Jubilee choir ready for proms in the parkBy Victoria Smith
May 15, 2012
Hundreds of choral singers are preparing to give Wokingham a proms in the park performance the town has never seen before to kick off the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
A rehearsal “buzzing with energy” has already taken place in preparation for the jubilee concert on Elms Field that will signal the start of Wokingham’s weekend of events to mark the Queen’s 60th year on the throne.
Wokingham Jubilee Chorus conductor Richard Smith, who conducted the first rehearsal at Reading School on April 28, promises Wokingham a unique performance in the town centre park in Elms Road.
The programme will feature choral music from the 1953 Coronation, as well as British classical music from the last 400 years.
The voices of local singers will be accompanied by a professional orchestra from London – The Docklands Sinfonia – along with Winchester Cathedral organist Richard McVeigh.
Mr Smith said: “The initial proposal was for something much smaller, but we soon found we had a huge amount of enthusiasm from the many fine local choirs.
“The PA and staging company really got stuck in to providing serious technical support for the concert and, in short, the project grew in size and quality very quickly.
“Soon we were having to find a new location for the stage on Elms Field to accommodate a performing force of around 300 and an audience capacity of 1,000 plus.”
Singers have until the next rehearsal, Wednesday, May 16, from 7.30pm at Loddon Hall in Loddon Hall Road, Twyford, to sign up and take part.
There are already more than 200 people signed up and Mr Smith is hoping to reach 250.
Mr Smith said: “Between them, Wokingham Choral Society, Wokingham Choral Academy, Tamesis (Reading), The Crowthorne Choral Society, The Twyford Singers and the Concord Singers have contributed about 110 singers, with the rest coming from about 30 other choirs across Berkshire and a few from Hampshire.
“Several people have just signed up without being members of choirs, and that’s terrific.”
Music being rehearsed includes the Coronation Anthems by Handel and Parry, Zadok the Priest and I Was Glad, William Walton’s Crown Imperial March, Elgar’s Nimrod and Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks.
Mr Smith said: “It’s all very grand – it should be a wonderful sound!
“We’re throwing in other favourites, like the Hallelujah Chorus and movements from Elgar’s Coronation Ode.”
Tickets to the concert on Saturday, June 2, are on sale now and townspeople are being urged not to miss out. Mr Smith said: “It will be a real ‘Proms in the Park’ type affair. We’ve found a place for the stage that will allow lots of space for the audience and performers, so people can bring deckchairs and picnic blankets.
“The choir and orchestra will be on a large stage with a state-of-the-art amplification system, so the audience can expect something really grand.
“We hope that lots of people who don’t normally attend classical concerts will come along as it will be a very rousing start to the weekend’s celebrations.
“They will certainly recognise a lot of the music, and when we hit Land of Hope and Glory and Jerusalem I hope there will be plenty of people joining in!”
Tickets to the concert on Saturday, June 2, at 7.45pm are £7.50 for adults and free for under 16s.