AMBITIOUS plans for an enormous chorus for the region have been announced by Mark Andrew James, founder and music director of the Sussex Symphony Orchestra.
When Mark set up the SSO in 1993, the country was experiencing the worst recession since the Second World War. Many people thought he was mad, Mark recalls.
“How wrong they were, as the orchestra has gone on to be described as one of the best of its type in the country and plays to such a standard to rival many full-time professional orchestras. The orchestra is often complimented on its dynamism and passion in performance.
“So, here we are then, enduring another deep recession and guess what – there is another huge organisation being formed, The Southern Festival Chorus.
“This chorus is the brainchild of Rosemary Pardey, who is often to be found singing in the region’s finest choirs and ensembles and who has more get up and go than many half her age.”
Mark added: “The idea is simple and promises to be a winner for the region. Singers from all over the country are invited to become members of the chorus to perform large-scale works at premier venues, both at home and abroad, coached to an extremely high standard over two intensive weekends, resulting in excellent performances.”
The chorus master for this new group is baritone and current chorus master of the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, Gavin Carr. Mark will be the music director.
Mark added: “We would like to stress that this chorus is not being created in competition or as a rival to others in the area, but merely to enhance still more the cultural opportunities of the region and give people opportunities they might not otherwise have to perform enormous works
“To sharpen your appetite still further, the chosen work for this debut concert is the enormous Grande Messe Des Morts by Hector Berlioz, a work so huge that it is seldom performed, as it is scored for an orchestra of nearly 150 players, including sixteen timpani, four brass bands, quadruple winds and massive string sections, and so this is an unrivalled opportunity for enthusiastic singers everywhere to become involved.
“The goal is to create a chorus of 200 singers. Each singing member is asked to complete an application form, which has all the details of the concert and pay £40 towards the costs of mounting such an enormous event – a very small price to pay considering the experience and possibilities for the future.”
Choir rehearsals will be held on March11/12/13 and 18 at Hove Park School, and the concert is on March 19 next year. More details and application forms can be downloaded from the chorus web site at www.southernfestivalchorus.org.uk or contacting Rosemary at 07974 708728.
“Do consider becoming involved in one of the most exciting ventures for a long, long time which we know will be a demanding but also incredibly fulfilling and rewarding experience.”