Articles tagged with: Frome Voices

Seclusion Discs – Karolyn Curle

Seclusion Discs – Karolyn Curle

We have asked our friends and tutors, while they are marooned in isolation, which 8 tracks mean the most to them, so we can share some new listening ideas with you and find out a bit more about them. This week, Office Manager Karolyn Curle, introduces her picks.

Our Office Manager, Karolyn, joined the Jackdaws team in May 2012 having previously worked at the Merlin Theatre in Frome as the Front of House Manager. If you have booked on to a Jackdaws course or event in the last eight years, chances are that you have emailed or spoken to Karolyn personally.

“I’ve really enjoyed delving through my record collection and musical memory for this piece. Music has always played an important part in my life, and although I’m not a great musician I appreciate the ways in which it has influenced and empowered me. My love of singing in choirs has brought me a lot of pleasure, particularly in recent years, and created some wonderful friendships along the way”

Track One: Abba – Dancing Queen
There was always music playing at home and in the car during my childhood, but this was the first song that made me aware that music could make me ‘feel’ something. The first notes take me right back to my first year at school and a disco in the main hall; the music embraces me and I’m filled with the joy of the moment, it still makes me smile!

Track Two: Vivaldi – ‘Gloria in excelsis’, Gloria
I enjoyed and embraced all musical opportunities at school and was fortunate to have some wonderful teachers. My time at the small village Primary School was filled with recorder lessons and ensemble groups and lots of singing; choirs, assemblies and church services. However, my favourite activity was the weekly BBC ‘Singing Together’ radio broadcast – according to my teacher, Miss Kynaston, I was an enthusiastic member of the class!

At Secondary School I learned piano and clarinet, and continued to enjoy singing in choirs and school productions. The highlight was a performance of Vivaldi ‘Gloria’ under the direction of Head of Music, Ruth Phillips, in a local church. This was my first experience of singing choral music with a large group, as an alto in the chorus, the opening bars still fill me with that sense of nervous excitement.

Track Three: Fairground Attraction – Allelujah
Through my teens I loved having a record player in my room, buying new vinyl with money from my Saturday job at the Roman Baths. I was drawn to music with a folk/roots base and female singers in particular. It was hard to narrow down the choice here, in the end, Eddi Reader won. My choice is not the wonderfully popular ‘Perfect’, still heard on tv and radio today, but the more wistful ‘Allelujah’ which brings the album to a close. I love the dreamy, wistful quality of this waltz, the sweeping range of the vocals and the positive and uplifting lyrics.

Track Four: Oysterband – Love Vigilantes
I had great fun during my ‘year out’ working at Our Price in Bath, where I met so many amazing people who introduced me to an even wider range of music. There were two branches of Our Price in Bath at that time – the cool shop was on Union Street, where new releases and cutting edge sounds filled two floors and then there was the more sedate branch in old Southgate shopping centre, that’s where I worked! We sold an awful lot of Phil Collins and Eric Clapton I seem to remember…

This track is a favourite find from that year and blends my love of folk with a new discovery of Indie; an Oysterband arrangement of a New Order track.

Track Five: The Cranberries – Dreams
I studied English and Drama at Worcester College of Higher Education; Delores O’Riordan and her band provided the soundtrack for my final year and Dissertation writing! Having heard ‘Dreams’ on the radio (John Peel show, I think) I eagerly anticipated the album, which I bought on cassette tape (so that I could also play it in my car, of course!) the day it was released. I played it over and over, singing along with these anthems which seemed to sum up the angst I was feeling at the time.

‘Oh, my life is changing every day, in every possible way’.

Track Six: Hayseed Dixie – Holiday
Fast forward a few years, several house moves, a wedding and two children later and we’re on the road on family camping trips with Hayseed Dixie on the car i-pod. This song reminds me of those days, driving down through France with the car/trailer/van/bikes all packed up, to our favourite spot in the Loire, Le Chant D’Oiseau. Although ‘Holiday’ isn’t actually about a holiday it’s sweeping fiddle and chirpy banjo & mandolin never fail to remind me of family time and these journeys. Hayseed Dixie are an incredibly talented bunch of musicians, I’ve seen them live a few times and they never fail to entertain.

