Members of the University of Sheffield Chamber Choir are taking part in this Sunday’s Choral Celebration concert at the Millenium Gallery, Sheffield, part of celebrations for the visit of the Tour de France to Yorkshire. At the celebration, more than 70 singers from, different choirs will sing favourite music of the British Isles to new arrangements written by Fraser Wilson, artistic director of the Albion choir. The event takes place at the gallery on Sunday (March 30) at 6.30pm.
Sheffield Chamber Choir director Mark McCombs talks about the event and the choir.
What made you keen to take part in the Choral Celebration?
The Tour de France coming to Yorkshire is a wonderful thing, as Yorkshire is a very special county, and we were really keen to celebrate that.
Which elements are you most looking forward to?
It’s a great opportunity to sing with members of other choirs. Sheffield’s choral tradition is something we should all be proud of, and this is a great chance to showcase it. Fraser’s music is also great to sing, intuitive and interesting.
What makes it a special event? What are the challenges?
The challenge is having such a short rehearsal for such a variety of singers - but there’s a lot of special talent involved and that should make it work!
When did you start singing, and what are some of your favourite singing moments?
I started singing as a chorister in Liverpool in the SFX Boys’ Choir aged 11 and have sung those very high top Cs in Allegri’s Miserere for both Pope John Paul II and HM Queen Elizabeth II. My proudest moment is actually directing the Chamber Choir on their first international tour in Dublin last summer.
Tell us some more about the choir?
The Chamber Choir is a group of young students who have to pass a rigorous audition process each September, so that makes us quite special and very able. This means that we can perform some wonderful repertoire, because the singers are brilliant and are keen to be pushed. We love British music, and have recently been immersed in the repertoire of Britten, Walton and most recently Finzi’s Seven Poems of Robert Bridges.
Do you have any performances coming up?
Yes! We’re performing Finzi’s Seven Poems on Tuesday, April 1 at Firth Hall, as well as a selection of our favourite folksongs and traditional partsongs (including a couple of Fraser’s settings too). It’ll be an excellent concert, so I really have no shame in plugging it!
Anything else you’d like to say?
A big thank you to Albion for arranging this celebration, and well done for their new album which is excellent.
The Chamber Choir is online at http://www.classicalsheffield.org.uk/university-chamber-choir.html
Video: Watch the Chamber Choir singing He wishes for the cloths of heaven by the Irish poet WB Yeats: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfTrXgeNkKU
Get free tickets for Sunday’s concert at www.sheffieldchoralcelebration.eventbrite.co.uk