Lots of exciting singing plans for Vox Holloway this year, with our first rehearsal on Tuesday January 15th.
Please come at 7.15pm to register, pick up music and pay contributions* to rehearsal costs.
1. The Jubilee Singers (provisional title)
Our main project this term will be a concert of African-American spirituals and gospel music, based on the story of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, a choir of emancipated slaves which set out in the 1860s to raise money for their university in Nashville, Tennessee, which was the only American university to admit black students at that time. They toured the United States and Europe and astounded audiences everywhere with the power and beauty of their music, the plantation spirituals and ‘songs of sorrow’ that had never been heard before on a public stage. In London, they performed before Queen Victoria and the Prime Minister and the great and the good of the land to universal acclaim, but they also performed at one of the ‘Ragged Schools’ in Hackney (a series of schools across the country founded for orphaned and poor children), where the pupils were so impressed that they started their own choir to sing the same kind of music. This, as far as anyone can tell, was the first ‘white gospel’ choir anywhere in the world. 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the United States (which precipitated the American Civil War), and so our musical retelling of the story of the Fisk Jubilee Singers will also be our annual charity fund-raising concert, for the Not For Sale Campaign, a remarkable US-based organisation which campaigns against modern-day slavery. There is more slavery in the world today – literal bonded slavery, child slavery, economic slavery and sex trafficking – than there was in 1863, and slavery of all kinds is alive and well here in the UK, so this is an urgent matter for our energy and attention.
Our performance will be on Easter Monday, April 1st 2013.
2. Valentine’s Concert
This year, we will also be mounting a small Valentine’s Day concert – 500 Years Of Love (title tbc) – on Friday, February 15th. This will be an hour’s pre-dinner concert, with candlelight, champagne, cocktails and nibbles (of the edible variety …). Some of the programme will be performed by the whole choir, from existing repertoire, some will be performed by a smaller semi-chorus & soloists & instrumentalists. The musical programme will be interspersed with readings of love poetry down the ages. Please put this date in your diary now!
3. Semi-chorus auditions
At several previous concerts, notably 150 Years Of Song (summer 2010) and Land Of Dreams (autumn 2011), we have put together a semi-chorus of 8 voices, SSAATTBB, to perform much more challenging pieces. Harvey and I have selected these voices based on our knowledge of who would be able to manage the material. We’d now like to throw the net wider and invite anyone who’s interested in singing in a semi-chorus to do a little informal audition. These will be in the second half of the evening next Tuesday, January 15th. You will not have to sing in front of other people, and you do not have to prepare anything. Singing in the semi-chorus involves reading quite challenging sheet music and holding an individual line, sometimes with 7 other parts going simultaneously, as well as opportunities for some solo singing, so if you decide to do a little audition, please do so on the understanding that we can only select the strongest singers for this group, and please don’t be upset if you’re not selected on this occasion. We want to develop everyone’s voices and musicality and enjoyment of music in the choir, and are always looking for new ways to do this.
So, next Tuesday, our main rehearsal will be from 7.30pm-9.15pm, with semi-chorus auditions from 9.15pm-10pm.
On January 22nd, 29th, February 5th and February 12th, our main rehearsals will be from 7.30pm-9.30pm, with semi-chorus rehearsals from 9.30pm-10.15pm.
*As always, we invite all singers to contribute a one-off donation of £30 (students, unwaged, concessions etc £10) towards our termly rehearsal costs. If you can’t afford this, please donate what you feel you can afford. Also, there will be a charge of approx £10 per head for the cost of printing and copying the sheet music. Vox Holloway welcomes everybody and so, if you genuinely cannot afford either the donation or the printing charge, you are still most welcome – just pay what you can, as and when you can. Equally, this system of trust depends on everyone who can afford it, paying up promptly! The charges are incredibly low compared with just about any other choir in the country.