What a great day!
When one of our ensembles demonstrated the perils of singing at 8 in the morning when warming up it could have indicated it was all going to go wrong. Fortunately it just meant we got rid of one bit of rubbish singing before the competition started.
After Ian Assersohn had guided us through a proper warm-up we were ready to go. A morning of singing the competition pieces and passages proved highly successful.with some fine performances by all the choirs. The adjudicators listened, considered, made notes and at the end of the morning delivered their verdict.
We had done rather well. Our sopranos and altos delivered a fine performance of RVW’s Silent Noon to take the Upper Voices class. The piece for the Lower Voices class was a new commission for Leith Hill Musical Festival, A Poison Tree by Charles West and the consensus seemed to be that this was a particularly challenging piece. However, our tenors and basses rose to the challenge providing us with our first ever win in this class. It was very pleasing to receive congratulations from the composer.
For the Part Song class we had Samuel Barber’s Sure on this Shining Night, a beautiful piece. Again we won this class with a performance from memory.
We also won the Full Chorus class. We had done enough work on the Bach Magnificat to be able to cope and Awake the Harp from Haydn’s Creation is a joy to sing and hopefully it showed. In another hall our smaller ensembles sang well, but Beare Green & Newdigate took that class. They also took the Madrigal class with a fine performance. we also up against Buckland & Betchworth and Horsley.
We finished the morning with our own choice in the Open Class, A Birthday by Paul Burnell. We commissioned this piece last year for our 90th birthday. Again we were performing with the composer in attendance. We didn’t sing well enough to win this class, but it is fun to sing.
After and afternoon of rehearsal with orchestra and soloists we sang the evening concert. As always a real delight. The soloists were very good, the orchestra was brilliant and Jonathan Willcocks inspired us all. A joyful event, and Charles West, after handing out the trophies, reminded us all of the joy of singing and encouraged all to join a choir.
Well done to all who sang and a big thanks to all those who make the festival happen. We’ll be back again for more next year.