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Nigel Perrin

Nigel's Blog

January 2020

As usual December was hectic and very demanding but immensely rewarding with EFC impressively rising to the challenge of squeezing in a Christmas show (Christmas - and all that Jazz) on just two rehearsals! Then BBC Carol group on duty for five nights in a row, including the Rotary Carol Service.  Full houses again this year proof of the choir’s success. I love preparing the carols programme as all the singers (self-selected to commit to the demanding schedule) are totally on it – minimal note-bashing, so lots of time spent on presentation – watching, smiling, engaging with audience etc. Apart from some fine singing by the choir, highlights were our amazing guest soloists. Eliza Haskins (recorders) at 15 yrs old was so fluent in her technique – watch out for her in the forthcoming BBC Young Musician of the Year. Then Katie Bunney was fabulous on saxophone – technically brilliant and also such an exciting communicator – Marcus loved playing for her!

So, into 2020 – a very exciting year ahead for both BBC and EFC, the highlight of which will be a performance of Verdi’s Requiem with the combined choirs in Exeter Cathedral with an amazing line up of soloists. Look out for two workshop days on the Verdi – Exeter 18 January / Bath 25 January complete with professional soloists to add to the excitement.

Eager to start rehearsing both choirs’ spring programmes….
BBC has to learn some technically very difficult music – Whitacre’s Leonardo… with choir of 85 singers? Requires such virtuosity and precision – starting tonight with the final section gradually building up the parts.
EFC’s challenge in a programme of largely light music is to remember that doesn’t mean it’s easy and it has to be very fluent (off copy as much as possible) so that the choir can engage with the audience and be entertaining. I am reminded of a reviewer back in the 1970s commenting that the King’s Singers “were mere entertainment” – intending to be derogatory!