On Sunday 12 August, the Chamber Choir joined the Central Coast Chorale (CCC) in a concert entitled ‘Made in Heaven’. Twenty-four of us made the journey to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in East Gosford, where, the Chamber Choir has previously added some singing resources to CCC’s productions: Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas in 2011, and again in May for Aspects of Love. CCC has in turn provided various forms of help to Grads in recent years, for example, in our performance of Bach’s B Minor Mass in December 2008 and for our 2010 recording of choral music by Saint-Saëns.
It was a pleasure to resume friendships with members of the Chorale, who were once again most hospitable hosts. It was also of great benefit to perform the two largest works from our ‘Heavenly Schubertiade’ concert, which Grads will be giving in the Great Hall on Sunday 19 August, – the Magnificat D.486 and the Mass in C Major D.452.Two of the soloists, who will be singing in that concert, performed with us: Elke Hook (soprano), a Central Coast local, who has been engaged at short notice to stand in on 19 August for Penelope Mills, who is indisposed, and young Sydney tenor, Pascal Herington, who sang in our performance of Handel’s Saul in August 2011. Both made a fine impression. In addition, Elke sang the solo in Schubert’s Salve Regina D. 676, which she will also perform in the Great Hall concert. The other soloists were Jill Erem (mezzo-soprano), also a member of CCC, and young Sydney bass, Daniel Macey.
The concert also gave Christopher Bowen, our Music Director, the chance to take a number of the orchestral players who will perform in the Great Hall concert on a journey through these works.Violinist, Petra Chaplin, who will lead the orchestra on 19 August, did so on this occasion also. From the choir’s perspective, these Schubert works sounded terrific and were exciting to sing, full of the composer’s famous flair for lyrical melody, but also with no shortage of grandeur and drama. In short, we heard enough to confirm the prediction of Colin Fox, made to listeners of ABC Classic FM in his most recent Breakfast program, that ‘A Heavenly Schubertiade’ should be “a wonderful concert.”
The other works on the program were African-American spirituals: they included Christopher’s arrangement of ‘Blind’ Man Stood on de Way an’ Cried’, ‘Hush, Somebody’s Calling my Name’, and ‘Ride the Chariot’, while Jill Erem sang the wonderful ‘Steal Away’.
The modest audience, which included Evelyne de Clercq, our President, who did some assiduous leafleting and action photography, and Marilyn Gosling (our Immediate Past President) who spends a good deal of her time on the Central Coast, obviously enjoyed the program.