Face the Music with Hope!

Our highly talented Musical Director, Stephen Hope, will ‘Face the Music with Hope’!  This is a clever, funny and enjoyable charity musical evening with Stephen himself at the piano to play some ‘different’ versions of well-known pieces as well as showing off his dexterity at the keyboard.  It starts at 7.30pm on 21st October at our Holy Trinity Church Hall venue (SS15 5AD) with all proceeds going to St Luke’s Hospice, Basildon.  It’s £10 a ticket – with a glass of wine or juice and nibbles included – a bargain! And you are supporting a worthy, well loved, local charity.  For tickets ring 01268 450421.

Face the music Nov 17

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“I’m so pleased that I found Basildon Choral”

Reaction to our recent Carol Concert

Our newest member writes:

As Christmas 2016 was approaching, I finally made the decision to fulfil my wish to sing Christmas carols in a choir. I’m so pleased that I found Basildon Choral Society, who have openly welcomed and supported me, whilst omitting any judgemental auditions.
Albeit a little nervous before and during their annual Christmas Carol Concert, I was assured by the conductor’s, Stephen Hope, professionalism and followed experienced fellow soprano’s lead, which undoubtedly made for a most wonderful experience for me.
At the end of the concert, receiving a standing ovation from the audience was recognition that I am part of a group who are sharing happiness and joy to all who were present and I am truly humbled.
I’m looking forward participating in future events with Basildon Choral Society, that include a variety of great music including sacred, popular, folk and songs from shows.

And two members of the audience said:

What a wonderful sound you all made tonight, the acoustics, the choir and the organ, quite stunning plus the lovely readings. My friends and I just loved it. Will be very interested in the Mozart in April.

The concert, choir and acoustics were wonderful, the sound resonated! It’s the best Christmas concert I’ve heard and it was good to hear some new pieces too. The conductor obviously gets the best from the choir and I can tell he wants perfection! I belong to the Eastwood Chorale and I’m keen to join for the Come and Sing Mozart Requiem on 8th April.

 

Basildon Choral’s search for new voices

Do you enjoy a good sing? Did you used to sing in a choir once upon a time? How about trying it again?

There’s some great singing going on here in Basildon. Basildon Choral is a friendly, successful chorus that welcomes new singers. No experience necessary, just an interest in music and singing in particular.

Our newest recruits are all very positive about their time with the choir.

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From the left – Jill, John, Ben, Katie, Michelle and Theresa.

Ben – ‘I never thought I could sing until a friend told me I could and gave me the confidence to join in.’

Michelle – ‘I was a bit apprehensive at first and thought perhaps it wasn’t for me but I stuck with it and now I LOVE it!’

John – ‘I used to sing in a choir when I was younger and missed it. Now I’ve started singing again – it’s great!’

Katie – ‘I was bored and looking for something to do. I knew I liked to sing and looked on the internet. Choir nights are the highlight of my week.’

 Jill and Theresa found us on the internet too – just like Katie. Why don’t you?  Hear what we sound like. Find out about the kind of stuff we sing and what we get up to! (We are also on ‘Streetlife’!)

Going along to something new for the first time is not easy, so feel free to contact us and we will make sure to help you feel welcome. (Jean 01268 282575 jeanb13@btinternet.com, Steve 01268 545907 stephennice1@gmail.com, Jen 01268 410844 jen1@f2s.com).

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We rehearse at 7.45pm on Wednesdays at Langdon Hills Methodist Church, Emmanuel Rd, Langdon Hills, Basildon. SS16 6EX. No commitment necessary. Just come along and listen then perhaps give it a try. We’d love to see you.

‘Organathon’ for Hospices

China Trek Bas

Stephen Hope, Musical Director of Basildon Choral Society for the past 25 years is attempting to break his own record for raising money for the Hospice Movement.

Up to now Stephen has raised over £71,000 for Hospices in the South East. He is now attempting to boost that amount by a considerable amount.

