25 January 2010
Cathedral concert for University Choir
It might not be Handel’s best known choral work, but according to University of Essex choir conductor Richard Cooke, it is his best! Israel in Egypt is being performed by the choir at Chelmsford Cathedral on Sunday, January 30 and is expected to be yet another sell-out performance for this popular choir.
The choir draws its members from staff and students at the University but also from Colchester and surrounding areas. It is this town and gown aspect, together with the high standards demanded by the choir’s conductor, that seem to be at the heart of its popularity and success.
Marilyn Beattie from Colchester has been a member for 16 years: ‘I have recently been “mentoring” a first year student from India. She’s really talented but has never read music before or sung in this sort of choir. It’s been great fun for me to sing with her. The interaction between members of the University and people from the local community is one of the best things about the choir.’ Third year student Daisy Blench agrees: ‘The choir has been a real highlight of my time at Essex. Our conductor gets us singing to a fantastic standard and it makes me feel part of the community as well as part of the University.’
Richard Cooke, also Music Director of the Royal Choral Society and Conductor of Canterbury Choral Society, said: ‘I work the University choir really hard and even though many of them are amateurs, I make sure they create a professional sound when it comes to performance time.’
The choir rehearses on Thursday evenings at the University and is always on the look out for new members. There are special bursaries for young people aged 14-23.
Anyone who is interested joining or in attending the performance of Israel in Egypt with the London Handel Orchestra on January 30 at 7pm can find details of the concert on the University Choir website. Tickets costing £20, £16, £13 (£10 concession on £13 tickets) are available from James Dace & Son Ltd in Broomfield Road, Chelmsford. Telephone 01245 262841/352133 and also from the University Gallery.
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