EFC is happy to announce our first chance to sing to a live audience since December 2019 as we join with other musicians to support this wonderful cause.
ABF say this -
Join us as we celebrate the return to live music and salute the Army’s role in supporting the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the start of the pandemic, the Army were called upon to support the NHS and help to create a network of mobile testing units, build the Nightingale Hospitals (including Exeter), drive ambulances, deliver vital ventilators and organise Track and Trace centres throughout the UK.
Music plays a major role in the way many people overcome their personal difficulties. While this era has been bleak for many households, people still find joy in listening to music. We want to celebrate music and its ability to unite people in times of great hardship, such as during this pandemic.
We will be joined by world-renowned violinist Sophie Rosa, soprano Davina Hastings, organist Tim Noon, The Exeter Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mark Perry, the Exeter Festival Chorus with the St David’s Singers and Centre Stage Exmouth and BBC Radio Devon’s David Fitzgerald will be our compere.
More details and tickets are available from the Soldiers' Charity website.
Despite the difficult circumstances during 2020, we held weekly rehearsals from home, directed online by Nigel Perrin. For a few weeks in autumn 2020 we were able to resume ‘live’ rehearsals in St David’s Church Exeter until tighter restrictions were announced. This meant we returned to online rehearsals which continued until Nigel formally retired from EFC on 10th February.
In 2020 a 'virtual' choir was assembled from single voices singing at home, combining with Peter Adcock at the piano. These audio recordings have been augmented by a montage of photos of the 'real' choir in performance.
Click here for the motet 'Ave Verum Corpus' by Mozart
Click here for the motet 'Dona Nobis Pacem' by J S Bach.
To keep everyone actively involved after Nigel’s retirement from EFC, we ran a highly successful series of on-line Masterclasses with invited guests during which we have:
• Renewed the choir’s acquaintance with Scott Stroman who gave us some fascinating insights in rhythm and harmony in choral jazz;
• Worked with Matt Cook (Director of Music, Millfield School) to prepare for a virtual video recording of Handel’s 'Hallelujah Chorus';
• Shared in a fascinating exploration by Aidan Oliver of the history and form of Holst’s ‘Hymn to Jesus’;
• Learned from Tom Seligman about the history and development of western vocal musical notation and the way that this influenced performance.
• Spent a wonderful evening in the company of international baritone Roderick Williams, who told us about his life and career in music, with some thoughts on an international career with the challenges of climate change;
• Heard from local Exeter choirmaster and vocal coach and former EFC tenor Colin Rea about the physiology of singing, and techniques for overcoming common problems and challenges with the voice;
• And last but certainly not least we met Linda Hirst, of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, who shared from her wide experience about preparing the body and voice to sing, the quality and colours of vocal sound, vocal harmonics and how to make them, and finally discussed choirs - their differences, challenges and joys.
These Masterclasses have been invaluable to the choir, not just in keeping us together as a group through Covid restrictions, but also in developing our thinking about choral music and the way we make it.
The photograph shows EFC in 2016, just before a concert at Dartington Hall – happy days!
In May and June we have been working with guest conductor Laurence Blyth to prepare for an informal outdoor concert (in a private garden) for Making Music Day 2021 on June 21st. We began by studying the various pieces on Zoom, and originally planned some Covid-secure indoor rehearsals. Sadly, these were cancelled due to a change in Government guidance but we were able to hold one outdoor rehearsal. To add insult to injury, rain meant that the concert was cancelled, and the postponement of ‘Freedom Day’ prevented our backstop event in the Woodbury village hall. We were able to reschedule the concert, which finally went ahead on June 30th.
A virtual recording of one of these pieces – John Rutter’s ‘The Lord bless you and keep you’ is available on the Home page, and another – ‘Locus Iste’ by Bruckner – will be available soon.
Auditions for the appointment of our new Musical Director are planned for the end of July, after which we can make detailed plans to welcome our friends, patrons and audiences to our own sparkling choral programmes in Exeter and beyond from December onwards. In all our planning we have full regard for the Covid Regulations, following Government guidance issued via the Department of Culture Media and Sport and the ‘Making Music’ website. We will be careful to address the concerns of our members and audience in our planning.
We invite potential new singers to get in touch during the summer – please see the details under the ‘Join’ tab.
EFC is currently not meeting for rehearsals due to Covid-19 restrictions and guidelines.
EFC is an auditioning choir, but we invite interested singers to attend Open Rehearsals (or ordinary ones) to get an idea of how we work.
Dates and details will be published here when rehearsals are resumed.
For more information about our open rehearsals please see this page.