Track Seven: Handel – ‘His Yoke Is Easy’, from ‘Messiah’
This is one of my favourite choruses to sing, especially the way in which the music starts to sweep along towards the end, with longer notes and beautiful harmonies.
My Mum and I joined the choir of the first Frome Voices project in 2012, to rehearse and perform Handel’s ‘Messiah’. It was wonderfully uplifting and challenging at a time when I needed the support of music in my life, having recently been made redundant from my job at the Merlin Theatre due to cuts in Arts funding. Little did I know that the job at Jackdaws was just around the corner…

In January this year, Frome Voices again chose Messiah, and I once again found myself in the community of altos, making new friends and enjoying the sheer pleasure of singing the score. However, coronavirus restrictions arrived; rehearsals were stopped and the performance remains postponed, but this definitely isn’t the end of my journey with Frome Voices.

Track Eight: Johnny Flynn – Treasure
This song is the title music for the tv series ‘Detectorists’, one of my favourite programmes; currently available on i-player if you’ve not yet experienced it’s quiet charm. For me, this song evokes a feeling of appreciation for seeing the beauty in our surroundings and the small pleasures to be found in nature. I’m missing being at Jackdaws in my riverside office, but have been taking walks along the riverpath locally in Frome instead, listening and watching the spring unfurl day by day.

I’ve been a member of Jackdaws Songbirds community choir since 2007. Caroline Radcliffe our choir leader arranged ‘Treasure’ for us a few years ago, it was a delight to sing!

‘I heard the calls of all the songbirds, they sang all the wrong words’

Frome Voices sing Elijah

Frome Voices sing Elijah

Frome Voices LogoFrome Voices, a choir of over one hundred singers from various musical backgrounds, have chosen Felix Mendelssohn’s great oratorio Elijah for their annual concert. Taking place on Sunday 22nd March at the Cheese and Grain, Frome, at 7.30pm, the soloists will be Jackdaws Artistic Director Saffron van Zwanenberg, Jackdaws tutor Penelope Davies, 2012 Vocal Awards Finalist baritone Thomas Humphreys and tenor David Webb.

The Music

Elijah was first performed in the Birmingham Town Hall on the morning of 26th August 1846 with an orchestra of 125 and a choir of 79 sopranos, 69 altos (all male), 60 tenors and 72 basses. The performance was an immense success with The Times reporting “Never was there a more complete triumph, never a more thorough and speedy recognition of a great work of art”.

Structurally, the work is clearly influenced by the choral masterpieces of Bach and Handel, but its highly dramatic style, at times bordering on the operatic, constitutes a significant step forward from its baroque predecessors. Unlike many of these oratorios, Elijah does not follow a continuous story, but is a succession of tableaux depicting scenes from the prophet’s life, interspersed with prayer-like meditations.

Part One

Frome Voices ReheasalAhab, the King of Israel, has married Jezabel, the daughter of the Phoenician King of Sidon. Jezabel persuades Ahab that the worship of the Phoenician god Baal should become the official state religion, and that those who remained faithful to Jehovah should be punished. Elijah now appears and prophesies a drought in the land of Israel in punishment for their worship of this false new god. Ahab’s followers now search in vain for Elijah who has taken refuge with a widow in Zarephath, but she has only enough food for one meal. She is told by Elijah to trust in the Lord who will provide, and her stock of food is miraculously replenished during each night that Elijah spends in her house. During this time her son becomes ill and dies, but he is restored to life after Elijah prays three times over his body.

After three years Elijah returns to confront Ahab and challenges his priests to invoke the power of their god Baal by lighting a fire under a sacrificial offering on Mount Carmel. The priests pray in vain during which time they are mocked by Elijah who then prays to Jehovah who answers by sending down a column of fire which consumes the sacrifice. The people of Israel now repent, and the priests of Baal are executed. Elijah now prays to God for an end to the drought, and rain falls on the parched land.

