Former Chichester Cathedral chorister Jonathan Kilhams is delighted to be bringing Weybridge Male Voice Choir to his home county.
Musical director Jonathan is offering a concert at Arundel Cathedral on Saturday, November 1 at 7pm for CAFOD, the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Jonathan was a choirboy at Chichester for many years and head chorister in 2003. His family have lived in Fontwell since 2003.
“It’s going to be lovely to come back,” says Jonathan, who now lives in Chertsey.
“Having been a chorister, I am now conducting choirs. One of them is the Weybridge Male Voice Choir which is about 70 men strong, and they do all the programme off by heart, which is very impressive. Most choirs would use music, but I have got a strong view they should do without. They perform so much better. They are looking at me for starters! They are more together, and they are more engaging. The audience wants to see their faces!
“I have sung in Arundel a few times, but I have never conducted there. It is a fantastic acoustic to sing in. It’s a very rewarding one. It’s different to Chichester. It is more resonant. For a big male-voice choir, the sound will reverberate around the cathedral very well. For this concert, Arundel is perhaps more appropriate as the charity we have got on board is a Catholic aid charity. We are looking more in Arundel for our audience, Arundel being the Catholic cathedral for the south. That’s how the choir works. They do events for charities, and we are the guests of that charity event.”
For Arundel, they will be joined by singing duo The Opera Bellas who will perform a section in each half and also come together with the choir at the end.
The choir will get things off to a rousing start with When the Saints go Marching in. The night will conclude with You Raise Me Up.
“I have been based in Surrey now since while I was at Royal Holloway University of London. I studied music. I got the chance to start conducting while I was there, and that was really where I came into my forte, so to speak. I started singing with choirs from when I got my audition (at Chichester) with (organist and master of the choristers) Alan (Thurlow), and even before that at my primary school in West Wittering, so this was really my chance to make a mark on choirs. I loved conducting at university, and I realised that was what I wanted to do. I wanted to be the one in charge!
“I took up a musical director’s job at a church in Shepperton which I am still doing now. I did that while I was studying in my final year at university, and then word of mouth built up. The Weybridge Male Voice Choir approached me in January this year and said they were looking for someone.
“It was very flattering, but I am very ambitious and am very enthusiastic about any involvement at all. It was a bit different for me, and I knew it was going to be exciting. I took it on, and since then the choir has really grown, not just in terms of numbers but also in professionalism. They have built up a reputation over the years as being a choir that will always pull it out of the bag with a fantastic performance.”
For tickets and more details, visit www.weybridgemvc.org.uk or call 01932 247747.