New music director appointed at Billingshurst Choral Society

A new music director has been appointed at Billingshurst Choral Society (BCS) to kick off an exciting new season following a ‘nightmarish’ 16 months of having to halt indoor rehearsals due to Covid-19.

Monday, 16th August 2021, 10:52 am

Márcio da Silva will take on the role next month after accepting the position in July, and he is now looking forward to future programmes with the prospect of rehearsals being able to commence as normal from September.

Márcio said: “I’m very pleased and I appreciate this opportunity to work with BCS. I know that the choir has performed a varied repertoire and sung in amazing places like Carnegie Hall in New York.

“It’s going to be very exciting to build on what the choir has already achieved in its illustrious past.”

M?rcio da Silva will be Billingshurst Choral Society's new music director from September SUS-210308-150419001

Márcio was born in Belo Horizonte, Brazil in 1983, studied piano and voice at an early age and moved to Germany to concentrate on choral and orchestral conducting.

He came to London in 2011 to undertake a masters at the Royal College of Music.

Some may associate Márcio’s name with Woodhouse Opera Festival near Dorking, where he was artistic director from 2012 until its final season in 2018, which featured electrifying performances of Donizetti’s ‘L’Elisir d’Amore’ and Puccini’s ‘La Bohème’.

Joy Baggs, an active member of BCS, said: “Márcio needs little introduction to followers of classical music in the South East: an immensely talented musician, professional baritone, music director of several choirs, artistic director and principal conductor of Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra, stage and music director of Ensemble OrQuesta, a composer, singing teacher and voice coach; we are delighted that he will be adding BCS to his impressive curriculum vitae.”

The well-established choir which has around 80 members was set to start up again on Tuesday, May 18, when, without warning, the Government updated the guidance to say that, in England, non-professional singing could only take place in groups of up to six people indoors.

BCS said the new rules – published a day after a significant relaxation of Covid restrictions, and contravening to musicians’ expectations – were met with anger, upset and despair.

But the group says there is finally light at the end of the tunnel.

Keith Paul, chairman of BCS, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Márcio as our new MD, a truly inspirational and talented musician.

“We are looking forward to working with him and I’m excited about this new era in the development and success of BCS.”

The choir enjoys a wide repertoire, ranging from music by Bach, Handel and Beethoven to Mendelssohn, Verdi, Vaughan Williams and Gilbert and Sullivan. It also includes modern composers such as Chilcott, Goodall, Rutter and Todd. As well as performing locally, the group also embarks on venues further afield.

The society usually rehearses every Tuesday evening from 7.30pm to 9.45pm during term time.

Joy, BCS member, said: “When we commence in September, the rehearsal will be at The Billingshurst Community and Conference Centre (Village Hall), Roman Way.

“New members are always welcome and if you are interested in joining BCS, please refer to our website and use the contact details there.

“You will be invited to come along to one of our rehearsals to sing or simply listen.

“This will give you the opportunity to meet the members, our new music director and to get a sense of the wonderful camaraderie that pervades the choir.

“Under the baton of our new music director, Márcio da Silva, we can promise our choir members an inspirational and highly-charged rehearsal each week and, for our faithful audiences, an exciting and stimulating future concert programme.”

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