“Never was there a more complete triumph” The Times, after Elijah’s first performance

Part Two

Elijah’s victory is short lived and Jezabel provokes the crowd against him, forcing him to retreat once more to the desert. He despairs over his inability to restore the Israelites back to the true faith, but an angel appears to him and instructs him to go the summit of Mount Horeb where the Lord will appear to him. There now comes a mighty wind followed by an earthquake, and finally a raging fire; Jehovah is not to be found in any of these, but he comes in a still, small voice which tells Elijah to return to Israel where he has a final confrontation with Ahab together with his son Ahaziah who both repent and return to the true faith. Elijah has been instructing his own successor, Elisha, who watches in awe and wonder as a fiery chariot with fiery horses appears, and the prophet is taken up into heaven in a whirlwind.

Mendelssohn’s Elijah
Frome Voices and Frome Symphony Orchestra
Sunday 22nd March 2015
Cheese & Grain, Frome
Tickets £10
Click here for Tickets

Frome Symphony Orchestra

“this local group is fast becoming a well honed and superbly musical entity” – Alastair Johnston on Frome Symphony

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards Winners 2014

Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards Winners 2014

On Friday 14 November, eight young finalists sang on the famous Wigmore Hall stage to compete for the Maureen Lehane Vocal Award first prize of £2,500.

Maureen Lehane Vocal Award Winners 2014Winners at the 2014 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards
1st Prize
Patrick Terry, Counter Tenor (25)
2nd Prize
Henry Neill, Baritone (25)
3rd Prize
Timothy Nelson, Baritone (27)
Audience Prize
Henry Neill, Baritone
Accompanist’s Prize
Rebecca Taylor (28), playing for Patrick Terry

Patrick is the first Counter Tenor to have won at the awards. Each finalist was required to present a 15 minute programme consisting of works by each of the two set composers – Peter Wishart and Handel – as well as two own choice selections. Patrick’s accompanist, Rebecca Taylor, was awarded the Accompanist’s Prize.

Jackdaws Artistic Director, and chair of the Adjudication Panel, Saffron van Zwanenberg said:

It was a wonderful afternoon of singing and playing from all of the finalists. Having chaired the last five finals I believe this year candidates performed to the highest overall standard on the day that we have seen. The panel were in agreement that the standard of singing, presentation and programming was very high and it was a very challenging adjudication as a result. The criteria of judging potential as well as achievement had to be extended to include all facets of performing as well as vocal potential in order for a decision to be made. The panel were unanimous in their decision, naming counter-tenor Patrick Terry as the winner, “He made me want to listen to what he had to say” (Simon Lepper).

The winners were selected by a distinguished panel of judges including Dame Felicity Palmer, Andrew Shore, Simon Lepper.

The awards form part of Jackdaws’ Young Artists Programme, one of the three main areas of Jackdaws’ work. The other two are our Weekend Courses for adult amateur musicians and Jackdaws Education, the outreach programme working with Somerset schools.

These awards would not have been possible without the help of certain individuals and organisations. Jackdaws wishes to thank The Rosemary Budgen Charitable Trust, Cooper Hall, Frome Voice, Geoffrey & Margaret Batten, the Jackdaws Trustees, Jessica Walker, Audrey Hyland, Ink Cap Designs and the Wigmore Hall for their own contributions to this year’s awards.

The Armed Man

The Armed Man

Rehearsals begin this Friday 31st January for Frome Voices production of Karl Jenkins’ powerful and acclaimed “The Armed Man“.

In 2013, the group performed Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, a beautiful work as challenging as it is moving. For this year’s production they have teamed up with Frome Symphony and professional soloists to present a community performance of ‘The Armed Man’ by living Welsh composer Karl Jenkins. The performance will be on March 29th at the Cheese & Grain, conducted by Alan Burgess with soloists provided by Jackdaws.

The Armed ManThe Armed Man was composed in 2000 and seems a fitting work for the year in which we commemorate the outbreak of the First World War. The composer subtitled the work, “A Mass for Peace”.

The music and words draw on poems and musical traditions from around the world, set around the Latin mass with the powerful central message of “better is peace than evermore war“.

“Better is peace than evermore war”

Starting as a UK Millennium commission, The Armed Man has had nearly one thousand performances since 2000, which equates to two per week somewhere in the world and makes it, along with Jenkins’ Requiem the most performed piece of Classical music by a living composer in the world today. This will be the first performance of the work in Frome.

The final performance will be on Saturday 29 March at the Cheese & Grain with Frome Symphony Orchestra.

Book your tickets on the Cheese & Grain website.

Search for a Course

Archives