Part of his efforts this summer include an Organathon in Basildon’s St Martin’s Church in the town centre. On Saturday 18th June, Stephen will be playing a nine hour organ recital – from 9am to 6pm!

So please drop into the church at any time and listen as Stephen sets himself this mammoth musical challenge. He will be playing popular works by Bach, Stainer, Howells, Brahms and many more.

Why not come along, make a donation, buy a cake or cup of tea, relax and enjoy the music while (at the same time) raising money for St Luke’s Hospice and St Raphael’s Hospice in Cheam?

(Cream teas are also available if booked in advance on 07770 392067.)

There is a further challenge that Stephen has set himself this year. Between the 8th and 17th of September he will be walking the Great Wall of China to raise even more money!

Not only a gifted musician,  Stephen is also a tireless supporter of the Hospice Movement.

Evening Echo letter – praise for Messiah

Some excellent feedback from one of our audience at the Messiah on 16th April, in a letter published in the Basildon Evening Echo on Friday 22nd April:

Messiah Evening Echo 22 April 2016

Handel, ‘The Messiah’, and the Foundling Hospital

Contributed by Colin Alderman

The next time you are looking for a good music question for a quiz, try this; apart from The Messiah, in which choral work does the world-famous Hallelujah Chorus appear? The answer is the Foundling Hospital Anthem, or ‘Blessed Are They That Consider The Poor’, as it is also known.  That the most famous chorus in British, and possibly all, choral music should be included in a piece written to raise funds for the new Foundling Hospital is entirely appropriate. For without the Foundling Hospital, Handel’s masterpiece would probably have vanished into the musical history books with so much of Handel’s work.

 

 It can be said with little fear of contradiction that the German-born musician and composer, George Frideric Handel, was and remains one of Britain’s favourite composers. Yet his popularity today is based mainly on only two of his many works, the orchestral ‘Water Music’ and the choral masterpiece, ‘The Messiah’. The latter was first performed in Dublin on April 13th 1742 in the Musick Hall, a benefit concert to raise funds for the Dublin debtors’ prison and hospital. It proved popular on its first appearance but this was not to last.

 

Today we tend to think of Messiah as a religious work but that was not Handel’s intention. He wrote it as an oratorio, a dramatic piece which just happened to be retelling a Bible story. Handel had written and performed several of these before, based mainly on stories from the Old Testament. Messiah was  his first and only oratorio based on the New Testament  and the performers are commentators on the story, not participants in it. The nature of the work made some people uneasy as it was designed to be performed in a theatre, not a church. So concerned was Handel about upsetting the audience that for The London premiere in the Covent Garden Theatre the title of The Messiah was dropped!

 

The 1743 London opening was not a success and The Messiah was, at this point, destined for a dusty shelf life of obscurity. However, whilst Handel had been writing the work, a new building was arising in what was to become known as Bloomsbury. The building of the Foundling Hospital and the charity to run it was the creation of one of the most remarkable men of Georgian England, Thomas Coram. A retired ship builder and sea captain, Coram and his wife had been horrified on their return to London to find so many babies abandoned in the streets, their bodies on the garbage heaps, and floating in the drains and tributaries of the Thames. For 17 years Coram walked the streets of London, knocking on the doors of the wealthy privileged and influential and by 1742 work was underway. With a Royal Charter granted by King George II in 1739,  there would now be a place for mothers, often unmarried and young, to hand over their children for care and education.

 

Handel had been a generous donor to charities throughout his life and, perhaps inspired by the example of the painter William Hogarth, a Governor of the Foundling Hospital, offered to conduct a benefit concert in the newly-built chapel at the Foundling Hospital in May 1749. For this he composed a new work, the Foundling Hospital Anthem, which was mainly constituted of extracts from earlier pieces. It ended with the Hallelujah Chorus, lifted intact from the Messiah, a work which would have been known to hardly any of the audience. So successful was this concert, both musically and in terms of the finance raised for the Foundling Hospital, that Handel donated an organ to the chapel and returned to conduct the following year.

