Plans for 2014 and beyond

Nick Houghton Octet
Nick Houghton Octet
Photo of the Nick Houghton Octet by Rob Orchard

Happy New Year!

It’s been a lovely Christmas season from a concert point of view, and although we weren’t officially performing Nick did form up a vocal ‘octet’ to sing at the biennial Amnesty International Benefit Concert, ‘In the bleak Midwinter’, at St John’s Sub Castro in Lewes just before Christmas. The event was organised by Liz Taylor and Roger Fenn and was a terrific success, raising thousands for Amnesty and the Philippines appeal. We really enjoyed performing – above is a pic of us singing ‘The Three Kings’ (Cornelius) with Andrew Robinson doing a brilliant job on the solo, showing no nerves – even though there were several high profile professional basses in the audience including Sir John Tomlinson!

Also exciting on the run up to Christmas has been sales of our CD, which has been flying out of the Tourist Information Office apparently – thank you to everyone who’s buying it!

Planning for the Lewes Singers is tricky – all our members have ‘regular’ choirs they sing with, and not always just one. Plus full and busy lives! So it’s a fine balance of setting up dates far enough in advance and hoping that other local choirs and event planners are prepared to communicate and compromise from time to time.

We usually (just about) manage it. But asking people to commit to rehearsal dates a year in advance doesn’t mean that things won’t come up that take precedence – illness, a family event etc. So this year we’re aiming to increase our ‘pool’ of singers, in order to take the pressure off regular members and also allow us to plan events with confidence.

So far there are two 2014 dates to save: Saturday 20th September and Sunday 21st December. Both concerts will be in Lewes, and the September date will include the exciting In the beginning by Aaron Copland and Gerald Finzi’s marvellous Lo, the full, final sacrifice. The December date will be our first dedicated ‘Christmas’ concert. As well as some lovely carols & motets (well known and less well known), expect also Poulenc’s atmospheric Soir de Neige.

We seem to have set yet another trend in the last couple of years: namely the 6pm concert start time. The first time we did this it was considered a risk. And yet now it seems to be de rigueur for quite a few choirs.

As regards cathedral visits, we don’t have any dates this year (so many choirs competing for the pleasure!) but visits to Canterbury and Winchester are on the cards for 2015 and beyond. More updates to come.

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