Fordingbridge Choral Society
President : Mr Beverley Manning MA, MusB, FRCO
Fordingbridge Choral Society is based in the town of Fordingbridge in Hampshire, with around 40 members drawn from Fordingbridge and the surrounding area. Our repertoire ranges from madrigals and part songs to the great choral masterpieces. The works of Bach, Brahms, Handel, Bernstein, Purcell and Haydn have all featured in our concerts.
Our main performance venue is St. Mary's Church in Fordingbridge, but we have also appeared in a wide variety of churches and halls throughout the area.
The above photograph was taken in May 2011 with our former Musical Director, Ivy Tan, who has since resigned for personal reasons.
Fordingbridge Choral Society is very pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Nigel Edwards as our conductor and he took up this post officially in January 2013. Briefly, he is a professional musician, has also worked with other choirs, and is a proficient keyboard player, specifically piano, organ and harpsichord. Nigel was a chorister at St Paul's Cathedral, a music scholar at Canford School, and studied at The Royal College of Music. For many years he was an orchestral violinist with the BBC, and has played with the LSO, Philharmonia, BSO and others including the renowned choral directors David Willcocks and Stephen Cleobury.The Choral Society's first concert under Nigel's baton will be on Saturday 15th June 2013 at 7 30pm in St Mary's Church, Fordingbridge - please put this date in your diary and join us on what we hope will be a fine summer evening. This programme will include the much-loved Ave Verum Corpus and Exultate Jubilate with the distinguished local soprano Julie Vivienne. Since graduating from the Royal Academy of music in 1990 Julie has sung in concerts and operas all over the UK. and the U.S.A. Her operatic roles include Santuzza in Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana, Amelia in Verdi's A masked Ball, Marguerite in Gounod's Faust, Marzelline in Beethoven's Fidelio, Pamina in Mozart,s Magic Flute, and The Governess in Britten's Turn of the Screw. She also has a passion for sacred music and has performed in numerous sacred works and oratorios with many fine choirs and orchestras. Julie is an experienced performer of Lieder, participating in many lieder recitals. She has performed the beautiful Four Last Songs of Richard Strauss with orchestra no less than three times. She is also a fine pianist and flautist.
The main work in this concert will be the exuberant Moxart Vespers K339. Complementing this can be heard some of Tchaikovsky's remarkable music which he wrote for the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Membership of the Society is open to all who enjoy singingand you will be very welcome. If you would like to join us, please get in touch with the Secretary. At the moment there are particular vacancies for first soprano and bass voices in the choir, and the conductor would welcome any reasonably skilled sight singers in this department. Come and give us a try! We rehearse on a Wednesday evening in term-time in Fordingbridge United Reformed Church, Salisbury Street, from 7:30 pm until 9 15pm.
Even if you are unable to sing with us, you can still support us by becoming an Associate member. Benefits include discounted concert tickets. Contact the Secretary for more details.
Rehearsals began on Wednesday 3rd October 2012 to work on Handel's Messiah which was performed as our Christmas concert on Saturday 8th December in St Mary's Church (a week earlier than usual). John Birch kindly agreed to lead us in singing this popular music and we presented the "Christmas" part accompanied by soloists and a small orchestra. The programme was completed with some Advent carols.
In 2012 we presented Mozart's Coronation Mass in recognition of Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee. This concert was in St Mary's Church, Fordingbridge (SP6 1BB) on Saturday 26th May starting at 7 30pm. Our conductor was Mr John Birch, the organ wasplayed by past conductor and current president Mr Beverley Manning, and the programme included other choral works from the coronation in 1952 as well as orchestral items featuring strings, oboe and trumpet. A similar programme was presented at a concert on the following Wednesday 30th May at Trinity Church, Ringwood. We gave an informal concert in St Mary's Church Hall featuring music from around the world, and this was followed by an end-of-term party! Sadly Kumi Preston is unable to continue as our accompanist and we wish her a successful future.
We presented a "come and sing" performance of G F Handel's ever popular work "Messiah" on Wednesday 3 November 2010 at 7 30pm in our usual rehearsal venue, the United Reformed Church in Salisbury Street, Fordingbridge.
We were invited to present a concert of Christmas music at All Saints Church, St Leonards and St Ives on Wednesday 15 December 2010 in aid of this church's funds and also motor neurone disease. The conclusion of this Christmas season was our traditional concert in St Mary's Church, Fordingbridge on a very seasonally cold and snowy Saturday 18 December at 7 30pm, although this was tinged with sadness because it was the last time that John Soper conducted us before he left us. However, we are delighted that Ivy Tan has taken over John's baton when we resumed rehearsals in January 2011.
Under the baton of our Musical Director Ivy Tan we presented a spring concert in St Mary's Church on Saturday 21 May. We sang music by Gluck, Beethoven, Farrant, Tallis, Byrd, Gilbert and Sullivan, Thompson, Kodaly and Purcell to an appreciative audience on a warm and sunny evening, assisted by our new and very talented pianist Kumi Preston. Ivy's energetic approach and attention to detail has improved the standard of our singing. Our autumn term included a "come and sing" performance in October of Faure's "Requiem". During Ivy's leave of absence John Soper returned as our guest conductor when in December we presented another concert of Christmas music at All Saints Church, St Leonards and St Ives on Wednesday 14 December and our traditional local Christmas concert in St Mary's Church on Saturday 17 December. A small group of carol singers from FCS were invited again this year to entertain guests at The Bell, Brook on Christmas Eve.
