Archive for the ‘Barclays House Choir’ Tag

I was there!   Leave a comment

‘I was there’ is the title of a book by Mark Patyress that I was once given for Christmas. It documents past outstanding rock/pop concerts that people still talk about to this day.

On a much smaller scale, those are the terms I would use to describe a concert I attended last Saturday.

Now this wasn’t some rock extravaganza but the spring concert of Barclays House Choir, an amature choir that Margaret has been a member of since 2008. Of course I’ve attended all the bi-annual concerts that I could, but more out a sense of loyalty than music appreciation. My musical tastes are broad, but classical music is only lightly represented, and choral music hardly at all. In particular I find the hour-long requiems, which the choir always seems to chose for the spring concert, to be rather tedious.

Hearing that they were performing Mozart’s Requiem I wasn’t expecting much from the first half, especially as its sung in Latin and I had left my program, which provided a translation, at home. However the second part, a selection of opera classics was a revelation.


The choir at St Peter’s church, Parkstone, Poole taken at an earlier Christmas Concert.


Photo of the choir and orchestra just feet in front of me (taken with my phone).


A view a bit more to the right of the orchestra, I couldn’t photograph the orchestra any further to the left as I was so close that conductor Helen Brind obscured the view.


The soloists L-R Michael Dewis, Andrew Morris, Emily James and Caroline Thomas. Seated on the right is leader of the orchestra, Andrew Foot.


Opera, like choral music isn’t really my thing. I’ve only attended one or two operas and never listen to it at home. There are always one or two well known songs but these are islands in a sea of vocal extravaganza that I never understand at all, rather like listening to the Who’s famous rock-opera ‘Tommy’ and finding out that you really only like ‘Pinball Wizard’.

It was just these favourites that the choir, orchestra and four soloists performed; The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves from Nabucco by Verdi; Pearl Fisher’s Duet from the Pearl Fishers by Bizet; Habanera and Toreador’s Song from Carmen by Bizet; The Flower Duet from Lakme by Leo Delibes, Brindisi from La Traviata by Verdi; Anvil Chorus from ll Trovatore also by Verdi and Nessum Dorma from Trunadot by Puccini. (It’s telling that I had to use Google to find out which opera each of the songs was from and who the composer was and in the case of Leo Delibes – I had never heard of the composer previously).

The Barclays House Choir and St Peter’s Orchestra are of course amateurs, the soloists however are professional, they were Caroline Thomas (soprano), Emily James (alto), Andrew Morris (tenor) and Michael Dewis (baritone). Between rehearsals and the concert Margaret brought Andrew Morris back for dinner (other choir members did the same for the other soloists) and so I spent dinner chatting to this outstanding singer quite unaware at the time just how outstanding he was.

Well what of the performances? All were superb but special mention has to be made of Michael Dewis’ Toreador’s song and the finale Andrew Morris’ rendition of Nessum Dorma which received a standing ovation.

The orchestra and choir also performed wonderfully, I was in the front row just feet from the orchestra and the soloists. I was so pleased to witness such a great concert that should have been performed in a concert hall rather than hidden away in a local church. Shamefully the orchestra and choir almost outnumbered the audience, it is a real pity that such talent is not appreciated more widely.

Perhaps this will spur me on to attend some operatic concerts, I’ve clearly been missing out.

On a different subject you might be wondering what has happened to my regular updates about my birding, ringing and foreign travel. Well the truth is I’ve done so much this year that I have literally thousands of photos that I have yet to look at, let alone edit, label and select for the blog. I do hope to get round to it some time!

17th – 21st November 2016 – Margaret sings in Carnegie Hall, New York   Leave a comment

I have recently been in Peru and will post about that in due course, but whilst I was away Margaret had a trip to New York to sing in Carnegie Hall with some members of the Barclays House Choir (apparently I mustn’t forget the ‘s’ in Barclays but I can forget the apostrophe in Barclays’). DCINY were putting on the American debut of Howard Goodall’s ‘Eternal Light’ and invited choirs from the UK and beyond who had already performed this piece to perform. In the event there were 210 in the choir and the composer was in attendance.



Margaret was there for a couple of days before the performance, time to sightsee ….


…. the Statue of Liberty and ….


…. the 9/11 memorial ….

IMG_0187 NYC at night from the Top of the Rock

…. and the glorious New York skyline at night. The above three photos were taken on our visit to New York in June 2014, the following (except the shot of the concert) were taken on Margaret’s phone.


Margaret travelled to New York with her friend Ann, a fellow choir member and my former work colleague. The late autumn was rather colder than they expected.


Walking around the city they came across these strange statues ….


…. and a tunnel of Christmas lights


Passing the Trump Tower Margaret’s way was blocked by an anti-Trump protest. She asked a photographer how long the protest was going on for and was told ‘the next four years’ !


Times Square at night.

DCINY presents UK composer Howard Goodall’s Eternal Light: A Requiem led by Maestro Jonathan Griffith. Solo singers: Sarah Joy Miller - soprano, Scott Joiner - tenor, Steven Fddy - Baritone

DCINY presents UK composer Howard Goodall’s Eternal Light: A Requiem led by Maestro Jonathan Griffith. Solo singers: Sarah Joy Miller – soprano, Scott Joiner – tenor, Steven Eddy – Baritone. The official photograph of the concert. Hard to see at this scale but Margaret is 5th row back and second from the left.


After rehearsals the choir had their music sheets signed by Howard Goodall.