The Summer term is always a smaller event but often produces an excellent musical outcome and this year was no exception. At the suggestion of a choir member, we learned and performed The Revenge, a setting of a Tennyson poem by the Irish composer Charles Villiers Stanford. The work tells the story of a naval engagement in the late Elizabethan period between a Spanish squadron and a single English ship captained by Sir Richard Grenville. The forty singers who participated thoroughly enjoyed the work. Our concert was augmented by Stanford’s well-known part-song The Blue Bird and by solos from current and ex-UCS students of songs from Stanford’s Songs of the Sea. The concert held in the Music Lecture Theatre was attended by nearly 70 people who also enjoyed the choir’s traditional end of year Summer Party afterwards.
Simon reported back as follows:
l thought the concert went extremely well, it was as good an event as any of our summer concerts, jolly good fun repertoire for a bright summer evening, delivered with conviction. It was definitely an evening of wine, people and song, as it was followed by our fabulous annual outdoors party, overflowing with bonhomie – a chance to chat to all and learn what wonderful cooks you are also. Musically, it was really important that we had had such a good rehearsal on Wednesday, confident that we could sing it through, so that we could do lots of detailed work during the Saturday afternoon rehearsal: diction, articulation and dynamics particularly. This enabled us to bring out the considerable drama in the piece, which was clearly appreciated by the sizeable audience. We remain indebted to Tim Ward, UCS’s fabulous singing teacher, who prepared, or had taught, all of the young soloists, who were all current or former pupils of the school. It was great that they stayed for the party. I think it is also important for our community that two of our wonderful soloists have extremely strong family connections with the choir.