Details of our past performances
Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, December 2019
What could be a better way to embrace the Christmas season than with a festival of nine lessons and carols in the candlelit church of St Mary Magdalene in Whatlington, led by the Whatlington Singers under their inspirational conductor, Liz Bryson.
For those of us lucky enough to be present – the Church was literally packed to the rafters – we were treated to some heavenly singing of some traditional and not-so -traditional carols. Although this was not a performance as such, praise must be heaped on Jasmine Gould who opened the proceedings with a pitch perfect rendition of Once in Royal David’s City which set the tone for what was to come. This was shortly followed by the rich tenor voice of Adam Shoesmith in the Harold Darke version of In the Bleak Midwinter. The Carol of the Bells was a particular highlight. Not always an easy rhythmic tune to master, it had that innocent quality to it, heralding the Christmas season and was sung exquisitely.
The choir is enormously lucky to have the patronage of the international opera singer, Louise Winter, who lives locally. She was accompanied by the choir in Oh Holy Night and in Peter Cornelius’ majestic Three Kings from Persian Lands Afar – often and perhaps usually sung with a tenor soloist but which worked magically with Louise’s rich tones.
Congregational carols with soaring descants ensured everyone felt a part of the proceedings and the evening was polished off with helpings of figgy pudding from the traditional song, We Wish you A Merry Christmas.
The Whatlington Singers are a young choir only recently formed in 2018. It is a great credit to the leadership and singers themselves that it is able to achieve such a high standard. It shines through that it is a happy band of musicians who enjoy making music together.
Festival of Light, December 2019
Whatlington Singers took part in the Festival of Light and Love, hosted annually by St Michael’s Hospice. We sang two pieces and joined in the congregational singing at Ninfield Church.
Battle Festival, 11th October 2019, Songs through Time, in conjunction with Battle Community Choir
It was great to see a good audience for the first concert performance of Whatlington Singers at Battle Church as part of the 2019 Battle Festival. The choir shared the event with Battle Community Singers, who performed for the first half, and later the two choirs came together for a rousing sea shanty finale.
Whatlington Singers was formed just over a year ago and the choir displayed no nerves with polished performances of Vivaldi’s Gloria and Offenbach’s Barcarolle to begin their half of the concert. Under the guidance of their Director of Music, Liz Bryson, and with masterclasses from their President, the opera singer Louise Winter, this is a choir on a mission to improve voices, diction and musical interpretation and the hard work certainly shows. I thought the choir was an absolute joy to listen to, their harmonising was exquisite and with such clarity from each section.
They also proved they could sing music of every genre including a brilliant rendition of ‘The Rhythm of Life’ from the musical ‘Sweet Charity’, a beautiful performance of ‘How lovely is thy dwelling’ from the Brahms ‘German Requiem’ and created an exquisite sound, acapella, with the haunting Kate Rusby song ‘Underneath the stars’ where the tenors, all too often the weakness in a choir, showed great vocal confidence and produced a fine sound. Other voices were somewhat outnumbered (but not overwhelmed) by the sopranos but no doubt in time the sections will become more balanced as the choir grows.
As a ‘Keane’ fan, the surprise of the evening, from this choir of essentially choral singers, was their performance of the ‘Keane’ hit song ‘Sovereign Light Café, what a treat! The work had been specially arranged for them by Tom Rice-Oxley, brother of the composer Tim, who congratulated them on their performance, adding that it was “not the easiest of arrangements”. They ended with a moving performance of ‘God so Loved the World’ from Stainer’s ‘The Crucifixion’. Certainly an evening of musical contrasts and I look forward to hearing more from this impressive new choir.
Songs for a Summer Evening, July 2019
Evensong, May 2019
Although we are not a church choir, we were delighted to be invited by Kevin, the vicar to perform a Choral Evensong in Whatlington Church. The programme included the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis by Thomas Tallis as well as Stainer’s God So Loved the World, sung unaccompanied. Performing this music allowed us to explore a new genre and to develop a clear sense of singing together and listening to other choir parts. The church was once again packed with a highly appreciative congregation for this very special evening.
Christmas Carols, December 2018
After the resounding success of our main concert for Remembrance Day 2018, we once again held a small informal concert of Christmas Carols to round off a wonderfully successful and inspirational inaugural year.
Concert of Remembrance, November 2018
“Impressive, a triumph, magical, terrific, moving” were some of the comments received from the audience which packed Whatlington Church on Saturday night for the sold out inaugural concert of the Whatlington Singers.
The choir delivered a superb concert of music relating to War, Peace and Reconciliation, interspersed with poems which echoed the themes of the music.
An ambitious programme for the choir, which was only formed a few months ago, was performed with confidence, clarity and enjoyment . This was enhanced by exquisite solos from Louise Winter, a well known local opera star and the choir’s President.
Liz Bryson conducted with inspiration and passion and Alison Boyd, as pianist, added a truly professional accompaniment, aided by Sarah Thomson on flute.
During the concert, which was narrated by Richard Maidment, we were treated to music from medieval France in L’Homme Armee through to modern day Mealor and Dylan, including pieces by Faure, Brahms, Rutter, Stanford and Lauridsen with poems from Sassoon, Kipling, Hardy and many others, read by Charlotte Moore and John Grieve.
Enthusiastic audience participation in Trench songs and Jerusalem concluded a truly remarkable, moving and unique evening, placing the Whatlington Singers firmly on the local cultural map.
The Big Sing, October 2018
We joined many varied choirs from across the area for a joyful day of music making in the beautiful surroundings of St Johns in St Leonards on Sea to help raise money for St Michaels Hospice. A short programme of well-polished, varied music was rounded off by joining all the other choirs in a rousing performance of excerpts from Handel’s Messiah.
July 2018 Songs for a summer evening
Our first real concert was to perform to family and friends in the church. A beautiful summer’s evening provided the perfect setting for our guests to enjoy a glass of wine while we warmed up, followed by a short recital of the pieces we had been practising in the few months since we had formed. The audience was highly appreciative of the interesting and varied repertoire and we valued the opportunity to
perform properly and deliver the music with energy and enthusiasm. Our President, Louise Winter commented on the huge improvements the choir had made under the expert leadership of Liz Bryson, who has led the choir to perform a wide range of styles with increasing confidence.