Choral Society Entertains During Festival
South West London was treated to a celebration of English composers on 5th April when The Barnes Choir performed their English Tradition concert during the second annual Barnes Music Festival at St. Mary’s Church. The choir, under conductor Julian Collings, sang choral pieces by English greats Edward Elgar, Charles Villiers Stanford, Vaughan Williams and Hubert Parry.
The festival is known as “an annual celebration of music-making” which brings community groups, local music groups and schools together with international stars to perform across Barnes. The festival specifically commemorated the works of three composers, Elgar, Frederick Delius and Gustav Holst who all died 80 years ago in 1934.
There were nineteen events, including instrumental, choral, opera, orchestral and jazz concerts, and music themed film showings, over two weeks this year. Other performers included long-established vocal group Cantabile – The London Quartet, famed cellist Julian Lloyd Webber playing with young ensemble The Verter Trio and St. Paul’s Girls’ School Symphony Orchestra with their Paulina Voices choir.
The Barnes Choir was established in 1952 by conductor Ron Peck. As an amateur choir they “aim to promote choral singing in the community” and present their members with “a sociable and friendly environment while raising the choir’s standard of singing.” The group of roughly 65 singers performs “interesting works from all periods, from major classics to madrigals and new compositions” and has sung the works of luminaries such as Puccini, Vivaldi, Handel, Bach and Beethoven.
The choir puts on their own concerts three times a year, frequently including other local artists in their concerts and performing the work of local composers, and also lends their talents to community events such as the festival. They hold a number of social events for their members each year, like barbeques, quiz nights and holiday parties, and has visited the city of Le Pecq in the suburbs of Paris to perform.
Organiser Angela Hoggarth says they employed their standard means of promotion for the concert, using flyers, their mailing list and concert listing websites to get the word out. She adds that they “were also helped because we were performing as part of the festival, which did extensive promotion of all the events, including using print collateral and a radio interview with Lloyd Webber.” Putting shows together is second nature for the group, with Hoggarth explaining that after 62 years of concerts “it’s a well-oiled process.”
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