YPC’s First Northern Ireland visit is truly Memorable

Every 3 years the YPC undertakes a recital tour and this year, for the first time, Northern Ireland was the destination. For the first time this meant choir members organising their own flights and meeting up in a Belfast hotel. Amazingly, all went well ( except for some unfortunate airport delays) but by about 10.30pm, all were present and correct. Our first morning saw a fleet of taxis arrive at the Park Inn to transport us to Belfast’s newest and largest tourist attraction ‘The Titanic Experience’. Performing in the open, at the iconic and huge ‘Titanic’ sign beside the main door, we gave a performance which included the 4 traditional Northern Irish songs specially written for the This trip by Alan Simmons, namely Danny Boy, The Mountains of Mourne, Believe me if all those endearing young charms and I wish I was in Carrickfergus. A large and international crowd gathered complete with cameras, iPhones and the like, receiving the renditions with enthusiasm, so much so that the management relented and invited us to sing inside the immense atrium of the museum (originally forbidden because of H and S rule), where the busy and large morning crowd stood and rewarded us with generous applause. Following this the whole choir enjoyed the museum’s epic presentations with the rest of the day and evening at leisure. An earlier start was the order of they day for Saturday. At 9.30 am our coach took us from the hotel to the twin Cathedral town of Armagh, where we are due perform a lunchtime recital at 1.00pm. We took the advantage of a lengthy rehearsal... read more

Music that matched the weather

Billed as ‘Music on a Summer’s Evening’ it was exactly that. The evening sun shone through the windows of the QEGS Hall and the YPC presented an evening of ‘sunny’ music which had the large audience smiling and wanting more. This was far more than ‘just another concert’ however as the YPC’s special guests, the QEGS Junior Boys Choir were being conducted for the last time by Karen Cousins prior to her retirement. During the 28 years that Karen ( also a valued member of the YPC) has led the choir, they have share many concerts with the YPC, so it was fitting her last concert leading them should also do so. The evening began with both choirs combining in the ever popular ‘Gloria’ by Vivaldi and it set the scene for further thrilling performances such as Zadok the Priest and Parry’s ‘I was Glad’, each showing the YPC at their powerful best. In contrast though the YPC is equally at home with the flowing and delicate works. Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus and Faure’s Cantique de Jean Racine, being 2 of the best examples during the evening. The QEGS Junior choir too were at their best and showed not only the discipline and training instilled by their esteemed conductor, but also the enjoyment they find in singing in two sets of 3 songs which featured them singing in several parts but also enchanting the audience with their movements. Special mention must be made of their soloists who sang with such clarity and confidence, no mean feat when confronted with a large crowd, many of whom were parents and friends.... read more

‘Yorkshire Voices’ admirably rise to the challenge of Missa Solemnis

REVIEW OF BEETHOVEN MISSA SOLEMNIS IN LEEDS TOWN HALL ON SATURDAY JUNE 11 2016 YORKSHIRE VOICES and MANCHESTER CAMERATA Beethoven’ s Missa Solemnis is a big sing for any choral society but the combined forces of Harrogate Choral Society and Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir rose to the challenge admirably with their performance in Leeds Town Hall last Saturday, June 11th. Andrew Padmore, their conductor, had prepared both choirs thoroughly both technically and musically with confident entries and the high tessitura and full sound required for much of the work was achieved well and without loss of tuning or vocal tiring for much of the evening. The attention to the dynamic shaping was impressive with such large forces, maintaining a buoyant tone quality and with the changes in pace mostly secure with clear direction from the conductor. The articulation of the fugal section in the second movement was particularly well observed, rhythmical and clear. The orchestra, Manchester Camerata, supported the singing with fine phrasing throughout and particularly lovely violin solo playing by Caroline Pether in the Benedictus. The balance between orchestra and choir was for the most part, well matched, and it was only in the very loudest moments when the organ and orchestra were together that the choir became a little overpowered. Of the soloists, Sarah Fox (soprano) floated her voice in the upper register with ease, Melanie Marshall (Mezzo) gave us a warm toned and fluid line throughout, and the bass, David Soar, some dark and sonorous sounds. The tenor soloist, Ben Thapa, sang with some full tone if a rather uneven line. The concert began with a performance... read more

‘Yorkshire Voices’ will be raised again after a 7 year wait….

