Haydn’s Organ Concerto 2012

Saturday, 24th March 2012
Auditorium of the new Anniversary Halls

The St Catherine’s Association Choir gave its eighth concert in the magnificent Auditorium of the Anniversary Halls on 24th March 2012. This new venue for the Choir, with its wonderful acoustic, was much appreciated by the audience who were treated to a mixed programme of classical and more popular works. The Choir was joined by the U3 and Senior Chamber Choirs and the Camerata String Orchestra.

The retiring collection was in aid of The Education Kenya International Fund (EnkI) founded by former pupil Rakhee Dodhia (Ramesh)(1992) to support the education of Kenyan children. The two Association Prefects, Abigail Legge and Bea Stafford-Smith, introduced the evening and the audience to the charity with a talk and a film featuring Rakhee (who lives in Australia). After successfully sponsoring Julius Komu through his secondary education, the Association is now supporting 14 year old Rael Namaye.

The Choir opened with Haydn’s Kleine Orgelmesse – The Little Organ Mass, so named because of the organ solo in the Benedictus. Simon Phillips played the organ and pupil, Eva Wichtowski, was the superb soprano soloist in this movement. Eva not only achieved distinction in her Grade 8 Singing examination, but also sang with the National Youth Choir. The Senior Chamber Choir augmented the Association Choir and the Camerata String Orchestra accompanied.

Haydn’s Organ Concerto was then performed with tremendous sensitivity by the Camerata String Orchestra accompanying Caragh Bennet, the organ soloist and Jennifer Bate Organ Scholar, who played the work with accomplishment and charm. Caragh achieved Grade 8 Piano, Flute and Organ and hopes to study Veterinary Science at University.

The first half concluded with the second mass, Mozart’s Mass in C, sung by both the Association and Senior Chamber Choirs. With soloists selected from amongst our most talented singers to form an octet and with the additional soprano solo in the Agnus Dei sung by Molly MacConnol, the performance received resounding applause.

The U3 Choir introduced the second half. All members of the year group sing in the Choir and here performed a medley of British Folksongs, accompanied by Maria Williams, which they had studied as part of the Music curriculum.

Under the direction of Barry Sutton, Camerata revealed great ensemble work playing St Paul’s Suite, originally composed by Holst for St Paul’s Girls’ School. The orchestra was led by Head Girl, Hannah Pilkington. With distinctions in both Grade 8 Violin and Singing, this Music Scholar was also co-leader of the Surrey County Youth Orchestra. She is now studying History at Durham University.

Captain Noah and His Floating Zoo was a work familiar to many Association Choir members and it was performed with enthusiastic energy and spirit. The professional accompanying band comprised Simon Phillips on piano, Ian Young on drums and Peter Kime on bass. With its mix of rhythms and its underlying watery motifs, the piece, written by Joseph Horovitz and Michael Flanders (of Flanders & Swann fame), was a sure-fire winner.

For the first time, and in response to cries of ‘more’ from the receptive audience, the Choirs performed an encore. Seaside Rendezvous was written for five choral parts and kazoos, and this version of the Queen song, arranged by the King’s Singers and Geoff Field, sent the audience away on a fittingly fun note.