HCS cannot meet in person – but the singing continues online

Like all singing groups and choral societies we cannot meet at the moment but that doesn’t mean to say that our tradition of singing and enjoying choral music together has to stop.

Our Musical Director, Peter Asprey has organised a brilliant series of weekly sessions on zoom, with over two thirds of members tuning in. Highlights have included regular vocal sessions exploring, for example, looking at the role of the tongue and the production of vowels and consonants. We have also been learning specific pieces such as Tallis ‘If ye love me.’

On 11th May we had a Spem in Alium lockdown special where we took a look and listen to Tallis’ famous 40-part motet in the company of Helen Ashby from early music vocal ensemble, Stile Antico. Stile Antico recorded a superb version in lockdown to commemorate 40 days in isolation. You can listen to it and donate here.

This week, we enjoyed an evening looking at some of the history behind Haydn’s Nelson Mass and an opportunity to meet our soprano for this concert, Hilary Cronin. HCS members heard about Hilary’s experiences of life as a young singer in London and asked her lots of questions via the chat.

In coming week’s we will continue our vocal development sessions including some entitled ‘Pass the time with Pastime’ where we will be learning the music to Henry VIII’s ‘Pastime with Good Company’, one of the pieces from our proposed summer programme. We are then going to record it – so watch our for that!

Then, to end the ‘term’, we will be getting into teams to find out the answer to that much-asked question: who are the most knowledgeable, erudite members of Henley Choral Society? We are all preparing to get our brains in gear and musical ears honed for this bumper musical extravaganza.

We are so grateful to Peter and his fabulous guests for using their skills and talents to celebrate and keep alive our love of choral music until the time we can meet together and perform once again.