A year in review: season 2016-17

Martin Palmer with Käthe Wright Kaufman

Martin Palmer with Käthe Wright Kaufman

As TCS chair, Colin Scofield, said at the AGM in July, what a fantastic season 2016-17 was, with four concerts and two wonderful seminars led in totally different styles but both so effectively by Russell Pascoe and Paul Drayton. We also welcomed Käthe Wright Kaufman as our accompanist, who our MD, Martin Palmer, described as, “A great asset, confidently taking rehearsals and gifted with the ability to mind read! I forecast she will go far.” As with our previous years’ accompanists, Käthe was the organ scholar at Truro Cathedral and, for 2017-18, we have been joined Will Fairbairn (for a short introduction to Will, please head here). We are so lucky to have the opportunity to engage such talented accompanists each year – they never fail to amaze and entertain.

Tony Mee performing Nessun Dorma

Anthony Mee performing Nessun Dorma

In precis, Martin described the season as “a very daring year”.
 It began with an Italianate concert in November 2016, with a programme that included Vivaldi Magnificat in G Minor and Concerto 576 (scored for this for violin, recorder and flute, oboe and bassoon), as well as Puccini Nessun Dorma – with soloist Anthony Mee stealing the show –
 and Messa di Gloria, which in Martin’s words was: “A crazy piece that TCS gave a great rendition of.”

Taking as inspiration the famous New Year’s Day concert at Vienna’s Musikverein, on 2 January 2017 we held our first New Year concert, with the Dean of Truro – Roger Bush – as MC. The evening’s programme included roof-raising performances of Handel Zadok the Priest and the Hallelujah chorus, Winter from Vivaldi The Four Seasons, with the hugely talented violinist Michael Foyle as soloist, along with Strauss Blue Danube and Waltz of the Flowers from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker performed by the always excellent Truro Symphony Orchestra – and not forgetting an all-congregation rendition of the Epiphany carol We Three Kings for regular TCS tenor soloist David Webb’s #CarolsforCancer appeal (view it on YouTube here). The concert was a resounding success and drew a huge audience.

Tenor soloist Nathan Vale with TCS

Tenor soloist Nathan Vale

For our concert on 11 March, it was Bach St Matthew Passion,
 a staging that required two choirs, two orchestras and a host of soloists. Many remarked, including the orchestra members, that it was one of our most powerful and moving concerts, particularly with international soloist Nathan Vale as our tenor soloist, described by Martin as, “out of this world”. In preparation for the concert we held a seminar on the work, led by Cornish composer Russell Pascoe, so that choir members and audience alike could learn more about the man and this masterpiece. Always happy to share his passion for Bach, Russell left everyone who attended looking forward to the forthcoming concert even more.

TCS with Three Spires Singers for Elijah

TCS with Three Spires Singers at rehearsal for Elijah

In May, the second seminar of the season was held in preparation for our joint concert of Mendelssohn Elijah with Three Spires Singers. This time, it was led by Paul Drayton, composer and conductor of Duchy Opera, among many other things. The morning included sessions about Mendelssohn and this mighty work and some singing. Of the concert itself, held in June and conducted by the MD of Three Spires and Director of Music at Truro Cathedral, Christopher Gray, Martin said: “I had heard Michael Edwards conduct Elijah eight years ago and thought it a great work for TCS – and it is always a joy to join with Three Spires and Chris Gray. The soloists were superb, particularly Lucy Wallis as The Boy and the girl choristers in ‘Lift Thine Eyes’. 
The choirs sounded marvellous but were eclipsed by the cello section, who were stupendous [ahem, see photograph below]!”
 This was the second time TCS and Three Spires had joined forces – the last time being for Elgar The Kingdom in 2014 – and it was again a great success and enjoyed by all involved. Mirroring the arrangement in 2014, the cathedral seating was turned around, so that the large joint choir and orchestra of 55 could be accommodated at the west door, with the audience heading “backwards” towards the altar. You can read Philip Buttall’s review of the concert in Seen and Heard International here.

