In The Assembly Room, The Council House, North Street, Chichester, on Thursday, June 22 at 7pm, they will offer a magical madrigal tour of the pastures of England, the fire of Spain and the romance of Italy, also including Shakespeare songs by Rutter and one or two smooth classics, all intimately performed by eight outstanding young professional singers.
Among them is William Waine who was, until Christmas, a lay vicar in Chichester Cathedral Choir.
“The group started as a group of choral scholars and lay clerks at Christ Church, Oxford,” Will recalls. “We went and took part in a music festival just outside Oxford, and that was our first appearance in 2013. It was great. We did some Byrd and other music that related to the big music library at Christ Church which has got a really significant collection of music.
“The group was purely extra-curricular. We were all part of the cathedral choir, and it was just something a bit different, something out of the cathedral. And then everybody scattered to the winds.
“Some people went off to further study at the conservatoires in London; some people went off to do more degrees: and some people went off to other cathedral choirs around the country. Everybody left university and got on with the next things they were up to. I came to Chichester via Gloucester.
“And then one of the original people moved to Winchester, just down the road, and we thought it would be a good idea to start again. The first concert we did back together again was last April at St Paul’s in Chichester. That was the reunion, and it went well. Everybody is pursuing singing careers, but at the same time we were all really happy with the chance to sing together again. We were all in different choirs and doing different work, and we saw each other socially, but we didn’t really have the chance to sing together. But it all clicked when we did, and it was like being back at Oxford and back at university. There was a lot of nostalgia.
“We have now done four or five concerts. It has been a busy year. We have been really lucky to have some quite generous donations to help us look at the next step and get a bit more ambitious in terms of what we are doing.
“We have developed a really nice following in Chichester, and we have got a core of people that really enjoy what we do. We would now quite like to broaden our horizons. After the summer we are going to Essex where I grew up.
“We are also going to Wolverhampton where we have got connections, and we will be going back to Oxford in the New Year. We are also looking at new ways and new ideas, new ways of presenting the music, different ways of using the space. Recently we did a concert in Chichester Cathedral where we changed the way we move around the building, just trying to perform from different angles. We are wanting to look more at how we use the space.”
As for recording, a CD isn’t necessarily a priority: “There is a lot going on on Youtube and social media,” says Will, who is now a freelancer based in London. “I am not sure a CD is as important so much as doing videos and spreading the word in other ways.”
Will looks back fondly on his time with Chichester Cathedral Choir: “It is definitely one of the best in the country, and for a young singer looking to prepare for the next stage of their career or looking for what is a fairly demanding environment, it has been great.
“It was a brilliant opportunity. Apart from just the singing, it gave me the stability to do all sorts of other things, such as restarting this group up.”
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