Biggleswade and Potton choirs perform in Bedford

The last time the choirs have performed together was 2015

The last time the choirs have performed together was 2015

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The Biggleswade and District Choral Society along with the St Mary’s Singers in Potton join forces with another choir in Bedfordshire for a concert next month.

The groups perform alongside the Leighton Buzzard Festival Singers as well as soloists and the East Bedfordshire Chamber Orchestra to play music by Puccini’s Messa di Gloria and Parry’s Blest Pair of Sirens.

The concert, which will be held at King’s House, Bedford at 7.30pm on Saturday April 1, will also feature Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony and Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture (Fingal’s Cave).

Messa di Gloria was composed by Giacomo Puccini as his graduation exercise from the Istituto Musciale Pacini when he was in his early twenties and was first performed in July 1880 only seven years before the first staging of Hubert Parry’s Blest Pair of Sirens, a short work for choir and orchestra, which was first performed at St James’s Hall, London in May 1887, and is a setting of John Milton’s ode “At A Solemn Musick”

It is not the first time that the three choirs have combined to perform. In March 2015, they joined forces at the same venue to present Brahms’s Deutsches Requiem.

Liz Smith, chairman of St Mary’s Singers, said, “The last joint concert with the three choirs was a wonderful event. It was a really exciting day for all the singers and orchestral players to come together to make music.

“We had a fantastic day working together, as well as with the orchestra after all the work we had put in rehearsing the music separately.

“The audience had the amazing experience of a choir of 150, great orchestral players, many drawn from the Bedford Symphony Orchestra, and excellent soloists.

“Each of the choirs is very lucky to have a really excellent Musical Director who is glad to work with the others to prepare us for the shared concert. We are so lucky in Bedfordshire that we have so much great amateur music and a wonderfully joyful will to work together.”

Of the venue, Smith said, “King’s House provides the ideal venue, it is a great space and is perfectly situated between the choirs’ bases.”

David Beer, Musical Director at St Mary’s Singers, added, “Blest Pair of Sirens is said to be one of the pieces that revived English music, which had been in decline since the days of Purcell. Other English composers such as Elgar, took great influence from it. It has a typical English sound to it, and is challenging for the choir, as it is written in eight choral parts instead of the usual four. Puccini’s Missa di Gloria is a huge work, operatic in style, as one would expect from this composer, and has some glorious melodies and exciting orchestrations.”

Tickets, priced at £15 for adults and £6 for 16s and under, can be obtained from choir members, G G Tysoe & Sons in the Market Square, Potton, by calling Val Whiteley on 01767 601877 or by visiting www.stmaryssingerspotton.org.uk/programme2016-2017/