Our year was rounded off with a lovely summer party, expertly organised as always by our social secretary, Dee, and held at Mylor Yacht Club. The outrageously beautiful sunset provided the perfect ending to a wonderful season.

The first TCS New Year Concert

The first TCS New Year Concert

MD Martin with bow in hand for Elijah rather than baton

MD Martin with bow in hand for Elijah rather than baton

The view from Mylor Yacht Club at the summer party

Mylor Yacht Harbour

TCS Chair Colin Scofield at the summer party

TCS Chair Colin Scofield at the summer party

Ring in the new

screen-shot-2016-11-12-at-15-12-55Taking its inspiration from the famous New Year’s Day concert at Vienna’s Musikverein, Truro Choral Society is holding a musical celebration on Monday, 2nd January 2017, at Truro Cathedral. The first in what is hoped to become an annual event and musical tradition for Truro, it will be held at 7pm to make the concert more family-friendly and include a mix of light popular items and some weightier pieces.

Handel’s Coronation Anthem Zadok the Priest will provide a rousing opening to the programme, while the atmosphere of Vienna will be evoked by Strauss’s Blue Danube waltz and a seasonal touch introduced by Winter from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. The latter will be played by the gifted violinist Michael Foyle, who was praised by The Daily Telegraph for playing with “compelling conviction” at his Purcell Room debut in London last year.

Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker is always a favourite at this time of year and Truro Symphony Orchestra will play the popular Waltz of the Flowers from the ballet. For opera lovers, there is the famous aria Nessun Dorma from Puccini’s Turandot, to be sung by tenor Anthony Mee, who has performed to much acclaim at major concert halls around the world, including the Royal Festival Hall, Barbican and Royal Albert Hall in London.

The core of the concert will be the opening chorus of JS Bach’s St Matthew Passion and it will end with the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah, bringing a joyful evening to a truly exuberant conclusion. In all, the perfect way to welcome in 2017.

Listen to Colin’s interview with Martha Dixon of BBC Radio Cornwall for the Donna Birrell Sunday breakfast show (at 2:38:18) to find out more.

New Year Concert: 7pm, Monday, 2nd January 2017, at Truro Cathedral. Tickets: £16 (under 19s free), available from Box Office Cornwall (hallforcornwall.co.uk; 01872 262466) or on the door

Meet our new accompanist

kewkOn the eve of our first concert of the 2016/17 season, we chatted to our talented new accompanist, Käthe Wright Kaufman – the current Organ Scholar of Truro Cathedral – to see what she thinks of the show so far and to find out more about her.

Originally from Evanston, Illinois, a city just north of Chicago, 23-year-old Käthe started learning the piano at the age of four and has pursued her organ studies since 2007. During that time she has been taught by the virtuoso organists James R Brown of the Music Institute of Chicago, and William Porter and Edoardo Bellotti of the Eastman School of Music, and has participated in masterclasses with the premier concert organists Ann Elise Smoot, David Higgs and Alan Morrison. She has performed for the US radio programme Pipedreams Live! and in venues such as St Thomas Church, New York City, and – as part of a recital tour this summer – Clare College, Cambridge, St Edmundsbury Cathedral in Bury St Edmunds and St Michael’s Cornhill, London. This whistle-stop trip to the UK meant getting to know the pedals, pipes and stops of unfamiliar organs and playing a complete programme within hours of arriving at a venue. However, her audition with Christopher Gray for the position at Truro Cathedral took place back in the US – via Skype!

Prior to arriving in Cornwall, Käthe studied at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, where in 2013 she received the Gerald Barnes Award for Excellence in Pipe Organ. She graduated earlier this year with high distinction. Other accolades include receiving the VanDelinder Prize in Liturgical Organ Skills from Christ Church, Rochester, in both 2014 and 2015, and winning the West Chester University International Organ Competition in 2015.

