Friday, March 8, 2013

The past week at the Vaughan

The past seven days have been busy with lots of interesting things going on.

Following the visit of Arturo Sandoval last Friday the following day saw the Schola Cantorum singing at Westminster Cathedral. They sang music by Byrd, including the wonderful Civitas Sancti Tui - the text ringing out with 'Jersulam desolata est' seeming especially fitting during this period of 'sede vacante' as we await the appointment of the next Pope.

Here is a recording of that piece, sung by the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge, directed by Stephen Layton.

The boys sang very well indeed, as they did on Monday afternoon this week when the trebles recorded the off stage boys part for Britten's Owen Wingrave, for a production at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in June. This is difficult music but the boys managed it very well.

Wednesday evening saw the Singing Competition, Heat Four of the Music Competition. There were thirty entries and a high standard throughout, a real testament to the love for singing that there is at the Vaughan and also the quality of the singing teaching that goes on week after week. The winners, chosen by Mark Wildman, Head of Vocal Studies at the Royal Academy, were Filippo Turkheimer, James Townsend, Jack Comerford and Liam Hurley and they will compete in the final on March 19 - to be judged by none other than Iestyn Davies, perhaps the world's finest countertenor (check out this amazing video of him and another friend of the music department, the wonderful Alison Balsom).

Friday saw the Big Band in this first rehearsal for the upcoming Messiah project, where we are to join forces with Inner Voices and perform excerpts from Handel's Messiah, some in the original settings, others jazzed up in amazing arrangements by Quincy Jones. Today we first saw the challenges that lie ahead, which are considerable! Now all we have to do is prepare an orchestra to play Handel's original settings too!

Here is the Quincy Jones version of the Hallelujah Chorus!


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