Calling all singers – join a choral workshop in Petersfield

Petersfield Musical Festival is hosting its 2023 choral workshop on Saturday 23 September directed by renowned choral conductor Jeremy Backhouse. The event, which will take place from 10.30-4.30 in the Methodist Church in Petersfield, is open to singers of all abilities and voice types and will feature songs by the popular contemporary British composer Bob Chilcott.

The workshop will explore Bob Chilcott’s Songbook, an anthology of varied and contrasting songs based on material as diverse as Japanese folk tales (Aka Tonbo), medieval poetry (the Lily and the Rose) and familiar classics like O Danny Boy. Chilcott comes from a tradition of Cathedral choristers and used to sing in the King’s Singers before turning to full-time composition. His music has been performed all over the world and frequently recorded and broadcast.

“In these kinds of workshops I’m always keen to take the singers well beyond simply learning the notes towards sharing my views on the music and communicating its emotion,” Backhouse said in an interview with PMF. “I hope it will be a balance of hard work and fun music-making!”

Backhouse, who has previously commissioned works by Chilcott, said he is a fantastic choral composer who achieves wonderful effects in a simple way. The Songbook consists of nine classic Chilcott songs including original pieces and arrangements of original material written over many years.

“The movements are varied: some are fast and others slow. Some are spirited, others are reflective. Some are folk songs from the four Nations, others are songs containing Native American and Japanese texts” Backhouse added.

Jeremy Backhouse is one of Britain’s leading choral conductors. He conducts the 140-strong Vivace Chorus in Guildford, and the Vasari Singers. Recent recordings with the Vasari Singers include the Vaughan Williams Five Mystical Songs with Roderick Williams, who also appears on their new CD of Christmas fun and festive carols, due for release next month.

Coffee and tea will be provided at the workshop, with ample parking in the nearby Petersfield Station car-park. The cost is £20 (£16 Festival concessions) to include refreshments and music hire. Students can attend free of charge. For further details of the workshop and how to book, please visit: petersfieldmusicalfestival.org.uk and follow the links.

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