As someone who clearly doesn’t seek a quiet life, Käthe has also previously held the positions of Organ Scholar at Christ Church, Rochester, and Westminster Presbyterian Church in Buffalo, NY. At the latter she accompanied a similar-sized choir to Truro Choral Society, though the markedly different timing of rehearsals there called for her alarm clock to be set for 5.45am (don’t get any ideas, MDP). And it has been unsurprising to discover that, on top of all these achievements, Käthe is also an accomplished choral soprano, having performed with choirs around America, England and Germany. Even in her personal life, music is omnipresent: her boyfriend is the fifth generation of a family of organ builders whose business is based not far from Rochester – very helpful in times when urgent tuning has been needed.

Käthe with her boyfriend, Matt

Käthe with her boyfriend, Matt

Here in Truro, her role at the Cathedral naturally keeps her very busy beyond our increasingly wintry Tuesday-night rehearsals. Music for the Cathedral choir needs to be organised and distributed before run-throughs and services. Meanwhile, her duties mentoring the probationary choristers at Polwhele House school mean early mornings for her most weekdays – her guidance with basic theory will help them gain their surplices in the spring. Of course, somewhere amid all this, she needs to fit in time for playing herself: so far, the hours after 9pm seem most appealing, when there are no noise restrictions and time seems to slip by. She is also a member of St Mary’s Singers, the voluntary chamber choir of the Cathedral.

When talk turns to Käthe’s favourite composers, Bach unsurprisingly gets the top spot – her recitals at the Cathedral and Truro Methodist Church in October bore impressive witness to this, with audience members commenting that they were “blown away” by her performances. Bartok also gets a mention, though, and in a nod to her new UK position, Standford, Howells and Britten all feature highly. This term’s Puccini rehearsals have brought enjoyment, too – Käthe mentions the Messa di Gloria’s satisfying melodies and how she is looking forward to accompanying us on the chamber organ when we sing it on Saturday.

Käthe will be returning to the US in 2017 for the start of the next academic year – a deferred master’s in organ performance awaits her at Eastman. Before then, we will be fortunate enough to have her accompany us for our rehearsals for our New Year concert, Bach’s St Matthew Passion and our joint concert with Three Spires Singers, Mendelssohn’s Elijah. If you’re not a TCS member, do make sure you get to hear her play before she goes, too.

Musical chairs


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


Mass appreciation


TCS with Truro Symphony Orchestra at Truro Cathedral, Saturday, 23rd April 2016

Beethoven’s “Hallelujah Chorus”…. no, not a misprint – he really did write one as the finale of a now neglected oratorio, and Truro Choral Society President Michael Galsworthy had suggested that TCS might perform it, so they did! Augmented by Cornwall Youth Choir and Truro School Chamber Choir (nearly 200 voices altogether), plus the usual splendid orchestra, they gave a rousing start to this mostly Beethoven evening.

TCS has recently made a feature of showcasing outstanding local young musicians, and Truro School sixth-former Ellie Sullivan’s performance of Schumann’s Abendlied, arranged for oboe and orchestra by musical director Martin Palmer, was an exquisite “song without words” in her last Truro concert before entering the Royal Academy of Music.

Probably the best-known of all symphonies, Beethoven’s Fifth, directed by Palmer, ended the first half of the programme in an inspiring performance, from the famous opening chords, via a warmly lyrical slow movement with glorious lower strings, to a spirited Scherzo and triumphant finale – a real emergence into daylight.

