Chichester concert will help fund school choir trip

Chichester’s Westbourne House school is offering two concerts which will be raising funds towards the school choir going to Paris on tour this April when they will be singing at the Eglise Madeleine and at Saint-Sulpice.
Richard Birchall (Golrizphotography)Richard Birchall (Golrizphotography)
Richard Birchall (Golrizphotography)

The first concert, which takes place on Friday, February 2 at 7pm in the school, will see Philharmonia Orchestra cellist Richard Birchall, who is one of the parents at the school, give a recital with school director of music Alex Dichmont (piano).

“It would be wonderful to welcome members of the public for what promises to be a fantastic evening of music,” Alex says. Their programme will be Tchaikovsky – Pezzo Capriccioso; Faure – Elegie; Brahms – Sonata in E minor; and Schumann – Adagio and Allegro.

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The second event is a piano recital given by Alex and by Richard Allum, the school’s assistant director of music, at Bignor Park House, by permission of Lord and Lady Mersey, on Friday, March 1 at 7.30pm. The programme will feature Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata alongside some light-hearted works for piano duet. Tickets for both concerts are available through the school.

Alex, who has been director of music at Westbourne House since 1991 having previously enjoyed a freelance career as an organist, said: “The concerts are raising funds for our choir which is going on tour to Paris in April. We go somewhere abroad every year. It was Rome last year. This year we will be away for five days doing three concerts, two in the city centre of Paris and one in Beauvais cathedral. The choristers get an enormous amount of experience on these trips in terms of performing abroad and getting to know the inside working of a large city. They get to visit but they also get the feel of what it is like to work there, and with the concert experience – or sometimes they get to sing services – it is something that they just cannot possibly do in the school. They are singing in some amazing venues in acoustics we can only dream of. It is really great for them to do something like this. Richard Birchall is the parent of one of our choristers and he offered to give a recital to raise some cash, and the first concert will be him and me at 7pm, and it will be very much romantic cello music. We planned it about three months ago and just had a few ideas of things that would work well together.”

Richard read music at Cambridge University and studied as a postgraduate cellist at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.

A month later will come the Bignor Park House concert in which Alex will be joined by Richard Allum: “This will be a longer concert. The first one will be just an hour in the hope that some of the children can stay up and listen, but with this one we will play longer. We will talk about the programme nearer the time but there will probably be some French music given the fact that we are going to Paris.”

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