New Sussex Singers offer music from Britain and beyond at St Wilfrid’s

New Sussex Singers

New Sussex Singers

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The New Sussex Singers are set to entertain audiences at St Wilfrid’s Church, Haywards Heath, on Saturday, September 19.

This will be the last of the venue’s 150th Anniversary Summer Concerts.

Under Alex Roose, the choir’s newly appointed music director, the singers aim to provide an eclectic blend of the well loved and the less familiar from Britain and beyond.

The choir, who rehearse in Haywards Heath and Lewes, have charmed audiences in the USA, France and Germany. Now with about 20 voices, they began in 1982 as an octet drawn from members of New Sussex Opera (hence their name) and have gone from strength to strength.

They will catch the seasonal mood with some Last Night of the Proms favourites, including Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 – ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, which won a double encore at its first Prom in 1901, and Arne’s ‘Rule Britannia’. Other familiar British music will include Parry’s ‘I Was Glad’ and John Rutter’s arrangement of the traditional Somerset folk song, ‘O Waly Waly’, made famous by contralto Kathleen Ferrier in the 1940s.

Though this summer’s weather has been a disappointment, the choir will raise hopes for a better one in 2016 with a medieval chart-topper, ‘Sumer is icumen in’.

Balancing this patriotic element, the New Sussex Singers will also draw on continental traditions, performing Faure’s exquisite ‘Cantique de Jean Racine’, Bruckner’s ‘Locus Iste’ and ‘Ubi Caritas’ by contemporary Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo.

Tippett’s arrangement of ‘Steal Away Jesus’ and Moses Hogan’s ‘There’s a balm in Gilead’ will reflect the choir’s transatlantic dimension.

However, this concert, which for variation offers an organ solo, the Sortie in E flat major by Lefebure-Wely, has a central core of music as English as the church in which it is being sung and a variety of moods and genres as diverse as our weather. Purcell’s ‘Dido’s Lament’, Handel’s ‘Hallelujah’ chorus and Grainger’s ‘Brigg Fair’ should satisfy most musical tastes.

The performance starts at 7pm.

Tickets are available for £10 (accompanied under-18s £2) on the night, at services at St Wilfrid’s or from the Parish Office, St Wilfrid’s Way (open 9.30am to 11am Tuesday to Friday, 01444 412339).

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