Dating from the same period as the Symphony, but inevitably overshadowed by the later Missa Solemnis, Beethoven’s Mass in C requires the chorus to sing almost continuously for long sections and express many different moods – devotional in the Kyrie, thrilling in the Gloria, with a concluding Agnus Dei contrasting anxiety and expectation punctuated by lyrical horn calls. A strong solo teamsoprano Cheryl Rosevear, alto Shelly Coulter-Smith, tenor Paul Martyn-West and bass Charlie Murray – blended well together, particularly in the Benedictus. Palmer’s direction made a good case for a neglected work, and the chorus still had enough energy left at the end to reprise the “Hallelujah” from the start of the evening, to great acclaim from the large audience. A fascinating and most enjoyable evening.
Judith Whitehouse, West Briton

Messiah at Truro Cathedral


Martin Palmer with Felicity Turner and Imogen Hancock

“What is the collective noun for Messiahs? There seem to be a lot of them around at this time of year! This was probably the largest I’ve heard for some time, with the massed ranks of Truro Choral Society augmented by the choirs of the three local senior schools – over 200 voices in all. Rehearsals must have been fun.

It’s always good to welcome back David Webb, and his ‘Comfort ye’, expressive and judiciously decorated, set the tone for a vigorous interpretation – bass George Humphreys (also currently in Jonathan Miller’s production of The Mikado at the Coliseum – such versatility!) gave the heavens a really thorough shaking, and mezzo Felicity Turner’s dramatic ‘refiner’s fire’ was equally spirited. Cornish soprano Lydia Mee, in her debut with TCS, was understandably a little hesitant at first, but grew in confidence, her performance culminating with a radiant ‘I know that my redeemer liveth’.

Martin Palmer’s direction of the large choir produced some fine effects – a sprightly ‘For unto us’, and a splendid sequence of five vividly contrasted choruses in Part Two, interspersed with Felicity Turner’s exquisite ‘He was despised’ and David Webb’s clear narrative passages. The chorus coped well with some brisk speeds – ‘Hallelujah’ almost too fast – and were rock-solid in their many fugal episodes. As always, great orchestral accompaniment, with the added bonus of harpsichord (Joseph O’Berry) plus chamber organ (Luke Bond, who also sprinted upstairs to the Father Willis for extra volume).

I always moan about items being cut, but appreciate the need – two and a half hours plus interval, otherwise – but Part One really does need to end with a chorus, and it didn’t (lose half a star for that!). I always miss the ‘middle bit’ of ‘The trumpet shall sound’ – no one ever does it – but what a treat it was to hear George Humphreys and solo trumpet Imogen Hancock. The trumpets were back at the periphery for the final chorus, which sounded simply glorious, with a truly massive crescendo and deceleration at the close that shouldn’t have worked but did – ‘Amen’ to that!”
Judith Whitehouse, West Briton

Lydia Mee

Lydia Mee

Felicity Turner

Felicity Turner

David Webb

David Webb

George Humphreys

George Humphreys


End of Season 2014/15

A big thank you to Paul-Ethan Bright for his below review of our concert in Truro Cathedral, on Saturday, 13th June (which also appeared in the West Briton). The programme consisted of Rachmaninov’s Bogoroditse Devo, conducted by James Orford; Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 2, soloist Paul Comeau; and Sir Michael Tippett’s A Child of Our Time, with the four soloists joining us from Royal Academy of Music. Truro Choral Society Music Director Martin Palmer conducted the latter two items. (For our preview, published in the West Briton on 4th June, head here.)

“A rather introspective programme was presented by Truro Choral Society and Truro Symphony Orchestra, a Rachmaninov first half followed by Michael Tippett’s secular oratorio, A Child of Our Time.

“The choir opened with Bogoroditse Devo, the last movement of Rachmaninov’s famous Vespers, a setting of Ave Maria. This first item was conducted by Truro Cathedral’s organ scholar, James Orford, making his directorial debut. The chorus were supported by the string section, giving the sound an extra luminosity. Orford’s simple yet definite conducting allowed the music to speak for itself without any fussiness unbecoming of the piece, while the choir’s diction of the Russian text spoke well into the Cathedral acoustic.

