It is a great pleasure to sing a choral work that is being conducted by its composer, and on Saturday I had the chance to do just that, to sing Bob Chilcott's "Requiem" in Salisbury with a "scratch" choir of 80 singers. The work is a modern setting of the Latin Mass, and was first performed in Oxford in March 2010. This performance was in aid of the "Living Water Africa" charity, and before we started our rehearsals, we were shown a short video about the problems of bringing clean drinking water to many poor people in Africa. Millions die each year from illnesses related to drinking dirty water, and most of the proceeds from our day of singing were given to the charity. P and I had never sung the work before, and although it is quite easy to read and to sing, it was useful to have a group of strong sopranos sitting behind us and helping us along with the faster parts of the music. The morning rehearsal began at 10am and we stopped at 11.30am for a coffee and tea break, and then continued until 1pm and lunchtime.
We began our afternoon rehearsal at 2pm, and an hour later were joined by the soprano soloist with a very beautiful voice, who had a short warm up with us singing the "Pie Jesu" and the "Santus." We gave an informal performance of the work at 4pm in Salisbury Methodist Church, shown above, to a small audience of friends. Unfortunately I cannot find a history of this building, which was probably built in the late 18th century. It has been completely modernised to provide an area for prayer, a modern kitchen in the large sports hall, and a cafe in the entrance hall.
The choir members return after lunch for the afternoon's rehearsal in church.
Bob Chilcott the composer and conductor stands to the left, with the soprano soloist sitting in the centre with the bass soloist to her right. The head of our young accompanist can be seen far right just over the piano lid. The whole day was a wonderful singing experience, and I feel very privileged to have been part of the performance. After the performance P and I went shopping, where I got my hands on the new "Kindle Fire HD" in Waterstones, and managed to play around with it for 20 minutes or so. We then met F in the "New Inn" for a pint, and at 7.30pm enjoyed an evening meal in an Italian restaurant! Wonderful!