Musical chairs

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From left: Martin Palmer, Colin Scofield and Susanne Deneke

The official end of season came on Tuesday, 21st June,  when our AGM was held at Richard Lander School. It was well attended and included several key changes to the committee. We sadly had to say goodbye to Susanne Deneke – only as Chair, though – and happily welcome Colin Scofield in as her replacement. Susanne had been Chair for six years and, to thank her for applying her extremely calm and capable gubernatorial skills to TCS affairs over that time, former Chair Ian Halford presented her with flowers and Waterstones and Plaza vouchers worth £200 on behalf of the choir. Fortunately, Susanne will be staying on as a singer – and adviser, if necessary. In her final report as Chair, she spoke of how it had been “a great honour and privilege to serve this wonderful choir”. Colin has already served on the committee for several years as Publicity Officer and Making Music Representative and we are grateful for him taking up his new role so readily.

We also were delighted to welcome two new committee members: Jill Nicholls and Stefanie Helmle. Post AGM, Colin said, “What persuaded me to accept the job of Chairman was the knowledge that we will continue with the same team who, as Susanne has said, have proved so able and willing in the past. Stefanie and Jill will strengthen us even more.”

We also enjoyed poetry (and Maltesers, of course) from MD Martin Palmer, which one day we hope to be able to publish in full. However, like a Homeric epic, it can only be preserved orally for the time being (ie until Secretary Liz Keasley can decipher the stanzas from the scribblings annotations).

The committee sends huge thanks to those who attended the AGM and to all members for making the choir the force that it is today. We wish you a happy summer and look forward to all the pleasure Season 2016/17 will bring. See you in September.


“Moving and memorable”

TCS Rehearsing Rutter in Truro Cathedral, June 2016In a weekend of celebration of the Queen’s 90th birthday, Truro Choral Society was not going to miss the opportunity to contribute, and this summer concert began with probably the finest of all ceremonial pieces – Parry’s I Was Glad, with the eight-part choir plus cathedral organ sending majestic echoes round the vaulting. On a more intimate scale, members of Truro School Chamber Orchestra excelled in Bach’s second Brandenburg Concerto, with bubbling high spirits in the outer movements contrasted with the graceful central andante. The solo group — Martha Prindl (violin), Lottie Brenton and Molly Carleston (oboes) and Katie Shaw (piccolo) — were outstanding. I had doubted whether there could be a viable substitute for the specified clarino trumpet, but am pleased to report that the piccolo in all its crazy glory reached even the very back of the West Gallery. And ice creams were available in the interval — a splendid innovation!

Some choral purists dismiss John Rutter’s writing as “easy listening” — perhaps rightly in the case of some of the shorter works, but his Requiem is certainly not a soft option for singers in its challenging complexity and contrasts of light and dark. Martin Palmer’s direction and the choir’s flexibility caught the marvellous transition of the opening, from ominous agitation to the  magical “earworm” main melody (once heard, never forgotten).

Luke Bond’s sensitive organ playing was a notable feature, as was the contribution of all the instrumentalists – Barbara Degener’s cello in “Out of the deep” perfectly mirroring the hushed choral entry. The central Sanctus was radiant with pealing bells — Joseph O’Berry on piano and James Robinson somehow managing to play glockenspiel and timpani simultaneously. The 23rd Psalm setting was a pastoral delight with Tamsin Carleston’s oboe obbligato, and Katie Shaw’s flute phrasing was perfect, particularly well matched with soprano Cheryl Rosevear in her expressive Pie Jesu and Lux Aeterna.

It may be a relatively short work, but this Requiem doesn’t grant much rest for the chorus — they have to sing almost continually. They coped heroically with all its demands, building up tension in Agnus Dei, lyrical in Psalm 23, modulating marvellously towards the inevitable reprise of the big tune at the end. Well done to Palmer for such thorough preparation and direction, and huge thanks to TCS for a moving and memorable performance.

Judith Whitehouse

TCS Rehearsing Rutter in Truro Cathedral, June 2016
Pictures of TCS at final Rutter rehearsal in Truro Cathedral (c) Crispin Geoghegan