My choir’s recent concert featured a number of jazz and gospel works, and as part of the programme pianist Ben Saul played some Aaron Copeland and George Gershwin pieces. He also came to one of our rehearsals in the week leading up to the performance to run through the pieces he was accompanying the choir in.
This Ben Saul seemed a rather personable fellow so I introduced myself after the rehearsal to see if he would mind being photographed by me for our Twitter page. I also enquired if he was on Twitter and for once the answer was yes. This answer greatly pleased me as I could now tag him in LCS tweets, excellent! The 21st Century does exist in the choral world!
So I tagged him in a few tweets, as well as messaging him on my own Twitter account, and found out that Ben also runs scratch choirs from time to time. His next event was to be a rehearsal and performance of Gabriel Faure’s Requiem at a church where he runs a Girl’s Choir in central London.
The Requiem was to be performed to raise funds for the charity Unlimited Partnership who run micro-financing projects in Sierra Leone. It was also a lovely opportunity to sing a piece LCS had performed in 2010. I loved singing Faure’s Requiem last year, it is so beautiful, and so I was really excited to spend a Saturday singing. Ben is also great fun so I knew I was in for a good day. :).
The venue we rehearsed and performed in was St. Andrew by the Wardrobe which is just by Blackfriars Bridge, a stone’s throw from St. Paul’s Cathedral – and The Church of Scientology. What a mix!
Ben conducting and not speaking for once. He tells so many many many stories and musical in-jokes that I am just not cool enough to understand. ;).
We rehearsed and performed in the upstairs of the church, we didn’t even go into the main body of the building. It was a bit odd to look and not touch but it was a wonderful view to look down on. The church is covered in gorgeous wooden panelling, absolutely beautiful.
The singer with glasses is Ben McAteer who sang the baritone solos, such a lovely gorgeous voice. I found this about him online if you happen to be in County Antrim in September!
Told you it was beautiful. The main access to the church is up a grand set of stairs from Queen Victoria Street, but you can walk all the way round the church to see different angles and the lovely glass window behind the altar. The entrance round the back on St. Andrew’s Hill has a lovely set of wonky stone steps to go up too.
Also singing a solo was Max Thorpe, a thirteen-year old boy soprano from one of Ben’s youth choirs’. He sang the Pie Jesu solo.
Poor photo I know, it does not do the church interior justice.
Organist Jonathan Eyre and Ben.
This Requiem is so beautiful and moving, LCS’ conductor Dan Ludford-Thomas loves giving music space to breathe and it was a pleasure to experience the same with Ben. The random mix of thirty or so singers (from Faversham Choral Society and The Hackney Singers mainly, I was the only one representing LCS) were all very welcoming and knowledgeable about this piece and I had the added fun of sitting with five girls from the Church’s girls choir. I felt very grown up helping them with what we were singing, even when I didn’t know the whole piece myself that well! :D. And I had a bloody frog in my throat for the whole rehearsal!
I had such a lovely day, and as the boyfriend had an awful hangover I am really glad I was not at home to experience his pathetic behaviour (hahaha). I instead raised a bit of cash for charity and had a lovely time in a beautiful building in The City – I love the square mile.
Roll on the next scratch choir!