“All change at the front for the second item, Rachmaninov’s C minor second Piano Concerto, as Martin Palmer took the stand alongside the soloist, Paul Comeau. While the second movement is probably the most familiar (a favourite of Classic FM Hall of Fame, no less), this performance showed us that the whole work is just as approachable – the opening Moderato: allegro finds the piano sounding out the deeps before the orchestra joins, more or less taking the spotlight away from the soloist before a majestic climax that restates the initial theme, taking us to the sparkling cadenza. Comeau was surely in his element here, at turns deftly maintaining his part in the orchestral texture, before blazes of sheer virtuosity, relayed throughout the Cathedral via the cameras so those further back wouldn’t miss out – a real delight!

“The second movement, the Adagio sostenuto, was a super-smooth episode of pure romantic relaxation, with eloquent solos from flute and clarinet. The finale, the Allegro scherzando, allowed for more dramatic elements to surface, balanced by the lyricism of the orchestral woodwinds, before building tension considerably to the final cadenza – Comeau once again holding the attention of the entire Cathedral.

“What elevated this performance, for me, was not just Comeau’s undeniably sublime playing, or Palmer’s well-mannered and sympathetic conducting, but the communication between the two of them, giving the concerto a calm, collected air. A rousing ovation followed, with plenty of well-deserved cheers for Comeau, a real local hero on Truro’s musical scene.

“As the programme reminded us, A Child of Our Time ‘…can never be comfortable’; a deeply personal statement by the composer conceived as a musical protest. The atmosphere was electric from the opening chords, with Palmer’s clear direction inspiring the choir to come in confidently on some exceptionally difficult leads. The young team of soloists added to the mood, their voices commanding in their own right, yet blending well when together. The five Negro Spirituals were particularly moving, Steal Away as a stand-out triumph, with a beautiful, sustained tone from the soprano soloist.

“While this concert’s programme was more inward-looking than one might usually expect from Truro Choral Society, they acquitted themselves with a dignity befitting the music during another evening of exciting music making.”

In addition, we received these kind words from Michael Galsworthy, President of Truro Choral Society, in the week following the concert:

“I greatly enjoyed the TCS concert on Saturday evening and thank you so much for introducing me to the choir members beforehand. As I said, I count it a great privilege to be the TCS President and will continue to support as many concerts as I can when I am not in London.

“In the meantime, my warmest congratulations to the TCS for the performance of the Rachmaninov Bogoroditse Devo and also Tippett’s A Child of Our Time. I thought the performance of the Rachmaninov piece was really excellent and delivered with great sensitivity. The Tippett is of course both complex and, from a singer’s point of view, more demanding, but again my congratulations to everyone for their performance.”


Paul Comeau in rehearsal

Soprano Lorena Paz Nieto

Soprano Lorena Paz Nieto

headshot 1

Mezzo-soprano Claire Barnett-Jones

Alexander Bevan - Tenor

Tenor Alexander Bevan

Christopher Dollins - Bass

Bass Christopher Dollins


“Precise dynamic contrasts…”

Thanks to Judith Whitehouse for her highly enjoyable review, below, of our performance of Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, which also appeared in the West Briton. The concert was held in Truro Cathedral on Saturday, 21st March, and we were joined on the day by Truro School Chamber Choir, Truro School Choral Society and Cornwall Youth Choir, who had all rehearsed the piece separately. For our preview, which also appeared in the West Briton, head here.


Paul Comeau at rehearsal

“How do you like to spend your birthday? For Martin Palmer the answer is conducting Truro Choral Society plus two of Truro School’s choirs and the Cornwall Youth Choir — almost 200 voices in all — in Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle at Truro Cathedral.

“But first, he was given a present — the composer/pianist Paul Comeau, inspired by the coincidence of Palmer and JS Bach sharing a birthday (Bach’s 330th), produced a set of variations for piano and organ on Happy Birthday, played by himself and Cathedral Organ Scholar James Orford. I’m pretty sure it started with The Pink Panther, proceeding via I Do Like to Be Beside the Seaside and similar classics, culminating in a pastiche of Tchaikovsky. I thought I’d written them all down, but have mislaid my Chopin Liszt! Needless to say, great fun was had by all.

