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Invitation to sing in Wells Cathedral - Poulenc Kodaly & Vaughan Williams
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Mar 18, 2008, 11:12 AM

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Invitation to sing in Wells Cathedral - Poulenc Kodaly & Vaughan Williams Can't Post


We would be pleased if you could join us for what promises to be a very special event and pass the details on to any members of your singing group (or any other good singers you know) who you think might like to join us for some exciting singing!


Somerset Chamber Choir ( are seeking to recruit extra voices to sing with us in our Summer concert in Wells Cathedral at 7pm on Saturday 2nd August 2008 with Southern Sinfonia ( We will be performing:

Poulenc's Gloria

Vaughan Williams' Dona nobis pacem, and

Kodaly's Psalmus Hungaricus (sung in Hungarian, for which coaching will be provided),

with three fine young soloists Charlotte Ellett (soprano), Andrew Staples (tenor), and Benedict Nelson (baritone).

We very much hope you will be interested in participating.

If your initial application is successful, you will be invited to sing with us for the first rehearsal (see dates below) and then be asked to attend a short post-rehearsal audition (singing a little of the music learned during the day, and a few basic listening and singing tests). Once you have passed this, we will ask you to contribute a participation fee of £25 (students £12.50). The choir produces a mostly non-vibrato sound, so this and/or an ability to blend well will be preferred. Whilst experienced singers would be particularly welcome, having a good voice will be more than half the battle! Naturally, we may need to limit applications in various parts, if necessary, for reasons of balance.

Rehearsals are mostly at weekends, except for one Friday rehearsal which would necessitate those in work taking a day's holiday. Full-time members of the choir commit to attending all rehearsals, but we appreciate that this is not always possible - therefore, you would be required to attend 75% of the first 4 rehearsals, and the rehearsals on 1st & 2nd August are obligatory.

Rehearsals are as follows:

Sat 29th March - Hambridge Village Hall - 10am to 5pm

Sun 30th March - Hambridge Village Hall - 10am to 5pm

Sat 26th July - Hambridge Village Hall - 10am to 5pm

Sun 27th July - Hambridge Village Hall - 10am to 5pm

Fri 1st August - Hambridge Village Hall - 10am to 5pm

Sat 2nd August - Wells Cathedral Music School (morning) & Wells Cathedral (1pm - 4pm) Concert 7pm

Who are we? We're lots of former members of Somerset Youth Choir plus many new faces too and the age range of the choir is now mainly 18 to 40. We have lots of fun at rehearsals, so laughter and singing are sure to be among your predominant memories - so get in touch and we hope to meet you soon!

Please apply online at, by 23rd March, via the "JOIN NOW" link on our website, selecting the 'temporary membership' option on the application form.


Deadline for applications has been extended to 2pm Friday 28th March - please apply online by following the 'join now' link at or by email to - we look forward to hearing from you soon!


A little more about the pieces to be sung follows


This exciting concert brings together three contrasting 20th-century masterpieces in a moving and life-affirming programme about the pursuit of freedom and peace on earth.

Kodály's Psalmus Hungaricus was commissioned in 1923 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the unification of the cities of Buda, Pest and Óbuda to create the Hungarian capital of Budapest. Kodaly was drawn to the text, a 16th century poem based on Psalm 55, because of the recent turmoil brought to his country by the First World War. This dramatic, folk-inspired work draws parallels between the sorrows of King David and the suffering of the people of Hungary, which was under Turkish occupation when the poem was written. Lavish orchestral writing, a thrilling role for solo tenor and dramatic choruses all combine to create one of the composer's most inspired works.

We mark the 50th anniversary of the death of that best-loved English composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams, with a performance of his intensely moving cantata, Dona nobis pacem, for soprano and baritone soloists, chorus and orchestra. The composer had served in the medical corps during the Great War, and this impassioned and eloquent plea for peace - an angry warning by a composer with a social conscience - was written in 1937 as Europe lurched towards another war. Vaughan Williams draws his texts from a rich variety of sources, including the American Civil War poetry of Walt Whitman and biblical texts - the phrase Dona nobis pacem ("Give us peace'') punctuates the entire piece.

Poulenc's Gloria, with its matchless tunes and unmistakable freshness, enjoyed immediate acclaim following its first performance in Boston in 1961 - it has remained a firm favourite with performers and audiences ever since. The arresting opening movement 'Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace to men of goodwill', with its brass fanfares and swirling ostinati, sets the almost irreverent tone for this joyful masterwork, and stunning soprano solos add an exciting extra dimension to the work. The composer's sense of humour - '..while writing it I had in mind those frescoes by Gozzoli where angels stick their tongues out at each other'- and his love of life, shine through in the exuberance of this wonderful music. So here, then, is the perfect piece for a summer evening - once described by Poulenc as "without question my best work".

(This post was edited by scchoir on Mar 26, 2008, 1:16 PM)


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