At the beginning of June 2017, a large contingent of singers from the East Midlands, including a dozen members of BDCS, set off for France with the Nottingham Symphony Orchestra to perform the Verdi Requiem in Chartres Cathedral and the Madeleine in Paris.
We were joined by singers from a French and a German choir, making it a truly international experience. It was a fantastic privilege to sing one of the greatest romantic works in the choral repertoire in such legendary places. We were also blessed with four wonderful soloists (Sarah Baillie, Sandra Klara Januszewska, Richard Roddis and Geoff Williams) and the charismatic leadership of Derek Williams, Musical Director of the NSO, to spur us on.
The concerts were well publicised in advance and attracted large, appreciative audiences in both venues. We were even treated to a standing ovation! A reception in a Paris restaurant provided a fitting, celebratory finale before the long trip back home. Much fun was had and many friendships made along the way, so much so that a visit to Prague is contemplated in two years’ time. The trip was a great example of how choral singing crosses divides and expands horizons, personally and musically.
The photographs are of Chartres Cathedral interior and exterior with son et lumière, and The Madeleine, Paris.
Come and Sing Mozart Solemn Vespers with Marcus Farnsworth on Monday 28 August 2017. This event is part of the 2017 Southwell Music Festival. Marcus will also be conducting the singing day organised by Bingham & District Choral Society on Saturday March 10th 2018 (details available shortly) which follows on from our very successful singing day earlier this year with John Rutter.
The society’s conductor, Guy Turner, is also a composer, and on September 23rd he and David Machell will be leading a Come and sing Day on their own compositions, supported by Anthony Clare, Piano and Harriet Astbury, Soprano.
In the autumn Bingham Choral Society will launch a bursary and prize, to be awarded to an outstanding candidate aged 23 or under, who seeks to make a career in classical music. The bursary, donated by our Patron Mr. John Beaumont and his wife Barbara, will be worth £500. The winner will be expected to use the bursary money to advance their musical education. The prize will be the opportunity to take part in one of the Choir’s future concerts.
The competition for the bursary and prize is open to any musician (singer or instrumentalist) normally resident in Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire or Rutland. Applications will be invited in the early autumn, with a shortlist announced in November. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to give a short recital at the public final, to be held in Bingham Parish Church on Saturday January 20th, 2018. The judging panel will include Angela Kay MBE, and Guy Turner, Musical Director of the Bingham Choir.
Full details, including information on how to enter, will be available shortly on this website. There will be a non-refundable entry fee of £10.
John Rutter, the legendary composer and conductor of choral music, came to lead a Singing Day at The Minster School, Southwell, on Saturday at the invitation of the Bingham and District Choral Society. Judith Unell, Publicity Officer for the choir, says, ‘We just couldn’t believe our luck when John agreed to do this for us because he has such an incredibly busy schedule of international commitments. We feel very honoured’ The Singing Day was widely advertised and quickly sold out with more than 300 people attending. Four young members of the Minster Girls’ Choir helped ensure that things ran smoothly on the day and also took the opportunity to pose for a photo with John.
His exuberant and warm personality enabled everyone to relax and experience the joy of singing, but also to benefit from his immense knowledge of vocal technique. There were plenty of highly entertaining anecdotes too, drawn from his rich musical career. The choice of musical pieces ranged from the poignant and delicate ‘Who is Silvia’ by British composer George Shearing to the storming adaptation by John himself of `When the Saints go Marching In’ at the end of an uplifting, entertaining and unforgettable day.
“It was a real privilege to have the chance to sing with John Rutter; he is a superb facilitator and raconteur as well as an outstanding musician, and he is so right that people rarely get the chance just to sing good music, not prepare for a performance! His suggestions for improvement were so well paced and mostly limited to the morning when we could all expect to be fresher. And the Hallelujah chorus after lunch is the best solution I’ve come across to what I have usually heard described as ‘the graveyard slot’!”
“I am dropping you a note to say thank you to you and to everyone in the Bingham Choral Society for organising the wonderful day we all enjoyed so much last Saturday. I have sung many Rutter works over the years including his Gloria and Requiem but had never had the opportunity to experience working with him or to be able to thank him for the joy he has given. Sadly, my husband died at the end of July last year and I chose The Lord Bless You and Keep You as the choir anthem for his funeral, it was very special and very poignant when we sang it on Saturday.”
