Music in Rural Churches

Would you like to participate in a music recital?

This proposal is for Opus Anglicanum, a professional early music group, to create a series of recitals in village churches involving the local community in the East Anglia area.

June ’03 – June ’04

Singers from the area and from school and college choirs, choral societies, church choirs, music clubs, would combine to join O.A. in its concert by performing two or three collaborative items in the programme. The combined choir would participate for example in the opening and closing works, and another work mid-point. It would involve a rehearsal in advance with the group’s director, and a rehearsal with the group on the day itself.

Interesting, unusual and rewarding pieces, unfamiliar but not in themselves difficult. At the moment it is likely that collaborative work would be Gregorian chant and also a hymn or an arrangement.

Opus Anglicanum is a five-man singing group with a reader. The home choir could be from ten up to thirty or even more. Small choirs would hopefully amalgamate with others in the area.

Opus Anglicanum (5 men’s voices and a BBC reader) is described by South West Arts as “very professional and exuding enthusiasm at all times.” It has performed frequently at home and abroad including Gloucester Three Choirs Festival, Chelmsford Cathedral Festival, Radio 3, Festival de Walonie. It also has considerable experience running chant workshops (Prior Park School, Burford Priory, Bedes World (Jarrow), Glasgow Cathedral, and Cleeve Abbey – for English Heritage.) This project would be a natural merging of the group’s recital work with its teaching workshops.

Adult singers would be asked for £5 to participate in the scheme, school and college students £1.

We are presently evaluating the likely level of interest in the project and the costs. We are very keen to hear from people, clergy, organisers, choirs and ad hoc groups in rural areas of the South West, East Anglia, and West Midlands who would like to discuss a concert in their church.

If you are organising a church or village festival, this would be an ideal event, providing you can get local singers, school and church choirs, and choral societies to participate.

John Rowlands-Pritchard

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