“You don’t expect fun in a solemn mass, but Rossini had other ideas — from the decidedly jaunty introduction on piano and organ (the Cathedral Father Willis impersonating the specified harmonium) the massed voices entered into the spirit of the work with precise dynamic contrasts and splendid intonation in the unaccompanied passages. The overtly operatic mood of the Gloria introduced the soloists — soprano Cheryl Rosevear and mezzo Rebecca Smith blending ravishingly in their duet, bass Mark Williams powerful and dramatic, and tenor Anthony Mee in full ‘divo’ mode in Domine Deus, with irresistible Tiptoe Through the Tulips accompaniment from Comeau.

“Palmer’s direction made the most of Rossini’s idiosyncratic blend of genial exuberance and underlying devotional commitment, and the singing remained fresh, even in the excessively protracted Amens — 24 pages of them! The chorus also blended well with the soloists — the Sanctus and Agnus Dei fittingly displaying a more serious mood. Splendid accompaniment throughout, even though Comeau and Orford couldn’t even see each other, adding to the mix of dignity and daftness that Rossini obviously intended — if only he’d cut some of those Amens!”
Thanks also to Sarah Griffiths Photography for these photographs. To see the whole album, visit our Facebook page.

James Orford

James Orford

Mark Williams

Mark Williams

Anthony Mee, tenor

Anthony Mee

Cheryl Rosevear, soprano, and Rebecca Smith, mezzo

Cheryl Rosevear and Rebecca Smith




Christmas celebrations

IMG_7097After the hugely enjoyable performance of the Coronation Mass, Music Director Martin Palmer moved swiftly on to focus the choir on preparing the Christmas programme for the December concerts to be held at St Piran’s RC Church, Truro, and Eden Project. Along with a beautiful selection of carols, including the Sans Day and Coventry Carol, and a couple of our favourite movements from the Messiah, Palmer also picked the Spirituals by Tippett. A collection of eight-part works, the Spirituals required careful rehearsal and members were very pleased to be able to give a worthy performance of them on 19th December at St Piran’s. Accompanying us were Truro Symphony Orchestra and four impressive young soloists: James Orford, the current TCS accompanist and Truro Cathedral organ scholar; Paul-Ethan Bright and Charlie Murray, who are both members of Truro Cathedral Choir and have performed as soloists with TCS in the past; and Eleanor Sullivan, who not only delighted with her beautiful soprano voice but also gave an exquisite recital of Mozart’s Oboe Concerto.

10888436_840571965985494_901391932721206232_nAnother big part of the evening was our decision to be part of CLIC Sargent’s Cornish Christmas Countdown, and a collection was held during the interval and at the end, raising the fantastic amount of £650. CLIC Sargent provide clinical, practical and emotional support to children and young people who have been diagnosed with cancer. Thanks to their work, Cornish families have access to free self-catering accommodation at the charity’s Home from Homes in Bristol, allowing them both to stay close to their child receiving treatment and to stay together as a family. The charity also provides funds for two specialist CLIC Sargent nurses and three social workers across the county to support those affected by cancer at home; in 2013, they were able to help 74 Cornish families. For further information on the charity’s work and how to donate, visit www.clicsargent.org.uk.

The morning after the concert, a smaller version of the choir, the orchestra members and the soloists headed to Eden Project to do almost exactly the same thing all over again, in the relaxed and beautiful setting of the Citrus Grove in the Mediterranean Biome. Listeners perched on low, whitewashed walls by nascent vines or knelt on rugs nearby, and birds once again joined in with the performance – “It was wonderful to hear the music and voices rising up round the biome,” a visitor told us afterwards.

Returning after the Christmas break, we welcomed a representative from CLIC Sargent to our first rehearsal, where we were all delighted to be able to hand over a cheque for the £650 that had been raised on 19th December. And the West Briton and EnjoyTruro.co.uk kindly recorded the handover.

A perfect way to wrap up 2014.

CLIC Sargent Photo 2 original

CLIC Sargent volunteer representative Katie Wild receiving the cheque for £650 from TCS