Portsmouth Festival Choir: New Year, New Maestro, New Music

Portsmouth Festival Choir will be starting rehearsals for its next concert, this coming Monday 7th January.

Its new conductor, Ben Lathbury, has devised an unusual and interesting concert for its next performance, which will take place at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Fawcett Road on Saturday 16th March.

The major work will be the Solemn Mass by French composer Vierne. This was written to be accompanied by two pipe organs. However, on the advice of his teacher Widor, Vierne adapted his work for one organ. The organ will be played on this occasion by brilliant local organist Mark Dancer, who is also the Festival Choir’s assistant musical director. The beautiful organ at the Church of the Holy Spirit will be perfect for this exciting work.

In addition the concert will feature several works by Charles Villiers Stanford: his Three Motets, the soaringly beautiful Blue Bird, and a very dramatic piece Lo I Raise Up. In similar vein is Haydn’s A crazed and hopeless passion invades our minds.

The choir is much looking forward to learning and practising this innovative programme of music.

New members are always welcome to come along and give the choir a try. It meets at Portsmouth Academy in St Mary’s Road, Fratton PO1 5PF every Monday from 7 p.m. to 9.15. Music is provided on loan.

For more information see www.portsmouthfestivalchoir.co.uk.

Pictured: Ben Lathbury and Mark Dancer, conductor and organist.

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