After the summer holidays we started work on the programme for our Christmas Carol concert held on Saturday 19th December 2009 in St Mary's Church at 7 30pm as usual. Our conductor, John Soper, had compiled a very interesting programme entitled "Hodie Christus natus est" to include this work by Heinrich Schutz and other Christmas music and carols for the audience too. Our traditional mulled wine and mince pies were served in the interval. FCS participated in the BBC's "Sing" project and invited local singers to join a workshop and performance of the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah on Wednesday 25th November at 7 30pm at our usual rehearsal venue, the United Reformed Church in Salisbury Street, Fordingbridge. (SP6 1AB). Conductor John Soper offered a workshop/rehearsal of this popular chorus, accompanied on the organ by Celia Cologne, and then we did indeed sing "Hallelujah" after which everyone enjoyed refreshments. Donations towards Children in Need amounted to £241.50 and it was a very enjoyable evening.
The first concert of 2010 was on Saturday 13th March (three weeks before Easter) in St Mary's Church. We presented Poulenc's Gloria, Five Mystical Songs by Vaughan Williams and Fauré's Requiem accompanied on the organ by Mr Christopher Dowie and joined by two soloists -soprano Rebecca Weatherall and baritone Robert Evans. Tickets cost £10 at the door, or £8 in advance from Fordingbridge Bookshop, FCS members or via the Secretary Mrs P Crocker We sang "Scenes from the Bavarian Highlands" by Edward Elgar and "A Sprig of Thyme": folk songs by John Rutter on Wednesday 23 June 2010 at 7 30pm in the Victoria Rooms, Bridge Street, Fordingbridge, and we presented a summer concert in Ringwood's Trinity church on the evening of Saturday 26 June 2010.
Our summer concert was an informal event held in St Mary's Church Hall, opposite St Mary's Church in Fordingbridge , on Saturday 27th June 2009. The programme featured excerpts from Edward German's "Merrie England" - a new and original comic opera written in 1902. We also presented a selection of popular opera choruses by Bizet, Handel, Puccini, Tchaikowsky, Verdi and Wagner.
The Choral Society's Christmas concert which our conductor entitled "Awake, Ye Drowsy Mortals All" took place in St Mary's Church, Fordingbridge on Saturday 20th December 2008 at 7 30 pm. As well as Christmas carols old and new we include d Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Christmas Carols' and sang some music from the Mellstock Band's carol book. As usual, mulled wine and mince pies were served during the interval to a large audience on this last Saturday before Christmas.
When rehearsals recommence in January we started working hard on the all-Vivaldi programme planned for our spring concert on Saturday 28th March 2009 also in St Mary's Church, Fordingbridge. Two choral items were performed - the ''Gloria'and 'Magnificat' and we were treated to a breathtaking performance of'The Four Seasons' featuring solo violinist Piotr Kopec.
The main concert this year was a performance of Brahms' Requiem (Sung in English) with Soprano : Charlotte Woods, Baritone : Sam Brassington and accompanied on the organ by Christopher Dowie
Our summer concert - a lighter weight presentation - was on 28 June in St Mary's Hall when we performed a selection of church music, “On Broadway” by Rogers and Hammerstein and “In Concert” by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
The 2006 Christmas concerts were on Sunday December 10th at St. Mary's Church, Redlynch; Monday December 11th at 7:30 p.m. in Ringwood Methodist Church; and on Saturday December 16th at 7:30 p.m. in St. Mary's Church, Fordingbridge.
Our Spring Concert was on 10th March '07 at St Mary's Church Fordingbridge and includd Handel's "Zadok the Priest"; Faure's "Cantique de Jean Racine", an anthem attributed to Haydn called "Insanae et vanae curae", and the beautiful "Mass of the Children" by John Rutter. For most of these works we were augmernted by a choir of fifty trained childrens voices from Forres Sandle Manor School, and accompanied by a Chamber Orchestra and Organ (played by Beverley Manning).
In June we held our annual informal concert of madrigals, anthems and part songs.
The Society welcomed their new conductor Mr. John Soper, and performed their Christmas concert at Fordingbridge Parish Church on Saturday 17th December at 7.30 p.m. This year the principal work was somewhat more lighthearted than on previous occasions – namely Bob Chilcott's “The Twelve Days of Christmas” (the usual tune with some interesting alterations); and the choir also sang Holst's “Christmas Day”. There was a variety of other Christmas music, including some carols from Australia, and an opportunity for all to join in the singing of some familiar carols. The accompanists were Ruth Ramsden (piano) and Stephen Rothwell (organ).
The Easter concert was in St. Mary's Church, Fordingbridge on Saturday 1st of April, when the main work was Bach's motet 'Jesu Meine Freude'. Also in the programme were four Bruckner Motets, and the Allegri "Miserere'. On this occasion our own members sang the solo parts and we were accompanied on the organ by Mr.Christopher Dowie.
On Sunday 20th March 2005 we gave a performance of Handel's 'Messiah' in St. Mary's Church, Fordingbridge. The soloists were all drawn from the choir, and the orchestra was led by Anita O'Brien. This performance marked the end of Beverley Manning's tenure as conductor of the society, a post he has held for nineteen years.
The Society is grateful to all those individuals and organisations who have provided support and sponsorship over the years. In particular, we would like to thank the Fordingbridge office of Bassets Estate Agents for both financial support and for help with the printing of concert publicity and programmes. We are very appreciative of this contribution. We are also grateful to Fordingbridge Town Council, New Forest District Council, and Hampshire County Council for their support over the last few years.
We would be only too pleased to hear from any other business or organisation who would like to consider sponsoring, or contributing to one of our concerts.
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