Preview: Mass of the Children is Maestro’s Portsmouth Swansong

Tom Neal’s final concert as conductor of Portsmouth Festival Choir will take place at Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral on Saturday 2nd June. The talented young conductor and composer is leaving Portsmouth to take up the post of Head of Music at the prestigious choir school of New College, Oxford. New College Choir is internationally renowned for its award-winning performances of great choral works.

The Choir are impressed that Tom has been offered this wonderful opportunity, but very sorry to lose him after such a short time. “We cannot begrudge him this great career move, but wish he could have stayed with us longer” said a spokesman.

Tom’s final concert will be a performance of John Rutter’s Mass of the Children. This delightful piece has an integral role for a children’s choir alongside the adult mixed choir and two soloists. The children’s choir adds a further dimension to the traditional Latin Mass. The children sometimes sing in Latin, and sometimes sing well-known childhood melodies. The work ends with a fervent prayer for peace.

Portsmouth Festival Choir will be joined for this work by the choir of Castle Primary School Portchester. Under its director, Andrew Jackson, it has made a considerable name for itself working with other adult choirs and has recently appeared at the Royal Albert Hall. Both choirs will be performing works on their own as well as singing Mass of the Children together.

As well as appearing as baritone soloist in the Rutter Mass, Hugo Herman-Wilson will perform Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs with the Festival Choir.

Tickets for the concert, which starts at 7.30 p.m. on Saturday 2nd June at Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral, are available online from or from the Cathedral bookshop at £12 and £10. Students and accompanied under 18’s free.

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