Music in Chichester to mark "the most important week in the Christian calendar"

Jake
Jake

Chichester’s St Richard Singers are promising a selection of music celebrating “the most important week in the Christian calendar.”

As conductor Jake Barlow says, over the centuries Holy Week has given rise to some of the most intense, beautiful and contemplative music in the world. Jake will bring some of it together under the title O My People at St George’s Church, Whyke, Chichester, PO19 7AD on Saturday, April 6 at 7.30pm (tickets on srstickets@gmail.com or on the door).

“The concert is based loosely on the narrative of Holy Week which has given rise to some of the finest music ever conceived. I thought it would be nice to put it together in concert format.

“We have got music by Palestrina, by Edward Bairstow and by Michael Haydn, the younger and less famous brother of Joseph Haydn. And we also have some John Rutter. People know Rutter’s music as very popular during the Christmas season, but this is one of those Lenten works. It is very different in tone. It is a lot darker. It is a lot more serious. The piece is called O Lord Thou Hast Searched Me Out – a very different tone and completely appropriate for Lent. We also have The Reproaches by John Sanders, from which we have taken the name of the concert. It is a particularly-beautiful piece of music and perfect at this time of year. They were written in 1984 when Sanders was master of music at Gloucester Cathedral. He composed them in the mid-80s and they have been very popular since. He died in 2003.”

The concert comes with the choir in good heart and in good spirits: “This is the third of four concerts this season. We had our really successful Come and Sing Requiem back in November, and we do have another one in the planning. And then we did our Christmas concert as well, and the fourth concert will be for the Festival of Chichester which will be at the end of my second season with the choir.

“I am really enjoying it. I am having a great deal of fun. The choir continues to rise to all the challenges I put before them.”

And the exciting thing is that the choir’s Festival of Chichester concert (Rejoice! St George’s Church, Whyke, Saturday, July 6, 7.30pm) will be the launch of the choir’s 50th-anniversary season.

“We will be singing a concert filled with the music of praising and rejoicing through the ages. The concert will showcase some of the best festal music from the Renaissance to the 20th century.

“The choir was founded in 1970. 2020 will be our 50 years. We have an ambitious season planned for next year which will be formally launched at the festival concert. The festival has allowed us to be quite bold. We are putting on repertoire that people will feel that they don’t want to miss.”

The choir is in very good health as the anniversary approaches: “But the search for new members never stops, however. If people are interested in finding out what we do, they are always very welcome to reach out to us.”

Tickets for April 6 are £12, £5 (students), U18s free.

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