 

This time, however, Handel chose to perform The Messiah. It was the first time this work, never intended as devotional religious music, had been performed inside a church. This performance was so successful that he repeated it just two weeks later because some wealthy patrons had not been able to buy tickets for the first performance.  Handel became a Governor of the Foundling Hospital, alongside Hogarth, and he conducted The Messiah every year in the Hospital Chapel until his death in 1759. Even then the good work continued as Handel bequeathed a “fair copy” of the score so that the Foundling Hospital could continue to raise money after his death. The copy of the score, and Handel’s Will, can be seen today at the Foundling Museum, adjacent to the site of the hospital and chapel which, sadly, were demolished following its closure in 1926.

 

Without doubt, the charitable performances of The Messiah at the Foundling Hospital imprinted the work firmly in the minds of the music-going public, where it has remained ever since. The Messiah, written for a small choir of 16 or so singers and an orchestra of 40, is now performed all over the world, year after year, by amateur and professional choirs and orchestras of much larger dimensions. It has even developed its own peculiar ritual, with the audience standing during the Hallelujah Chorus, because George II stood up for no apparent reason during one concert. This is not popular with all though, and the music writer Arthur Jacobs wrote,  “The custom of the audience standing in the Hallelujah Chorus is now a gesture which merely encourages the bad habit of counting a performance of The Messiah as a quasi-religious rite”.

 

For most of us though, singers, musicians and audiences alike, the joy of The Messiah is in the glorious music that Handel has left us. And if by doing so we remember the continuing plight of children all over the world, I can’t help thinking that Handel would be rather pleased!

Come and Sing Messiah with us!

Basildon Choral Society, together with the Sinfonia da Chiesa and soloists, is performing the Messiah on Saturday 16th April at St. Martin’s Church in Basildon Town Centre. Would you like to join with us to sing this thrilling work?

If so:-

Please join us at the morning Workshop on that day at Langdon Hills Methodist Church, Emmanuel Rd, Langdon Hills, Basildon. SS16 6EX.

  • Registration at 10.30 am for an 11am start, continuing until 1.15pm.
  • Followed by an afternoon rehearsal at St. Martins at 3pm.
  • The performance begins at 7.45pm.
  • Fee for visiting singers is £15.

You would also be very welcome at any of our regular Wednesday evening rehearsals leading up to the concert.

If you are interested please don’t hesitate to let us know – then we can plan ahead. Also, for any further information about rehearsal times, concert dress, hire of music etc. – please contact:

Jen – 01268 410844  jen1@f2s.com

Jean –   01268 282575  jeanb13@btinternet.com

A feast of music and food!

Last Saturday (Bistro -style concert, 20th February 2016) was a thoroughly enjoyable evening for BCS audience and singers alike. Well known music and popular songs from the shows were sung with vigour and enthusiasm led by Stephen Hope, the choir’s exacting musical director. It was very well received by the audience as was the buffet meal of wondrous proportions that followed, prepared and served by choir members. A raffle was held which added to the delights of the evening.  For a first attempt at such an event the comments were so positive and encouraging that it is highly likely another similar event would be welcomed and well supported.

Concert – Bistro Style: 20th February SOLD OUT

 

SOLD OUT – Sorry no tickets available on the door

Bistro concert v2

A concert of light music to brighten dark winter nights with food and drink at the table.  Music features a selection of Simon and Garfunkel hits, folk songs and excerpts from Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. It takes place at Holy Trinity Church Hall, Basildon, SS15 5AD, starting at 7.30pm on Saturday 20th February 2016.  All tickets are £12 inclusive of light supper with wine or juice.

 

 

Last night …. (the carol concert)

Some of the audience reaction:

‘Just to say the singing (and organ playing) was utterly sublime. We thoroughly enjoyed the performance and being part of it. Fantastic’ – L&KW, Basildon

‘Wow! What a great evening. I must come to the Messiah’ (Saturday 16th April 2016)

‘Absolutely lovely. Beautiful singing, we really enjoyed it.’ – G&LW, Cornwall

‘The matin responsary was amazing.’ SJ&VH, Wickford

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