MikeWhat a day! The choir beavered away at their repertoire under the tution of Guy Turner, Mike Gregory, Jane McDouall and MfE’s Artistic Director, Angela Kay. Works being rehearsed are by Rutter Birthday Madrigals, Harris And will ‘a not, Deimer Three Madrigals and Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music. The choir then split into upper and lower voices for sectional rehearsals, where tips were also given about technique. The ladies particularly know a lot more anatomy than before they came, and about posture, breathing, core muscles, etc. Singers who normally sing in larger choral societies have expressed enjoyment in singing more intimate works, often sung by chamber groups.


The full orchestra rehearsed first thing under the baton (newly purchased from the Winblowers stall in the rehearsal hall) of Phil Smith, and played a medley from Kiss me Kate. Instrumentalist split later into the string orchestra and the windband. More about these groups tomorrow. And more in a second post about the Cox Quartet open rehearsal (masterclass in quartet playing) and their concert.

The sun shone again, so coffee, lunch and tea were taken outside by many. Times to chat with old friends and to make new ones.

After lunch, John Florance, a raconteur with a PhD in English Literature and Drama, and former Radio Leicester presenter, explored the importance of music to Shakespeare, and in his plays. He chose a Shakespeare inspired piece from each musical era from the Bard’s time until today, and showed how his words have inspired music of all genres – opera, song, orchestral, ballet, jazz, musical, rock and pop.

JohnFloranceThe man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.

The Merchant of Venice, William Shakespeare.


CarrisLibby0Carris Jones, mezzo-soprano, studied at Cambridge University and the RAM, graduating with a DipRAM Distinction, the Academy’s highest performance award. Operatic experience includes cover Cornelia Julius Caesar (ENO), Mother/Witch Hansel and Gretel (Co-Opera), cover Susanna (Ilford), cover Hippolyta A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Il Turco in Italia, The Magic Flute (Garsington), Dido Dido and Aeneas (Eltham Choral Society). Other experience includes Elgar Sea Pictures and Mahler Kindertotenlieder (North London Symphony Orchestra) and Verdi Requiem at the Sheldonian in Ozford. In 2013 she made her Royal Festival Hall solo debut as Renee in the European premier of Shostakovich Orango, with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia.

Libby Burgess accompanied Carris with great sensitivity. Libby is dedicated to the fields of song and chamber music, collaborating regularly with some of the finest singers and instrumentalists of her generation. Her diverse schedule ranges from song recitals in the UK’s major concert halls and festivals, to chamber music in obsure venues around the country or appearances on Radio 3. She is Artistic Director of New Paths, a major new festival of concerts, outreach, and education events in Beverley, Yorkshire.

The Shakespeare theme was taken up by Carris, here’s her varied and delightful programme.

CarisLibby1Schubert – An Silvia

Haydn – She never told her love

Korngold – Willow Song; Blow, blow thou winter wind; Come away death; Adieu good man devil, Hey Robin

Quilter – Three Shakespeare Songs

Cheryl Frances-Hoad – Two Shakespeare Songs

Dring – Take O take those lips away; It was a lover and his lass; Come away deathThe cuckoo

On Saturday 23rd April at 7.30pm, St Mary’s Church Clifton, the East of England Singers and New Classical Players will be performing a concert of music inspired by the Bard. We warmly invite you to enjoy a programme ranging from Purcell’s comic and delightful Fairy Queen to Walton’s dramatic film score for Henry V, Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music, and other Shakespearean texts set to music. The choir welcomes Ant Dean as guest conductor, and Angela Kay to the alto section!

EOES 2015

Some of the pieces being performed will be included in the Music for Everyone Summer School repertoire, so if you’re coming to that, do come along and listen to the treats in store for you in August. Book your tickets for the concert here. Tickets will also be available on the door.