Our November concert – Saturday 21st November in Royston Parish Church, was our first under the baton of our award-winning new conductor, Andrew O’Brien
From the audience Aidan Baker writes:
'Royston Choral Society's new conductor, Andrew O'Brien, led his Heath Mount School Choir to the BBC's Songs of Praise Junior Choir of the Year award in 2012. At his Royston debut, we saw why!
In the first half of the concert, members of today's Heath Mount choir sang the 'Lift thine eyes' trio from Mendelssohn's Elijah and the 'Pie Jesu' from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Requiem. The treble soloist in Mendelssohn's ‘Hear my Prayer’ was Thomas Scrope, from whom I think we'll be hearing more.
But the revelation was the second half. The Heath Mount children joined the main Royston Choral Society for Brahms' ‘A German Requiem’, with the two-piano accompaniment the composer himself arranged for an 1871 chamber performance at the home of an admirer in London. The choir tackled this large-scale work with visible confidence, looking straight ahead to deliver a clean, hard-edged sound. This performance got the packed audience it deserved – and we can look forward to where Andrew will be taking his new choir next.'
Choir members surprised themselves too. A new member this term for whom the Brahms had been on his bucket list said 'The concert was an inspiring experience for me, maybe my best in a lifetime’s singing', and a long time member commented ‘Thank you, Andrew, for reminding us how satisfying it is to be stretched successfully!’
And what did RCS’s new maestro think?
'I thought the concert was really super. It was the type of performance I love, energised, focused, dramatic and yet very musical. I am interested in passionate singing and that every person gives 100%. The audience reception was really quite special and I have received so many positive comments. Royston Choral Society’s achievement was really something and few amateur choirs could have ever sung it so well. In fact, most choirs avoid this piece or cover up the cracks with a large orchestra. Some even do it in English!!!’