The Cathedral Choir has a long history of joining up with the Anglican Choir of St Mary’s in the Lacemarket. We have fond memories of performing major works like the Brahms’ Requiem (2010), Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius (2012), and more recently, the Monteverdi Vespers (2017).
As our respective Directors of Music (John Keys and Alex Patterson) both serve as Trustees of the Albert Hall’s Binns Organ, the choirs collaborated once more in a rousing programme of music to celebrate the centenaries of two composer’s deaths - that of Hubert Parry and Lili Boulanger - and also to commemorate the end of the First World War.
The programme included a wealth of music by Parry - I was glad, Blest pair of sirens, Jerusalem (with audience participation) and extracts from his Songs of Farewell: ‘My soul, there is a country’, ‘Never, weather-beaten sail’ and ‘There is an old belief’. Choral Scholar Grace Bale gave a performance of Pie Jesu by Lili Boulanger and the choir performed lesser known works by George Dyson and Roger Quilter.
When were you a choral scholar?
From September 2013 to June 2014, during my gap year.
What did you get out of the choral scholarship experience?
Amongst the wealth of benefits, I have to pick the massive increase in my sight-reading ability, the huge range of repertoire I sang over the year and wonderful social life within the choir! Moreover, the opportunity to perform in a variety of concerts and different performance situations. It was a vital part of my musical and social development!
Tell us about any musical highlights
A particular highlight of mine was the joint performance of Duruflé Requiem with St Barnabas and St Mary’s Choir and the Orchestra of the Restoration, performing the mezzo-soprano solo, as it was my first time performing as a soloist with choir and orchestra. It was so exciting to not only stand up in front of a large audience and perform such beautiful music, but to also see my name, picture and biography featured in the programme! Other highlights included the BBC Radio Nottingham Christmas Broadcast in 2013, the Cathedral Flower and Music Festival and performing Britten’s Hymn to St Cecilia, which is a piece that has really resonated with me!
What have you been up to following your time at the Cathedral?
I studied Music at the University of York from 2014-17 and had the time of my life performing a huge variety of choral, operatic and contemporary music! I was a founding member of the York based Aspect Opera, performing Britten’s chamber operas The Rape of Lucretia and Albert Herring. I was an Alto Scholar with Genesis Sixteen from 2016-17, the training scheme run by The Sixteen’s Harry Christophers and Eamonn Dougan. Furthermore, since graduating I have been working as a Freelance Soloist and spending a year as a Fellow of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, receiving top quality training in performance and music education, alongside performing as an octet at various events, such as the London A Cappella Festival.
What does the future hold?
In September 2018, I shall begin my studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland on the MMus Performance Course, where I shall continue my studies to become an opera singer and hone my craft.