“Just a note to say thank you to all concerned for the John Rutter singing day on Saturday. It was a wonderful day when if we weren’t singing we were smiling. So uplifting!
The whole choir was very sad to hear of Tony Goldstone’s death, on January 2nd. Tony and his wife and duettist partner Caroline Clemmow had become our firm friends and musical collaborators over a number of years, and our thoughts and sympathies go out to Caroline.
Anthony Goldstone was born in Liverpool in 1944. His family moved to Manchester where he attended Manchester Grammar School. He studied piano at the Royal Manchester School of Music, and continued with Maria Curcio, who had been a pupil of the legendary Artur Schnabel. Tony enjoyed early success, appearing at the Last Night of the Proms in 1976, playing an early Britten work for left hand piano and orchestra. After the concert was broadcast, the composer wrote to him, ‘Thank you most sincerely for that brilliant performance of my Diversions.’
Tony and Caroline began playing together in 1984, quickly having great success, and they married in 1989. There is a surprisingly large repertoire of music, better known in other formats, which has been arranged for either piano duet or two pianos. Tony added extensively to this by making many of his own arrangements. Their discography includes over twenty CDs, with music by a full range of composers from Mozart to the present day. Last December they issued a disc of Vaughan Williams arrangements, including his Symphony No. 5 and the Tallis Fantasia, that is especially recommended (Albion Records ALBCD031).
Tony and Caroline lived near Scunthorpe, and it was through Neville Ward’s work with Scunthorpe Choral Society that they came to the notice of the Bingham Choir. In 2006 they played with us in a concert of music by John Rutter, Bob Chilcott and George Gershwin, with Neville conducting. We repeated that programme in autumn 2015, when it became the first concert that Guy Turner conducted on becoming our Musical Director in succession to Neville. It was a great success and the joy given to the audience by some additional duets that Caroline and Tony played was duly noted. We therefore invited them to give us a complete concert of duets.
That concert took place last September, before a packed audience in Bingham Church. One of the highlights of a spellbinding evening was the second half wholly devoted to Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the animals, with the poems of John Lithgow narrated by Guy Turner. Sadly, that wonderful concert was to be one of Tony Goldstone’s last public performances.
In October, you sponsored me to run the 13.1 miles of the Birmingham Half Marathon. Because my run is a fund raiser for the choir, I run in a white shirt and bow tie, among other things. This also helps to get me an occasional cheer. My ambition is to get round in under two hours, which I did a couple of years ago. This year I completed in 2hrs 6mins. Every runner is issued with a number and a chip, a unique marker attached to the back of the number which records when you cross the start and finish lines and I suspect one or two points in between.
To train for the race I do a couple of runs each fortnight which usually include a section by the River Trent. This year, I had what I think is an Achilles tendon injury which prevented me running for about 4 weeks, although I got going again six weeks or so before the run.
On the day, I did really well until about half way and looked like I would be inside the two hours. Then I began to lose energy, and was also concerned that I might get cramp, which would really slow me down. I slowed to avoid walking or ceasing up, but too much, so although going up hill in the sections before the end was hard work, I did a good final 500 meters boosted by a friendly face in the crowd.
The Choir promoted a concert by the acclaimed duettists Anthony Goldstone and Caroline Clemmow pictured left at the piano. A packed Bingham Parish Church heard a programme which in the first half had music by Schubert: Marche Militaire No. 1 and variations from the Trout Quintet, Rimsky-Korsakov: Scherezade and Vincent Youmans: Tea for two. The second half was devoted to Tony Goldstone’s own arrangement for piano duet of Saint Saens’ Carnival of the animals. Poems written to accompany the work by American actor John Lithgow were performed by Guy Turner, our Musical Director (pictured on the right.) Many people feel that Lithgow’s poems are better than those written by Ogden Nash. As an encore, Tony and Caroline played a short work by English composer Eric Thiman (1900 – 1975), whose archive is held at Southwell Minster and administrated by Guy Turner.
An extensive range of discs by the Goldstone-Clemmow duo can be found at (Link) and their future concerts will include a performance of Brahms’ German Requiem with the Choir.