‘TURNER’ IN ITALY

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When Guy Turner, Bingham Choral’s conductor, set out to write BYRON IN ITALY for the concert in July, he did not think it would result in an invitation to go to Italy! 

Guy Turner

The concert on July 7th involved a total of 140 voices, including Bingham Choral. also taking part were the Cathedral Youth Choir from Sarzana in Italy (Southwell’s twin town). They enjoyed singing the piece so much that they have invited Guy to travel to Italy in November to conduct a performance in Lerici Castle on the famous bay of poets (Byron spent time with Mary and Percy Bysshe Shelley). This will be a special pleasure for him because he has visited Sarzana before with the Lay Clerks of Sourthwell Minster, and has been closely involved in hosting the youth choir when they have visited Southwell.

The concert, which will include other Byron settings also performed at our own concert, will be on November 2nd at 9.00pm for anyone who may be passing.

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‘Five belles plus one’ romp to BDCS quiz victory

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Pictured above are ‘Five belles plus one’  the winning team at BDCS Quiz social evening held on Saturday 28th April. Five belles plus one saw off eight other teams to emerge as victors in a fiercely fought contest. According to the Quiz-master (Guy Turner) there were only 3 questions that no-one got, William IV and two of the Wall groups (not dissimilar to the ‘wall’ round in the BBC TV Quiz ‘Only Connect’).

This social evening as well as being good fun raised £206 via a collection for the charity Strength Restored an Anti-Bullying Organisation run by Guy’s son Tom. Tom wishes to pass on his thanks to everyone on behalf of Strength Restored. You cam read more about Strength Restored at http://www.strengthrestored.co.uk/

 

New competition for young musicians in the East Midlands – the winner!

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Emily Hodkinson pictured with John and Barbara Beaumont.

Bingham and District Choral Society has launched a new Bursary and Prize open to young musicians (aged under 24 years) across the East Midlands.

The final was held in Bingham on Saturday and featured five outstanding performers: a cellist and four singers. Ranging from Boccherini to Britten, the wide repertoire on display was impressive for its ambition and mastery.  The difficult task of selecting the winning candidate fell to a panel of four experienced judges.

Emily Hodkinson, a mezzo soprano from Nottingham, emerged as the winner. Her confident and elegant performance comprised works by Gounod, Brahms, Purcell and Hahn. She was accompanied by Angela Foan.

Emily will receive a Bursary of £500 to help develop her musical career. This has been generously funded by the Patron of Bingham and District Choral Society, John Beaumont, and his wife Barbara.  In addition, Emily has been awarded a Prize in the form of an opportunity to perform with the choir in the future.

In second place was Ben Watkins, a bass from Nottingham, while Katharine Ley, a cellist from Lincolnshire came third.

The competition is an exciting new departure for the Choral Society. It is an opportunity to increase our community involvement by helping local young talent to flourish.

Singing the Verdi Requiem in France – June 2017

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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.

 

 

John Rutter leads a Singing Day for Bingham Choir

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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.

John Rutter with (l-r) Joanna Bennett, Alexia Doyne-Ditmas, Anna Wood and Molly Barker from The Minster Girls’ Choir

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.

Feedback from the John Rutter singing day

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John Rutter at the BDCS Singing 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!

 

Tony Goldstone

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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.

 

Goldstone-Clemmow concert

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Goldstone_Clemmow_Turner
Goldstone, Clemmow & Turner

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.

Anthony Goldstone & Caroline Clemmow Concert 24th September, St. Mary & All Saints Parish Church, Bingham

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With about forty CDs to their credit and a busy concert schedule stretching back more than thirty years, the British piano duo Goldstone and Clemmow is firmly established as a leading force. Described by Gramophone as ‘a dazzling husband and wife team’, by International Record Review as ‘a British institution in the best sense of the word’, and by The Herald, Glasgow, as ‘the UK’s pre-eminent two-piano team’, internationally known artists Anthony Goldstone and Caroline Clemmow formed their duo in 1984 and married in 1989.

Goldstone and Clemmow photoTheir extremely diverse activities in two-piano and piano-duet recitals and double concertos, taking in major festivals, have sent them all over the British Isles as well as to Europe, the Middle East and several times to the U.S.A., where they have received standing ovations and such press accolades as ‘revelations such as this are rare in the concert hall these days’ (Charleston Post and Courier). In their refreshingly presented concerts they mix famous masterpieces and fascinating rarities, which they frequently unearth themselves, into absorbing and hugely entertaining programmes; their numerous B.B.C. broadcasts have often included first hearings of unjustly neglected works, and their equally enterprising and acclaimed commercial recordings include many world premières.
Having presented the complete duets of Mozart for the bicentenary, they decided to accept the much greater challenge of performing the vast quantity of music written by Schubert specifically for four hands at one piano. This they have repeated several times in mammoth seven-concert cycles, probably a world first in their completeness (including works not found in the collected edition) and original recital format. The Musical Times wrote of this venture: ‘The Goldstone/Clemmow performances invited one superlative after another.’
The complete cycle (as a rare bonus including as encores Schumann’s eight Schubert- inspired Polonaises) was recorded on seven CDs, ‘haunted with the spirit of Schubert’ – Luister, The Netherlands.