Joined by the Sinfonia of Arun and conducted by Aedan Kerney, Worthing Choral Society take on one of the repertoire’s great masterpieces, Verdi’s Requiem in Worthing’s Assembly Hall on Saturday, March 24 at 7.30pm
.Aedan is under no illusions as to the enormity of the task ahead – one he is relishing.
“I feel that conducting Verdi’s Requiem is probably the greatest challenge of any choral conductor’s career. It is an enormous sing, both for choir and soloists.
“One conductor has written: ‘It is a huge great wind-machine of a thing, often labelled an opera in all but name. Drums thunder, trumpets blast, and a great chorus yells out in terror: Verdi’s Requiem isn’t what you might expect from religious music! But it’s exactly what you’d expect from the grand master of Italian opera.’ I’m already trembling at the thought, but a trembling caused more by excitement than fear!
“The 100 singers in the choir are well ahead in their rehearsals and love this music. I have been working to help them in particular to shape the long beautiful melodies, to understand the overall shape of the musical architecture and achieve a full dynamic range from the quietest to the loudest possible singing.
“I am working to give each singer in the chorus a sense of their own importance and vocal power so that they believe they can fill the Assembly Hall with enormous and exciting sound and also the quietest tender singing just on their own. I’m also keen that no stone is left unturned as we approach the performance.
“I am playing with positioning the chorus in a radical way so that the audience is surrounded by the sound, just as the eight trumpets do in the Dies Irae. The Dies Irae is probably one of the best known and loved pieces of classical music and my personal challenge is to do justice to this particular section of the work.
“I suppose the only way for me to know if this has worked is to ask the audience at the end of the concert!
“Beyond the Verdi the Choir has a busy programme ahead with a lovely Summer Concert on Saturday, June 23 at St Michael and All Angels Church in Lancing where the music will include Haydn’s Te Deum, Elgar’s From the Bavarian Highlands, Borodin’s Prince Igor, Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs and Tippett’s Five Spirituals from A Child of our Time.
“In October they will sing music from the West End and will end the year with a grand Christmas performance of Handel’s Messiah in the Assembly Hall on Saturday, December 1.”
Aedan added: “As with most choirs we always welcome new members. We appreciate that many people aspire to join a choir but may feel unable to because they consider that the ability to read music is a pre-requisite. Being able to sight read is of course useful but not essential, it is quite surprising how quickly those ‘tadpoles and telephone wires’ begin to make sense.
“We do not audition anyone wishing to join but expect them to be able to hear a note within their voice range and copy it. The choir is a team and we all work together to help each other to improve what singing skills we have and there is no lack of mutual support for anyone who wishes join us.
“We meet in Broadwater CofE Primary School, Rectory Gardens during term times. The rehearsal times are 7.30pm till 9.30pm with a short break.”
More details on www.worthingchoralsociety.co.uk.