Events Archive

Cappella Concert Handel's Messiah

Sat, 23 Mar 2024

Cappella Concert "Dona Nobis Pacem"

Sat, 18 Nov 2023
Programme available for download here

Cappella Concert "Crossing the Water" Holy Island

Sat, 10 Jun 2023
Wow! The weather was absolutely fantastic for our visit to Holy Island on the 10th of June. Choir members who arrived in good time, could enjoy the views, or possibly seek out the place to buy Lindisfarne Mead! We performed an afternoon concert in the parish church – St. Mary’s, where we were made to feel very welcome by Sarah, the vicar. Following our rehearsal, we enjoyed a convivial picnic lunch in the vicarage garden, then went on to entertain a large appreciative audience, including plenty of tourists and former choir members, who managed to fill the church! Our programme  - “Crossing the Water”  consisted of 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 also the final concert for Caroline McCartney, our conducting scholar; we are very sorry to lose her, but wish her well with her future musical adventures!

Programme may be downloaded from here

Cappella Concert: A Festival of Byrd and Britten

Sat, 25 Mar 2023
Simon Lee writes in the introduction to the programme (download here):

It is a pleasure to be joined tonight by a consort of viols who will add to the soundworld of the works by Byrd. We are also delighted to be accompanied again by Joseph Beech.  Tonight sees our first performance with our new conducting scholar, Caroline McCartney. As well as conducting several items, Caroline will also be the featured soloist in several works so you will hear the lovely timbre of her voice.

In tonight’s programme we celebrate two composers whose anniversaries fall this year, William Byrd and Benjamin Britten. In the first half of the programme, we focus on their sacred output, moving through the church year: beginning in Advent, celebrating the forty days of Christmas through to Candlemas, fasting through Lent to the festivals of Easter and Ascensiontide, and concluding with the feast of Michael and All Angels.

In the second half of the concert, we turn our attention to the composers’ secular output, performing works which were inspired by the natural world and love. We begin with Britten’s Flower Songs which are echoed with works by Byrd. 
Whilst at face value these two composers’ works are extremely different, there are many parallels between them.

Cappella Concert: The Psalms of David

Sun, 13 Nov 2022
Introduction by Simon Lee: We are delighted that you have joined us here tonight for a concert inspired by the Psalms of David. The Psalms have long inspired composers to set these beautiful and emotive words to music. Our repertoire is drawn from the 16th century right through to the present day and reflects all the different moods of these songs: Rutter’s A Choral Fanfare blasts into existence, a shout of exultation and joy; in Purcell’s Hear My Prayer we hear a cry of desperation while Stanford’s Beati quorum via evokes the tranquillity that comes from following God. As part of Cappella’s commitment to performing lesser-known and forgotten works we are very pleased to include Amy Beach’s Help Us, O God in tonight’s concert. Amy Beach has gained some popularity in the last few years and this work exemplifies the qualities of her sensitive and creative writing. There are influences of late-Romanticism in her harmonies but there is also a unique voice - we hope that you enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed preparing it. As ever, it is a delight to be back in the intimate and glorious acoustic of St Ann’s Church. Thank you to Fr. Allan and his congregation for making us so welcome.

Download programme here

Cappella Concert : Choral Dances

Sat, 25 Jun 2022
Introduction from Programme by Simon Lee:

“Sumer is icumen in” and we are ready to dance. Welcome to our joyous programme of waltzes, jigs and dumkas - we hope that it will bring you to the edge of your seat with your feet tapping! It is a pleasure to be back in the wonderful space of St. Gabriel’s and to be joined by the talents of our pianists Julia Kennard and Oona Prendiville.

Tonight’s repertoire is mainly drawn from the latter half of the 19th Century, a time when dancing formed one of the main regular social interactions. In his Liebeslieder Waltzes, Brahms explores the many varied natures of love: desire, envy and lust all make an appearance. Interspersed with some of Dvoj├ík’s picturesque Slavonic Dances, these form the first half of the concert. Then in the second half, we take a more light-hearted approach to love with a setting of Edward Lear’s nonsense poem of the Owl and the Pussycat followed by two jazz standards. Our concert closes with Edward Elgar’s From the Bavarian Highlands, a musical picture postcard of a holiday the Elgars spent in the Bavarian Alps.

