A couple of years ago I blogged about Voces Cantabiles a choir run by the two sons of a couple who attend St James who played a couple of concerts for the Church, the second of which ended up being by candlelight thanks to a power cut. The choir has gone from strength to strength winning a number of prizes around the world. They also have a smaller ensemble known as Voces8 consisting of just eight singers who have won awards in their own right. Digging around on YouTube I found that they now have their own channel where they are steadily uploading examples of their performances, and showing their range. Everything from this performance of The Lamb by John Taverner – something that I know from experience is fiendishly difficult. At the other end of the spectrum you have their latest video – â€œI’m a Trainâ€?.
WINNERS! Voces Cantabiles have just returned from Italy as winners of the 44th International Choral Grand Prix in Gorizia, Italy. The choir entered six catagories, and won a total of eight awards. First places were gained in the areas of Polyphonic music written for double choir, performances of music by Stanford, Parry and Harris, Jazz sung by the Corporate Entertainment group, and an award from the Public for ‘best choir’. To top off a fantastic week, Artistic Director of Voces Cantabiles Music, Barnaby Smith, won two awards for the most artistic programme, and best director. The success of the choir’s week abroad can be measured by the amount of invitations back to the continent that have been received.
Many congratulations to Barney, Paul and the choir, and we wish them much success int the future. Hopefully they’ll find space to fit St James in again at some point in the choirs packed schedule.
So after our youth service last night we were back at St James for music of a different kind, a concert by Voces Cantabiles, a well regarded choir that was formed in 2003, drawn from a variety of musical institutions around the country.
If you take a look at their list of concerts on their website, you’ll see that St James is in amongst some fairly illustrious company, indeed from St James the choir are going to compete in the International Choral Grand Prix in Italy. So how come such an acclaimed choir were performing in a small Berkshire church on a Monday night?
The link is through Barney and Paul Smith, who lead the choir. Although they have sung in many cathedrals, their parents live in the village and come to St James. Both Barney and Paul helped out the St James choir when we were without a Director of Music, and on special occasions, indeed every so often when Barney or Paul are around on a Sunday, the harmony lines of the Church Choir are augmented by the two of them.
Anyway, as a result, they have been using the Church to practice, and in return they gave us a concert to raise money for the restoration. Sadly as it was on a Monday a number of people couldn’t make it. Plus since the power had failed in part of the village, the concert was by candlight too. However it was an excellent occasion, and as with their previous concert for us we feel honoured to have them sing at St James.
Thoughts from, and the lives of a Canadian and a Brit living in the UK.