Guy Fawkes inspires best of British
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.