Back to the Rehearsal Room

Last Thursday saw us return to Wellingborough Pre-Prep School’s hall for our first rehearsal for the Christmas Concert.  An early start, to enable us to pick up the new music and to meet and chat with our chorister friends old and new, following the Summer break, got us off to a good start.

Our DoM, Lee, was typically interesting and amusing with his anecdotes and a bit of musical history, as we began to find our way into the Hayden “Missa Sancti Nicolai” and Rutter’s “All Bells in Paradise”, both promising to enable us to build on last Easter’s successful and exciting concert.

It was great to see welcome new members who, I am sure, will enjoy the experience, both musical and social, that being a member of the Wellingborough Singers provides.

If you are reading this, and not yet a member, why not come along on Thursday evening and see what it’s like?  There is no audition, and most of us do not “read” music, so it’s great for everyone.

What a Super Concert!

Wow, what a success!  Your blogista (have I invented that name – maybe it’s just too many americanos at Costa!) was able to get to this Spring, Jubilate Deo concert and sit in the audience for the first time, having stood on the stage with the choir many times before.  As a chorister, one is never really sure how things have gone, so it must have been great for all concerned to see the audience rise for a well-deserved standing ovation.

My fellow choir members will know that my preferred composers are all a long time deceased, and I had a real concern when I realised that Jubilate Deo’s composer was a lot younger that our children, so I came to the United Reform Church anticipating an evening of “modern music” i.e. atonal cacophony.  How wrong I was!  Jubilate Deo was tuneful, uplifting and sung well with an excellent orchestra and soloists.

To have found someone who could play the Chinese Erhu and the Hammered Dulcimer was something of a triumph, too.  The former adding an authentic and haunting background to the 3rd item “Ta cao chang de yang”, sung in Mandarin Chinese, while as Dan Forrest himself said it was probably the first time that a real Hammered Dulcimer had actually been used to play the score, as written.

Here’s what Lee had to say to the choir members, after the event, which encapsulates everything very well, and saves me rabbiting on: –

“Dear Wellingborough Singer

Well, where to start? 1 conductor, 14 instrumentalists, 69 singers, and 225 in the audience.  That’s 309 people sharing a quite remarkable evening last Saturday.

What a joyful noise it was right from the beginning to the end.  The opening Vaughan Williams had plenty of light and shade, and a really stunning climactic final section. And from there we went on to The Lark Ascending.
There is no doubt that the acoustics of the space, designed so that a single preacher could be heard in every corner of the building, helped the violin soar.

We were so delighted that Chris White was able to step in after our planned soloist had to withdraw, and what a beautiful sound he made from beginning to end.

Of course, the interval was rather longer than anticipated – with over 300 people’s thirst to quench (amongst other essential interval activities) it was inevitable – but the second half was well worth the wait.  All your the work paid off!  We had tender and beautiful moments, esoteric sounds, and climaxes the like of which have not been heard in Wellingborough before.  Even in my wildest dreams I didn’t imagine that it would come off as well as Carmina Burana had done last year, but it did – indeed, it was even better.

I have offered my thanks (indeed our thanks) to the soloists, instrumentalists, and the wonderful singers from NMPAT, and if you are able to access Facebook you will have seen a plethora of wonderful photos, a video of our dulcimer player in action, and a superb video of the standing ovation at the end of the concert.  I also offer continued thanks to Steve, to Gesa and the committee, to everyone who assisted in the logistics, and especially to you all for continuing to make music live (in both senses of the word)”

Almost Concert Time!

We are so excited about Saturday’s concert.  Us, youth choir, organ, tons of percussion, Chinese Fiddle, Hammered Dulcimer, soloists, Zulu, Spanish, Arabic, instruments!  Don’t miss it.

7:30pm at Wellingborough URC.

Free parking, £12 including refreshments and programme.
Dr. Brady Allred conducts the 3rd movement of Dan Forrest’s “Jubilate Deo.”  The combined choirs of the Salt Lake Choral Artists performed this 7-movement work on October 15, 2016 in Libby Gardner Concert Hall, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.

4th April Rehearsal

And in case you were wondering … this is what we were rehearsing last night for our Spring Concert! And in case you are still wondering, Zulu … they’re singing Zulu, and we’ll be singing Zulu (as well as English, Latin, Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese).

Also, the five-foot poster is up outside Wellingborough High Street URC for our concert on May 11. And just like last year the blossom is out, too.

Christmas Concert Rehearsals Progressing

We are working hard at the weekly rehearsals to master Puccini’s Messa di Gloria and John Rutter’s Carols ready for our December Concert.  Our DoM, Lee Dunleavy, has finalised the programme, which should be really enjoyable for us, and our audience.  We have had Christmas Concerts since the choir was founded back in 1980 and every time it has been a real pleasure to sing for and with our audience, which joins us for some of the carols, singing lustily!

