8 April 2017
Handel: Judas Maccabaeus
St Luke's Church, Reading
From a member of the audience: "Please pass my appreciation onto conductor and others. I heard the RFC for the first time at St Luke’s last Saturday. During the intermission I spoke to a number of visitors including a knowledgeable Frenchman. Everyone thought the performance was excellent. My wife thought it was the best value she has had in a long time for £15 tickets. My only disappointment was that you are only giving one performance. Surely it is worth two or three after all that effort and rehearsal? I suppose the cost of hiring musicians and soloists just makes it prohibitive."
And from the conductor: ... "the sound of the soprano and alto blend soaring over the dome and outward into the Church itself was absolutely marvellous to hear. Tenors and basses – your blend and unified sound was an absolute delight to hear too – and were commented on by the soloists! I hope you enjoyed the soloists for this concert – I certainly did -a joy to work with and listen to. I hope we see them all again in the future. The Mavron Quartet, with Sam Baxter additionally on oboe, did a fantastic job of making five instruments sound like a full orchestra. The soloists were delighted with this – because it meant they could clearly hear you the choir! I wonder sometimes what life was like before Simon Dinsdale. He has the patience of a saint and the talent of someone who should be performing organ recitals all over the world. We are very fortunate to have such a warm working relationship with him. What a wonderful musician. Thank you for producing wonderfully audible text and such confident singing and interpretation of the choral sections. I shall always remember the version of ‘Ah Wretched Israel’ we created with Kirsty Hopkins. Incredibly moving and poignant. Really beautiful. That’s not to take away from all of the other movements – full of colour, character and confidence. Reading Festival Chorus I am very proud of what we have achieved this term. What an honour it is to serve you as conductor."...
12 December 2016
Come and Sing Carols
at Wesley Church
Collection for Singing for the Brain
A very enjoyable evening which raised a wonderful contribution to the work of this local charity
Saturday 3rd December 2016
Mozart at Douai
Mozart Solemn Vespers de Confessore (K339), Mozart Litaniae Lauretanae (K195), Victoria anthem Ne Timeas Maria and a specially composed blessing by Edward-Rhys Harry
The alto solist Carris Jones featured in the Daily Telegraph on 28 February 2017 as the first-ever female to join St Paul's Cathedral as a Vicar Choral.
Saturday 9th July 2016
Haydn: The Seasons
Saturday 19th March 2016
Crucifixus: Easter Music including Stainer - Crucifixion, Lotti - Crucifixus, Mozart - Ave Verum Corpus, Victoria - Tenebrae Responsories, and Finzi- Lo the Full Final Sacrifice
Thursday 31st December 2015
Joint concert with the Johanneskantorei Düsseldorf in Düsseldorf, Germany
Düsseldorf singing success for Reading Festival Chorus (GetReading)
Saturday 17th October 2015
Joint concert with the Johanneskantorei Düsseldorf
"That was a most wonderful performance of the Messiah. Everyone (conductor, soloists, orchestra, and especially the choir) was magnificent."
Saturday 7th December 2013
A WINTER WARMER - MUSIC TO KINDLE THE HEART
Vivaldi: Gloria, Haydn: Little Organ Mass, Purcell: O Come Ye Sons Of Art
The concert was really splendid; the Chorus sang extremely well; the soloists were well matched,both when singing solo or when duetting with each other or the chorus; the organist was first class and our Welsh Dragon led from the front with his usual style and vigour. Finally, I thought the ladies looked splendid, with their sparkling buttonholes. Well done to you all!
Saturday 23rd March 2013
Karl Jenkins: Stabat Mater
After a full day of intensive rehearsals, held as a Come and Singe event, the Reading Festival Chorus teamed up with members of the Reading Symphony Orchestra to perform Karl Jenkins Stabat Mater. It is the name given to a 13th-century prayer (Stabat Mater dolorosa - The sorrowful mother was standing) written as a reflection on the suffering of Mary, mother of Jesus, at the crucifixion.
For this performance, there was a mixture of full choral works and solo moments, with young soloist Harriet Kirk having a very warm tone to her verse. She also sang in Aramaic and Arabic.
The alternating choir and solo pieces helped the flow and gave the choir a break especially considering it had only been rehearsed in a day.
The hour-long suite is a timeless classic and it will be sung hundreds of years into the future; it covers all the emotions and makes an ancient text relevant.
The Festival Chorus is conducted by Edward-Rhys Harry, who has performed all over the world. Tonight, his singers were following him keenly.
Alongside the orchestra, an unnamed organist provided the crucial swell for this 'come and sing' performance.
The warm sounds and beautiful setting of the Concert Hall helped brighten up a very cold Spring evening.
Xn magazine, April 2013. Author : Laura Blackburn Finlay
Saturday 21st April 2012
Rossini: Petite Messe Solenelle
Reading Festival Chorus treated their audience to a lovely performance of Rossinis Petite Messe Solenelle at Greyfriars Church in Reading. Members of the audience expecting a solemn mass were surprised and delighted to hear a joyful piece, full of memorable melodies, showing much more in common with Rossinis operatic works than sacred music.
This setting of the mass, accompanied only by two pianos and an organ, allowed the audience to hear the choir at its best. Under the new baton of Edward-Rhys Harry, the singers produced a polished performance, with clear tones and beautifully controlled dynamics. The choir navigated the tricky fugue passages with confidence and sang with evident enjoyment throughout.
The four soloists, Rhiannon Llewellyn (soprano), Helen Bruce (mezzo-soprano), David Webb (tenor) and Ed Ballard (bass), each entertained the audience in the extensive solo passages and united to make a beautifully-blended sound in the Gloria. Jane Seymour and Annabel Thwaite provided a spirited piano accompaniment, further enhanced by Simon Dinsdale on the organ.
Greyfriars Church provided a comfortable and intimate venue for this very enjoyable performance.
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