Bill’s Blog ~ New Year update ~ Radio 3 and the American Dream

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The autumn term concerts included:
Msungu – an ‘African – themed’ concert at the Methodist church in Wivenhoe on Saturday November 5th. Msungu is the generic African name for European people in Africa and Quire (being mostly Europeans!) sung from their extensive African Repertory.

Music has no borders – a concert by Octavia at All Saints, Brightlingsea on Friday December 9th. Part of the church’s Christmas Tree Festival it was very well attended and they would like us back in 2017.

The main Quire concert was And is it true? on Friday 16th December at Lion Walk. A reflection by Africans and African-Americans on the infancy narrative. There were no traditional English Carols because the Africans prefer lots of celebration, angels and – yes! – there were some lovely songs about Mary.

On Sunday January 29th Quire featured on the BBC programme ‘Meet my choir’ on BBC Radio 3  Val Carter and Gwendal Moele spoke about their time with the group and what it means to them.

The Spring Term will feature no African music at all – because, being a World Music Choir, Quire has a hundred or more songs from Asia, Europe, North and South America, the Far East and Russia. We have decided to do a concert we call American Dream on March 31st at the Wilson Marriage Centre. This will feature songs from the collection of the singer Huddie Ledbetter – songs he wrote and songs he collected: Gospel, Blues, White and Black spirituals, Popular songs, Children’s songs. The concert will be at Wilson Marriage School. A return to a former venue for us because we so enjoyed our summer concert there in 2016.

We have a Quire in Education booking on April 26th at St Georges School, Colchester. Quire in Education is our chance to take a dozen singers in to schools to ‘give back’ to the community our songs and our fun!! The theme is going to be The Natural World.

On Thursday May 25th at 7.30pm at Colchester Arts Centre we will be previewing our summer programme with a concert From Brittany to Baltimore. This is our first visit as a full Quire to the Centre. (Previously we took the smaller groups). We will embrace the wealth of world music reflected in our French, Scottish and American song repertory.

In the summer there is a Brittany Trip for Octavia and Towering Angels over the weekend of June 2nd – 4th. Planning for this is well under way. We will be singing with Ensemble Vocal Ktema. The basic plan for us is to review our Shout!, Revelation, Pilgrim and Angel Band CDs with a selection of songs that will reflect our interest in French and Scottish song, North and Central American song and some African for our French counterparts to hear.

The end of term concert for Quire will be on Friday June 30th in the Swinburne Hall at the Colchester Institute.

Further ahead:
We have a plan to sing at the Hull City of Culture Festivities in the autumn term of 2017. Currently Val Carter is liaising with various venues, as well as the BBC who will record some of our work. We have reached the stage of booking coaches and accommodation so it is all beginning to get exciting!