Here’s the programme: –

Puccini – Messa di Gloria (ed. Linckelmann)

Rutter – Angels’ Carol, Nativity Carol, Shepherd’s Pipe Carol, Star Carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas, What sweeter music, and arrangements of popular carols for choir, audience, organ, and orchestra.

A Great Summer Party

We had a super evening at Wellingborough School for our Summer Party. After drinks on the Headmaster’s Lawn, we moved inside for a fabulous buffet and an intriguing rendition of Carmina Wellingburiensis (sic).  Great to see friends and relatives amongst the large gathering!

Lots of people have been asking what we were singing at our Social Supper … well we were in a school hall, so Gesa discovered this local version of Carmina Burana: –

And here is our Chair, Gesa, and librettist of “Carmiina Wellingburana” conducting a rendition of this new work at the party

Another Spring Concert Success

Your blogist was unfortunately unable to participate in Saturday’s concert, so can only report on the comments from independent concert-goers –  which were universally positive.  “Sounded great”;  “Great soloists”;  “Baritone soloist  was great”; “The tenor was very good, too”;  “Loved the amazing range of the soprano soloist”, and “Couldn’t understand the words, but the whole thing was super” were typical comments.  As the “words” are in Old German Latin, Old German or plain Latin, it’s hardly surprising that they were incomprehensible, and a very good reason why there was  a translation!

The big second half aria – all the way up to top B for the Baritone – he drove to sing for us all the way from Mannheim in Germany!
The Keith Crompton Percussion Ensemble relax between movements!
And here’s the full choir, conductor, soloists, pianists and percussionists et al!

To quote our Director of Music, “We had an absolute “blast” on Saturday in Carmina Burana.  So, many thanks to all who performed, assisted, or came to support us. We’re already looking ahead to next term and Puccini’s “Messa di Gloria”!

Another Spring Concert under the choir’s belts, and it turned out to be a very enjoyable one too, somewhat to the surprise of the choristers perhaps, who were finding the tongue twisting speed of some the piece a problem to start with!

Now for the Summer break, the Annual Party and then back to rehearsals for the Christmas Concert on 8 December 2018, which should be another enjoyable event, so put the date in your diary!

A Postcard from Puccini! 

Final Rehearsal about to start!

Right … that’s the Wedding done. FA Cup to follow. Then … zip over to the “Pork Pie” Church for Carmina Burana at 7:30! We’re almost set up, and are ready to rehearse.

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Looking forward to performing Carmina Burana on 19 May!

The Wellingborough Singers are delighted to return to the United Reformed Church (commonly known as the Pork Pie church, due to its distinctive shape) to perform one of the classics of choral music – Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Seating for this concert is entirely unreserved (doors open at 7:00pm), but all seats have a good view, the acoustics are excellent, and all the pews have excellent cushions!

The Interior of Wellingborough URC


If you’re a child of the 1970s, it may well have been the Old Spice advert. If you hail from a younger generation, it will almost certainly be The X Factor. Or maybe you remember its regular comical use in Only Fools and Horses. Perhaps you even know it as the accompaniment to which Gillingham Football club players run onto the pitch at home games at the Priestfield stadium. One thing’s for sure, though: the vast majority of people who know and love the famous “O Fortuna” that opens Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana have first come across it not through a performance of the work, but via its use in countless television shows, commercials and films.

At less than three minutes, “O Fortuna” is only one very small part of this mammoth cantata. Orff was at pains to point out the non-religious nature of the work in its title: Carmina Burana is subtitled “Cantiones profanæ cantoribus et choris cantandæ comitantibus instrumentis atque imaginibus magicis”, translating as “secular songs for singers and choruses to be sung together with instruments and magic images”.

Composed in the 1930s and inspired by a set of medieval poems, Carmina Burana was first performed in Frankfurt in June 1937, to great acclaim. Orff knew he had a hit on his hands, and he was fortunate enough to see the work’s rapid rise in popularity during the course of his own lifetime. Whilst it is often performed with large orchestra, Orff recognised the potential of an accompaniment of two pianos and no fewer than six percussionists, and it is in this version we perform the work.

Carl Orff


We are delighted to welcome back former Musical Director Ian Runnells alongside our own répétiteur Steve Garfirth as our two pianists, and indeed to the Keith Crompton Percussion Ensemble. Local soloists Jessica Smith (an aluma of The Sixteen’s Genesis project), Robert Tilson (graduate of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire), and Reuben Willcox (graduate of the Julliard School in New York) complete the line up.

The Exterior of Wellingborough URC


Just opposite the church is Jackson’s Lane Car Park which is free of charge and has over 150 parking spaces. If you have mobility needs please get in touch with us and we will endeavour to organise parking right by the church on either Queen Street or Salem Lane. The church is fully wheelchair accessible, and the church was designed with excellent sight lines in mind.