Guy Fawkes in­spires best of Bri­tish

The Tribune (NZ) - - WHAT'S ON -

While many Palmer­ston North peo­ple will cel­e­brate Bri­tish his­tory with fireworks on Satur­day Novem­ber 5 there’ll be an al­ter­na­tive mu­si­cal cel­e­bra­tion at St Peter’s Church. The Re­nais­sance Singers, mu­si­cally directed by Guy Don­ald­son, are known for their abil­ity to sing in a range of Euro­pean lan­guages, but, on this oc­ca­sion, they will largely per­form in English, save for two church pieces. The choir is pre­sent­ing Best Of Bri­tish. As well as some Re­nais­sance pe­riod pieces by Byrd, Mor­ley and Tomkins that they’re well known for, the con­cert will fea­ture cho­ral favourites from the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Stan­ford, Parry, Sir Arthur Sul­li­van and Sir Ed­ward El­gar as well as mu­sic sung at Princess Diana’s fu­neral. The con­cert con­cludes with a ver­i­ta­ble fireworks of a piece – John Rut­ter’s Glo­ria with stir­ring or­gan ac­com­pa­ni­ment. But to recog­nise Guy Fawkes, they’re singing a pop­u­lar work by Wil­liam Byrd in Latin. It was strangely re­moved from publi­ca­tion in the 17th cen­tury when a group of Catholics failed in their at­tempt to blow up the Houses of Par­lia­ment. Byrd, who had Catholic sym­pa­thies and prac­tised his re­li­gion in pri­vate, was for­tu­nately pro­tected by the­monar­chy. The oc­ca­sion will also be a cel­e­bra­tion of another kind. This year the choir has re­ceived a grant from the Earle Cre­ativ­ity Trust to en­gage the ser­vices of one of New Zealand’s most ex­pe­ri­enced cho­ral singers and con­duc­tors, Chris­tine Ar­gyle, to carry out work­shops with Re­nais­sance and co-con­duct the con­cert. Chris­tine learned singing and pi­ano from a young age. In her late teens she joined the Na­tional Youth Choir and trav­elled with the choir to Eng­land and Europe. She sub­se­quently lived in Lon­don where she sang with the Lon­don Sym­phony Cho­rus. This gave her the op­por­tu­nity to work un­der many of the world’s lead­ing con­duc­tors and in­tro­duced her to a com­pre­hen­sive cho­ral/or­ches­tral reper­toire. In 1991 Chris­tine re­turned home and sang with the Auck­land Opera Cho­rus for five years, then be­came a foun­da­tion mem­ber of Voices New Zealand, con­sid­ered to be our coun­try’s pre­miere choir. In 2004 she formed her own choir in Welling­ton, Nota Bene. Re­cently Chris­tine took up the po­si­tion of Man­ager of the New Zealand String Quar­tet. On Novem­ber 5 Chris­tine and Guy Don­ald­son will share con­duct­ing du­ties. Best of Bri­tish is pre­sented by The Re­nais­sance Singers at St Peter’s Church (cnr Broad­way and Ruahine) on Novem­ber 5 at 7.30pm.

The Re­nais­sance Singers in a re­cent recital.

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