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Review of 2011




The choirs were busy raising funds for charities during this time, and highlights included singing at Hylands House, Chelmsford, Maldon Parish Church and taking part in a performance of "Carmina Burana" in Chingford.  The year started with the annual National Holocaust Memorial Day Service at the Civic Centre, an event which is held in high esteem by the singers, who enjoy being able to enhance this important event with some new repertoire.


Summer 2011 montage


The Southend Girls' Choir gave their first concert with Southend Vox, a lively new community choir founded by one of the founder members of the Girls' Choir.  It was good to see some ex SGC girls singing with Southend Vox.  The choirs joined with the rest of the UK to celebrate the Royal Wedding by singing at the Street Party in Thorpe Bay Broadway.  After their annual concert at Southwold Parish Church, a day greatly enjoyed by all the singers, the choirs Summer performances included more local concerts, and an exciting performance of "Beowulf" in Priory Park.


Proms - The Gothic 

The highlight for many of the older singers in the Summer was taking part in the BBC Proms concerts, in a performance of Havergal Brian's "Gothic Symphony".  To be part of this enormous concert, broadcast live on Radio 3 was a great honour for the 80 singers involved. 



The chance to join with our friends from San Francisco was a great delight, as we hosted the choir in Southend for a few days.  The Summer Tour to South of France, via Besancon was a great event for the choirs, and the chance to sing in Monaco and Frejus Cathedrals was again an honour for the singers.



This season saw the choirs performing both locally for charities and also in London.  A charity concert by the Girls' Choir raised over £1000 for Macmillan Nurses, and a joint concert raised funds for Rotary International.  The Boys' Choir took part in "Carmina Burana" at the Royal Albert Hall, where the 89 boys performed to a packed capacity hall of over 6,000.  Older singers from both choirs performed a newly commissioned work by Richard Allain with the Southend Festival Chorus.  3 of our former Girls' Choir members are currently studying music at Christ Church Canterbury University, and it was a privilege to be able to host their chamber choir, Cantata in Southend for a concert during the Autumn.  A fun evening for 40 of the younger singers was the chance to take part in BBC Children in Need in Colchester, which was broadcast across both BBC East and nationally across the UK. 



December was, as usual, packed with a great variety of concerts, ranging from carol singing in Southend High Street, and entertaining at Christmas dinners,  to boys singing to guests at Claridges, and making recordings for national radio!   The range of music was also wide and varied.  Highlights for Christmas are always the wonderful London concerts, but a great highlight in Southend was the performance of Britten's "Ceremony of Carols", performed by a mixed group at Holy Trinity Church, accompanied by Louise O'Connor, local harpist. 


Ceremony of Carols


This is the first time in over 20 years that the choirs have performed this work in its entirety, and the concert attracted a capacity and enthusiastic audience. 

Xmas concert


The Southend Girls' Choir joined with Southend Vox at the Palace Theatre for an evening of wonderful Christmas music, performed by both choirs and compered by Noel Kelleway.  The London highlights included the Girls' Choir singing for the Lord Mayor of London at St Mary Woolnoth, and the joint choirs performing the annual "Spirit of Christmas"  at St Martin in the Fields.  This is always a great favourite for the singers.  Two fun concerts at Royal Albert Hall with Anton Du Beke were a great opportunity for the youngest singers to be involved in professional music making, and some of the girls had the chance to have their photos taken with Anton himself.   The year finished with the choirs' concert in the wonderful church of St James Piccadilly, where "Carols to Share" attracted an audience new to the choirs for an evening of well known, popular Christmas music.


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