2014 – January to July

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Quire began the new year with a flurry of extra rehearsals for the smaller groups and a challenging set of rehearsals for main choir. There was to be a change of emphasis from the fairly low-key music in the Miracle Play at Christmas to a very intense concert with an almost political fervor to champion Justice and Peace. This was to take place at Lion Walk Church in March and hard on the heels of that concert, the two small groups – Octavia and Towering Angels were to present a programme of European traditional music – the Popular Tradition – a celebration of love drink and rebellion – in early April.

Much of this material would be new and so additional rehearsals were held in Colchester for Octavia and at St Mary’s Peldon for Towering Angels. In the event, we had joint rehearsals at the Headgate Theatre too.

The concert on March 28th was a great success with Dorian Kelly adding visual back projections to illustrate the theme in the Justice and Peace concert – from the incessant fire of the guns in the song to commemorate the ‘disappeared’ of Chile, to the pictures of the homeless in ‘All you who pass this way, look and see’. The great and good of the Colchester ‘left’ were there, which was a first for us.

The Arts Centre staff rallied round as ever to provide excellent technical support for the concert on April 10th. A good audience heard a range of songs in The Popular Tradition from drinking songs of Purcell’s time, eastern European songs (which we first heard in the workshop visits of Northern Harmony), French sea shanties (thanks to Gwendal for pointing us in this direction) and the lovely opening music from the Disney Cartoon ‘Frozen’ which is a Yoik – a traditional song from the Saami people of Lapland.

Now we are furiously at work for the summer – we will attend the singing event in London for community choirs called Sangerstevne (where we can recap some of our recent African and Gospel music). Then we are recording in St Botolph’s for two days to hopefully make enough tracks for our fourth CD – provisionally titled ‘Revelation’. It is just possible that the two small groups might be able to lay down tracks for a projected CD of their music.

There will be our 10th Anniversary Concert on Friday June 27th at St Botolph’s, and the term will be complete with Stars and Stripes – a concert by the small groups for the Alresford Festival on Wednesday July 2nd.

Then it will be the summer break – and after all that rehearsing and singing we will have earned it!

Bill Tamblyn