Yorkshire Voices – Missa Solemnis – Leeds Town Hall – 11 June 2016, 7.00 pm. In 2008, two of the finest choirs in the North of England, namely ‘The Harrogate Choral Society’ and ‘The Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir’ set aside their rivalries and came together to form ‘Yorkshire Voices’. In a memorable night in Leeds Town Hall they performed the towering masterpiece which is Verdi’s Requiem. So successful was this partnership that they followed it up a year later, to great acclaim, with Sir Karl Jenkins’ ‘The Armed Man’ and David Fanshawe’s idiosyncratic ‘African Sanctus’. Having individually gone from strength to strength in the ensuing period, the two choirs will combine again as ‘Yorkshire Voices’ on 11th June 2016, in Leeds Town Hall to present Beethoven’s ‘Missa Solemnis’. The Missa Solemnis is generally considered one of the composer’s supreme achievements and stands alongside Bach’s B Minor Mass as one of the most significant settings. It requires a quartet of impressive soloists, a substantial chorus and a full orchestra. The work is physically and technically exacting and requires virtuosity of each participating element. The difficulty of the piece combined with the resources required, means it is not often performed by amateur or semi-professional ensembles. Not surprising then that it is over 13 years since a performance of this work has been presented in Leeds Town Hall. That, however, is about to change, the challenge has been accepted by ‘Yorkshire Voices’ with the Manchester Camarata and soloists – Sarah Fox (Soprano), Melanie Marshall (Mezzo), Ben Thapa (Tenor) & David Soar (Bass) all under the masterful baton of Dr Andrew Padmore, who is... read more

YPC and LCoM ‘Swing to the same beat’

Absolutely Buzzin’   Not necessarily a usual comment following a classical music concert, but the Partnership Concert between The YPC and Leeds College of Music on Saturday 19th March in The Venue, Leeds, was no ordinary Classical concert, in fact it featured the best of what could be termed Choral Jazz. The first half began with Bob Chilcott’s little jewel of the genre ‘A Little Jazz Mass’ with the choir masterfully negotiating the 7 swift movements, each with its own distinct style. A Jazz trio featuring Tom Moore on piano with LCoM musicians Will Stockbridge (bass) and Josh Smout (drums) provided the accompaniment, which sometimes needs a real drive and groove whilst other a soft bluesy feel, which they provided to perfection, getting the evening of to a fabulous start. The remainder of the first half showcased the LCoM current undergraduate musicians in 2 Jazz combos fronted by two young singers who are surely destined for a bright future, Alzbeta Turcanyiova and Jemma Freese. In two distinctive vocal styles they presented four works: Lush Life by Billy Strayhorn Nostalgia for Times Square by Charles Mingus Blue in Green by Bill Evans Berfsha Swing by Thelonius Monk Accompanied by Will and Josh plus the added talents of Joe Boyes on piano these were received with the traditional ‘whoops and cheers’ as well as sustained applause from a captivated audience. The second half featured just one ‘tour de force’ – Will Todd’s ‘Mass in Blue’ with the choir being joined by the LCoM Jazz band and the vocal expertise of Laura Barnes. This work is a test for any combination but... read more

YPC & LCoM in Partnership – 19th March 2016

The YPC’s next concert, is on Saturday 19th March 2016 at 7.00pm in ‘The Venue’, Leeds and is a Partnership Concert with the Leeds College of Music (LCoM). The choir is proud of its ongoing partnership with the LCoM, where it annually sponsors the Margaret Markland Choral Bursary. This allows 3 students from one of the College’s Musical Pathways, who are successful through audition, to become members of the choir and to experience Choral music at it’s highest level. This includes experiencing, the discipline of rehearsal under professional direction,   the enjoyment and satisfaction of working alongside other like minded individuals in a way only being a member of a choir can give, the exhilaration of high quality performance with professional soloists and orchestras in superb venues and the opportunity to undertake solo works within the choir. Winning this bursary gives the successful students an excellent CV reference for when they enter the professional musical world and is proving an excellent recruiting point for previous winners of the bursary as they begin their performing careers. In celebration of this and the Partnership’s general success, YPC & LCoM will present a Jazz and modern music programme which will feature the YPC performing the ever popular ‘Mass in Blue’ by Will Todd, accompanied by the LCoM Jazz Band and featuring the marvellous voice and stage presence of Laura Barnes (a former LCoM student and Margaret Markland Bursary winner, now making her own successful way as a soloist). The programme also includes ‘A Little Jazz Mass’ by Bob Chilcott, accompanied by Jazz Trio. The remainder of the programme will feature and the very best of the... read more

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