Eastbourne's Sussex Song Makers make their Chichester debut

Making their first visit to West Sussex, Sussex Song Makers with the Sussex Ensemble are promising a baroque bonanza when they make their Festival of Chichester debut.
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Based in East Sussex, they are presenting an evening of Vivaldi, Albinoni and Torelli in The Assembly Room, Chichester on Friday, July 7, 7pm.

Vivaldi’s Gloria and Magnificat, Albinoni’s Concerto for Oboe and Torelli’s Concerto for trumpet will be performed. The Sussex Song Makers will be conducted by Elizabeth Muir-Lewis, with the Sussex Ensemble led by Nick Houghton. Tickets: £15, students/children: £10.

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Elizabeth said: “We are group of singers who are all singers in their own right. After I’d stopped conducting the Eastbourne Choral Society which I had done for ten years, I missed conducting so I got together this group of girls and we are having a lovely time. We got together about six years ago and there are twelve of us. We've got four in each voice and we sing solos as well. This is the fourth concert we have done this year. We do the London festivals and we go to the lovely little churches. In September we're going to Pevensey where we'll be doing the same programme that we're doing in Chichester. It's actually quite difficult to decide what we're going to do. The Magnificat is 25 minutes long and the Gloria is 30 minutes long so we have put in the Albinoni and the Torelli as well. And I know that if I saw our programme, I would want to hear it!

Elizabeth Muir-Lewis by Mike GossElizabeth Muir-Lewis by Mike Goss
Elizabeth Muir-Lewis by Mike Goss

“When I do most of the big concerts I do them in memory of my husband, the tenor Richard Lewis. I keep his memory alive because he was a great artist and there is a big competition at the Royal Academy of music in his name. He was what I would call introvert off stage and extrovert on. Not an unusual character trait in performers, I think.

"What made him the great artist was hard work on technique, a great musician and often rare in classical singers, an unusual ability to learn complex modern works, which is why most of the composers wanted him. As Michael Tippett, the composer, said to him ‘You make my music sound normal.’

“But really just making music is wonderful. Music has been my life since i was 16. I was a singer for many many years and when the day came I decided I w anted to do more than just sing I took up conducting which is much more fun because you're in charge of the whole thing. My choir used to say ‘she who must be obeyed’ but it is great too be in charge of it all. If you are singing you just sing your bit and then you sit down but with this you have whole new genres to learn.”

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This will be the group’s first time in West Sussex: “I love Chichester I think it's an amazing town and when we went to the Assembly Room we just thought ‘Well, it it's got everything that an artist could wish for, beautiful room and a bar which is important.’ We're just thrilled to be playing there. I'm calling it a baroque bonanza. I consider the baroque era one of the most beautiful. It's incredible how many great composers there were. It was a wonderful era. And when you think about the noise and the quick money of today it is just wonderful to escape back into that era.”

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