Singers from choirs across the region joined members of Plymouth Philharmonic Choir for a workshop with local conductor and baritone soloist, John Hobbs. Starting with Parry’s I Was Glad, an anthem that was well known by many attendees, was a sure-fire way to get the day off to a superb start and to warm up the vocal cords. The title words alone make a singer smile and this, together with the grandeur of the introduction, make this an uplifting piece of music. This set the tone for the day.
Composing the work for the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902, this royal occasion was beset with complications: a delay due to the King requiring emergency surgery for peritonitis, the conductor starting the piece too early such that it had finished before the King had arrived at Westminster Abbey and the Archbishop of Canterbury putting the crown on the wrong way round! Thankfully there were no such dramas at the workshop due to excellent planning and organisation by Sarah Potter and Lily McConville.
Puccini’s Messa di Gloria was the main focus for the day. By comparison far fewer singers were familiar with this piece. What a revelation! For many this work has skyrocketed in to their favourites list. With great skill John Hobbs guided singers through the work and there was even time to polish some sections before the informal performance for family and friends. It was never intended to reach a concert level performance in five hours.
A different sort of sound
What was more important was the sense of achievement at having done this as a group who, at the start of the day, didn’t know each other but bonded as they relied on and developed their sight singing and listening skills. During refreshments and lunch the room was filled with a different sort of sound, chatter, as new friends were made and news about concerts and events in the area shared.
In January Plymouth Philharmonic Choir will be building on this introduction to Puccini’s fabulous Messa di Gloria when they start preparing to perform this work on Saturday 23 March 2024 at 7.30pm in The Minster Church of St Andrew.
If you are inspired to join the choir, contact Pat Brodie (Membership Secretary firstname.lastname@example.org 01752 330337). You can keep up to date with Plymouth Philharmonic Choir’s concerts and events by visiting their website (plymouthphilchoir.org) and Facebook page.
Images courtesy of Howard Perks
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