Chester Competitive Festival of Performing Arts – 24th April 2010

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It seems that one of our choir’s trademarks that have emerged over the years is our tendancy to take risks, with that in mind we entered ourselves into two classes at the Chester Competitive Festival of Performing Arts with largely brand new repertoire. The received wisdom is to play it safe and stick with well-known material but we seem to thrive on the extra tension. In fact we had performed only one of our pieces previously but it hardly seemed to matter.

In the Madrigal class we performed Now Is The Gentle Season; The Fields Abroad by Thomas Morley and Weep, O Mine Eyes by John Bennet and were awarded The Nicholson Rose Bowl. In the Mixed Choir class we performedSuccession of the Four Sweet Months, the second of Benjamin Britten’s Five Flower Songs, and Data Est Mihi Omnis Potestas, one of James MacMillan’s Strathclyde Motets. We received excellent comments for both classes but special praise was reserved for the latter of these classes by the adjudicator, Jeffrey Wynn Davies, who spoke of hairs going up on the back on his neck and of the power we achieved in this dramatic and challenging piece and awarded us 89 marks and a “Distinction” in addition to the trophy, The Nicholson Bowl.

The results of our efforts also yielded us a further piece of silverware in the shape of the coveted Oriana Cup for the highest mark across all of the choir classes. Needless to say, we were extremely happy with our day’s work.