The Exon Singers 52nd Festival:
31st July to 5th August 2018, Tavistock
The Exon Singers, founded in 1966, will celebrate their 52nd Annual Summer Festival from Tuesday 31st July to 5th August, in Tavistock Parish Church.
Since 1973 the annual Exon Singers festival has been centred in Tavistock, and is based in the beautiful 13th century parish church of St Eustachius. The choir has broadcast regularly on BBC Radios 2,3 and 4 and has made a number of highly acclaimed recordings for Albany, ASV, Delphian and Regent record labels.
In recent years the choir has also been recognised for commissioning many new works from some of the UK’s most exciting composers – James Burton, Toby Young, Francis Jackson, Gabriel Jackson, Philip Moore, Grayston Ives, Howard Skempton, Philip Wilby, Joseph Phibbs, George Lloyd, David Briggs, Richard Allain and the U.S. composer Gary Davison.
For the 52nd Annual Summer Festival, the choir is looking forward to welcoming Cornishman Russell Pascoe as its Festival Composer-in-Residence.
Over the years the choir has also performed at the Edinburgh International Festival and the Oxford Festival of Contemporary Music, as well as giving concerts in St John’s College Cambridge, Gloucester and Wells Cathedrals and in Winchester, Salisbury, Belfast and northern Germany.
Reviews describe the choir’s performances as “brilliantly sung” (Classic FM,) with “beautifully tailored singing” (Gramophone) and a “brilliant soprano sound” (The Daily Telegraph,) and where “the Exon Singers excel” (BBC Music Magazine.)
For the opening performance of this year’s Festival on Tuesday 31st July, the Exon Singers will be joined by the Exon Festival Chorus, in a special celebratory programme to mark the 700th anniversary of St Eustachius Church in Tavistock.
Handel and Parry Anthems will include Zadok the Priest and Hallelujah (from Messiah) by George Frideric Handel, with Sir Hubert Parry’s I was Glad and Blest Pair of Sirens, together with a new commission by Festival Composer-in-Residence, Russell Pascoe, The St Eustachius Triptych, set to a libretto by Anthony Pinching.
Inaugurated in 2014, the Exon Festival Chorus is made up of choral singers from the Tavistock area who come together each year to join the Exon Singers in performing some of the great works of the choral repertoire.
There is a special Come and Sing Workshop Day on Saturday 28th July from 11am to 5pm, with the Exon Singers’ new Conductor and Artistic Director, Joseph Judge, for singers interested in joining the Exon Festival Chorus. Registration is at 10.30am. Singers can opt just to attend the workshop or also perform in the concert on Tuesday 1st August. Music can be hired from the choir.
On Wednesday 1st August, the Exon Singers will perform Would like to meet… – a light-hearted programme of jazz- and folk-inspired contemporary choral music on the theme of love, featuring Will Todd’s catchy, spirited, then deeply moving Songs of Love, Shakespeare texts scored by Ward Swingle, George Shearing and Janet Wheeler, and Celtic sounds and superb arrangements by Rebecca Dale, Cecilia McDowall and more.
Thursday 2nd August marks the centenary commemoration of World War 1, with All Shall Be Well, an evening of emotional words from times of distress, surrounded by heavenly music.
The war commemoration is linked with wider themes of human conflict and loss, explored through the power of music. The Exon Singers are joined here by Festival Guest Artists, The Marvolo Quartet, with music by Roxanna Panufnik, Arvo Pärt, Philip Moore and Sheena Phillips.
On Friday 3rd August we are delighted to welcome as Festival Guest Artists the acclaimed FIGO Ensemble, making their debut appearance at the Exon Singers Festival, with Baroque Delights. We look forward to hearing a delightful programme of Sonatas and Arias for Violin, Viola da Gamba, Theorbo and Harpsichord by JS Bach, Buxtehude and Handel, with Corelli’s La Folia.
A slightly earlier concert time of 7pm on Saturday 4th August sees the closing concert of the Festival with the Exon Singers and FIGO Ensemble together performing Messiah, George Frideric Handel’s famous and magnificent resurrection oratorio.
Lunchtime concerts from 1-1.40pm see performances from our Festival Guest Artists: Festival Organist Josef Laming on Wednesday 1st August, The Marvolo Quartet on Thursday 2nd August and Megan Rickard (harp) on Friday 3rd August.
From Tuesday to Friday the Exon Singers end the day with the atmospheric service of Compline by Candlelight from 9-9.20pm.
The Festival closes this year with a BBC Broadcast for Radio 4 Sunday Worship, at 8.10am. Members of the public and Tavistock parishioners are invited to make up the congregation for this live broadcast with the Exon Singers and FIGO Ensemble; please be seated by 7.45am.
All evening concerts take place at 7.30pm in St Eustachius Church, Tavistock apart from Messiah on Saturday 4th August, which will begin at the slightly earlier time of 7pm.
Tickets are available from: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Bookstop, 3 Market Street, Tavistock (01822 617244) or at the door
Philip R Buttall
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