It is always an enormous privilege to be invited to contribute to a Barnardo's concert, so to be chosen as the flagship choir at today's performance in Southwark Cathedral was a wonderful opportunity for everyone in Vocal Ensemble. The concert began with Faith singing the first verse of 'Once in Royal David's City' before the whole choir took part in a special rendition of 'Away in a Manger', with Godolphin providing intricate harmonies whilst a huge group of children sang the tune. Jen Privett, Barnardo's events organizer had asked me to provide an instrumental interlude for violins so I wrote 'Jingle all the way' for the seven violinists of Vocal Ensemble with Lucy providing sleigh bells, accompanied by Ms Palfreyman. This arrangement was well-received and paved the way for my second world premiere of the evening: 'Gabriel's Message.' This was written especially for Vocal Ensemble with soloists Faith (The angel Gabriel) and Megan (the Virgin Mary) singing their parts absolutely beautifully. Two more pieces: 'Vulcan' by Jenny McLeod and 'Come, see the Infant King' by Disraeli Brown (with excellent solos by Isobel and Lucy) were warmly received, leaving us with just 'The Christmas Children' to perform alongside the other choirs. Hermione and Alexandra delivered the reading 'Goodwill to Men' by Pam Ayres with aplomb, confirming how multitalented the members of Vocal Ensemble are. Southwark Cathedral proved to be a wonderful concert venue with a superb acoustic which suited our choir perfectly. How lovely to be able to perform in such an inspiring environment for such a worthy cause.
All photos from the afternoon can be found on Flickr.
Olivia Sparkhall, Director of Vocal Ensemble