will be able to join us for this early afternoon concert at St Mary’s Church on Saturday 10th June at 3pm. Entry free with retiring collection in aid of church and choir funds.
The safe crossing times on this day are from 11:10am until 7:10pm. You will have time to explore the island as well as attending the concert and return to the mainland before the tide comes in.
Conductor: Simon Lee
with Caroline McCartney, Conducting Scholar
Organist: Joseph Beech
Tickets are now on sale at https://www.cappellanewcastle.org.uk (will also be available on the door)
Full price £15; benefit recipients & students £5; 18s and under free; **Early Bird reduction on full price tickets purchased online before 11 March**
Cappella Newcastle celebrates the 400th anniversary of the death of William Byrd (c.1540-1623) in a programme of some of his greatest choral works. In this concert, the flowing counterpoint and poignant harmonies of Byrd’s style will be paired with the extraordinary fluency of Britten’s compositional technique. Byrd was one of the most celebrated composers in the Renaissance period; his entire life was marked by contradictions, and he cannot be easily categorised. Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) was another great English composer: a giant of Twentieth Century music. He combined a balance of tradition and innovation in his work, enjoying much interest in his compositions since his death. Both of these composers lived through turbulent times, and their compositional output reflects this.
This sumptuous performance of Byrd’s music, some it with viols, will be a wonderful celebration of the 400th anniversary; this, with the addition of some of Britten’s works, some accompanied by organ, will make for a varied and entertaining evening. Join Cappella as we explore both the sacred and secular works of these celebrated composers. Highlights of the programme include Byrd’s ‘Ye Sacred Muses’ and ‘Laudibus in Sanctis’, and Britten’s Flower Songs.
This concert also marks an exciting new chapter for Cappella, as we welcome our new conducting scholar Caroline McCartney. Caroline recently graduated from Durham University and is studying for a Masters in consort singing at York University. Caroline says, “I have thoroughly enjoyed starting to learn some top-notch, challenging music with Cappella. We really hit the ground running at the start of term, navigating through some tricky corners of the Britten. I would like to extend my thanks to Simon and the choir for their warm welcome. I’m looking forward to the concert!”
Welcome to our new season! The singers began rehearsing last week and we have three exciting and varied programmes for you, celebrating different aspects of the choral repertoire.
For our first concert of the season we are delighted to be returning to the glorious acoustic of St. Ann’s Battlefield to perform a programme inspired by the Psalms of David. The music is drawn from across the ages including works by John Blow, Herbert Howells, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and Orlando Gibbons. At the heart of the programme is Amy Beach’s rarely heard motet, ‘Help Us, O God’. This multi-movement work, written in 1903 as her popularity was increasing shows her many influences as well as the lyricism for which she would be remembered. Join us on Sunday 13th November at 7:30pm for what promises to be an uplifting evening of music making. Tickets available from our website https://www.cappellanewcastle.org.uk/dbpage.php?pg=view&dbase=events&id=154747 (early bird discount before 31 October), from members or at the door.
In the Spring, we will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the death of William Byrd in a programme where his music will be paired with that of his successor as Master of the Queen’s Music, Benjamin Britten. We are including sacred and secular works by both composers in a feast of English choral music at Jesmond United Reformed Church on Saturday 25th March at 7:30pm.
Our final concert of the year in June 2023 explores some of the ways that choral composers have responded to the perennial human experience of war and conflict. Much of the content within this programme is inspired by the loss of life during the Great War with music by Lilli Boulanger, Arthur Butterworth and Ben Parry. Alongside this, we’ll be performing music from earlier periods including Jannequin’s La Guerre, a dramatic, fiery choral re-enactment of the French King Francis I’s victory over Swiss mercenary forces at the Battle of Marignano in 1515. More details about this concert will be released in due course.
We hope that you will join us for at least one of these concerts, but if you would like to come and see how we work, we are holding an open rehearsal on 28th September. Anyone who is interested in joining the choir is warmly invited to attend. Please let us know if you are coming by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org so that we have copies of music for you!