Download the programme here


Cappella Concert : Enduring Love

Sat, 2 Apr 2022
Welcome from Simon Lee:

Good evening and welcome to tonight’s performance, particularly if this is your first time at a Cappella concert. This evening’s programme is a departure for us from our usual repertoire, but in the current world where change and upset seem to have become a norm we feel that it is important to take time to think, to ponder and to celebrate those who are around us as well as those who are no longer with us. 

Our repertoire celebrates love in all its forms. Robert Pearsall’s timeless madrigal, Lay A Garland represents a grief for one recently departed; Samuel Barber’s Reincarnations encourage us to engage with different fundamental concepts of love; Cesar Franck’s Sonata for Cello was written as a wedding present, a celebration of marriage; and Eric Whitacre’s The Sacred Veil is a declaration of love for someone who has passed on, but is still loved even though they are the other side of the veil.

Download the programme here


Cappella Concert : Saints and Angels

Sat, 13 Nov 2021
Welcome from Simon Lee: Welcome to tonight’s concert - our first public performance in nearly two years. It has been such a joy to be making music again in person after the restrictions of the global pandemic, and we are delighted to be able to share this concert with you. Our programme draws together depictions of saints and angels in music. All Saints’ Day is celebrated by the Christian faith on 1st November each year, and the whole month is a time for reflection upon those who have gone before us, particularly with Armistice Day falling on the 11th.

Tonight, we remember one of our longest-standing sopranos, Alex Murchie, who sadly passed away earlier this year after a long battle with cancer. Alex was not only a stalwart member of the soprano section, but also our concert manager, publicity guru and general doer on the committee and is much missed by us all. We are pleased that Eric Cross, former conductor of Cappella, will open the concert tonight with some memories of Alex who led a very varied and exciting life. Tonight we also remember the late Jeanne Tozer, a former member of the choir and 'friend', who died last year, and wish to acknowledge her generous bequest to the choir. We are also delighted to welcome back Joseph Beech, sub-organist of Durham Cathedral, who will accompany the choir in the Leighton and Bairstow, as well as playing Neil Cox’s 4 Ikons of the Archangels. Download the programme here

Dresden Fashions: Italianate Fashions at the Ducal Court

Sat, 7 Mar 2020
Report from Simon Lee:  Having performed the concert at St. Ann’s on St. Cecilia’s Day, we began preparing a programme of music all written in Dresden. Some of it was well known; the Crucifixus section of Lotti’s Credo is known to many – however much of it (including the rest of the Credo) was not. For this concert, we were joined by a small ensemble of professional instrumentalists led by the very talented Sophie Appleton and a quartet of talented young soloists. I feel that it is imperative that ensembles such as Cappella continue to support young soloists at the start of their careers and this will affect my planning of repertoire in future seasons. It is also very rewarding for the singers to enjoy the richness of the sound which instrumentalists add to a choral texture. 

Download the programme here

Hymn to St Cecilia

Fri, 22 Nov 2019
Report from Simon Lee: There is no doubt that the choir found the Jackson challenging, but its effect on the audience at St. Ann’s was total and awesome. Whilst some audience members declared that it was, ‘not their sort of music,’ every person present who I spoke to found it very interesting, moving and emotionally engaging. The piece was enhanced (as ever) by the cello playing of Deborah Thorne who added to the pilgrimage theme of the programme with three unaccompanied solos in addition to playing the obligato cello part in the Jackson. We were also joined by two professional percussionists playing a multitude of bells – the sound world which was created was fabulous! Cappella has prided itself on being able to tackle a wide range of repertoire over the years, and I hope that this ability to present both brand new contemporary music alongside longstanding staples of the choral canon will continue to be a defining feature of the choir.

Download the programme here
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