Combined choirs set for spectacular concert

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Lewes-based East Sussex Bach Choir is joining forces with Eastbourne Choral Society to help deliver one of the Society’s biggest and most spectacular choral concerts in its 21-year history.

The combined choirs will perform Sir Edward Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius, a powerful and complex piece written by the Worcestershire-born composer, on Saturday, March 29 2014 at All Saints Church in Eastbourne.

Spokeswoman Jane Gould said: “The Dream of Gerontius is based on the text of Cardinal John Henry Newman’s poem about an old man’s journey from death, to his adventure in the next world and arrival at the judgment hall, where he glimpses God for the first time. More than a century after Gerontius was written, and considered daring and difficult at the time, the piece is now cherished by music lovers and considered a national monument among musical scholars.”

Jane added: “The concert has been two years in the planning by Eastbourne Choral Society as it is one which very few choral societies have the numbers and expertise to perform. With the Society now boasting more than 100 members, it has been able to join forces with the East Sussex Bach Choir to swell the combined choir to 150 singers for The Dream of Gerontius.

The line-up will be completed by a large orchestra and professional who are internationally-renowned for their previous performances of what is considered to be Elgar’s finest choral writing.

“Bringing together all the professional soloists, musicians and singers will be musical director John Hancorn who directs both Eastbourne Choral Society and East Sussex Bach Choir.”

Liz Barker, chairman of Eastbourne Choral Society, said: “Putting a concert on of this scale has taken a great deal of planning, but is now possible due to the brilliant direction of our musical director John Hancorn.

“During his tenure the choir has grown in numbers and reputation and, thanks to the collaboration with our friends in the East Sussex Bach and Phoenix Choirs, we are now able to put on this fantastic concert.”

To kick start the new choral term and Elgar’s impending visit to the town, Eastbourne Choral Society is holding an open workshop for The Dream of Gerontius on Saturday, January 25, from 10.30pm to 3.15pm, at All Saints’ Church, Grange Road, Eastbourne.

Places are limited, and so for those who are not members of the Society but are interested in attending, visiting singers will need to reserve a place by calling Eastbourne 733928, or visit to reserve a place via email.