December 2022 Update

The choir has been busy since our last update. We had a very successful concert in All Saints’ Church on 20th November celebrating our 40th Anniversary. The programme included Vivaldi’s Magnificat and Schubert’s Mass in G as well as  two pieces by Purcell: ‘Thy Word is a Lantern’ and ‘Rejoice in the Lord Alway’. In addition, we sang a beautiful anthem by Patrick Salisbury – ‘O God the Protector of All That Trust in Thee’. Patrick was the founder of this choir and led it for many years, resigning as President in 2021. We were delighted that he was present at this concert and said a few words in support of the choir which has grown in recent months. He asked for an encore of the piece which allowed us a second chance to perform this delightful work, and to improve on our first attempt – It isn’t easy singing a composer’s work in front of him, but his encouragement inspired us.

We are grateful to Anna Shackleton, our current President, who wrote this critique:

Congratulations for such a wonderful 40th anniversary concert! A well-balanced and lively programme which you executed well. A particular ‘well done’ to the tenors!  

I felt the balance was generally good, although lower voices, basses in particular, could have given a little more welly in places. Altos seemed less confident in their entries. You need to try to steal the show when you have an exposed entry rather than shy away!  

The Vivaldi Magnificat was full of energy and started the concert with a bang, with some lovely, well-controlled crescendos and beautiful well-supported quiet singing. Movement three had slightly less confident entries from the altos and tenors when more exposed. The final unison movement I felt could have been a little faster and with a tad more zing, as it petered out slightly towards the end until the final ‘amen’ came along, but was nonetheless a good finale to the piece.  

The Schubert started with great poise. It was well-supported and the intonation was secure throughout. It seemed more confident than the Purcell ‘Thy word is a lantern’ which had several intonation slips and some less assured entries.  

I would say breathing could be lower (relaxed abdominal breathing) to get a fuller, more resonant sound and will help you to feel more ‘together’ as a choir. Worth practicing breathing together with low belly breaths (if you don’t already!).  

I very much enjoyed the second rendition of Patrick Salisbury’s work ‘O God the protector of all that trust in thee’. Very heartfelt and varied in colour, and wonderful to see Patrick there. I won’t say anything about the first go..!  

I absolutely loved the final Purcell, ‘Rejoice in the Lord’. The first entries could have had more confidence, but this seemed to grow and grow into a warm and spirited ending that was full of joy. 

We were proud of our performance but pleased to have our weaknesses identified and to have ideas on how we can work towards improvement.

Over the last year we have welcomed quite a few new members whose voices have enhanced our choir considerably. We are now sufficiently confident to attempt Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle on 26th March 2023 and are looking forward to starting rehearsals on 6th January 2023.

Patrick Salisbury Prize for Musical Endeavour

Another piece of news which we have not yet reported is the presentation of the first Salisbury Music Prize for Musical Endeavour. This prize was established from money raised by the choir and friends on the occasion of Patrick Salisbury’s retirement from the presidency of the All Saints’ Singers in 2021, to show appreciation of his many years of service. It is to be awarded every year to a child in Sutton Courtenay who has shown the greatest musical endeavour. The Matrix Music Centre also contributed something to the fund and were instrumental in recommending the winner.

We are delighted to announce that the first Patrick Salisbury Prize for Musical Endeavour was awarded to Isla Clark. She received the prize in a small private ceremony on 20th July 2022 and had the thrill of speaking personally on Zoom to Patrick Salisbury who spoke the nomination. She was joined at the Matrix by her parents and sister, by Lindsay MacKenzie, manager of the Matrix, Antonia King, her teacher, and by Sandra Knowles, Chairman of All Saints’ Singers Sutton Courtenay. Isla was presented with a certificate and a book token.

This is her nomination:

I nominate Isla Clark for her achievement in her first year of music: for her hard work, overcoming challenges, and her enthusiasm in class, culminating in a great result for her first piano exam. Well done Isla!

Isla hopes to spend some of the token on a book of piano arrangements of Harry Potter music.