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Vaughan Williams:  Dona NobisPacem
On 10 November the Bury Bach Choir will sing Vaughan Williams’ hauntingly beautiful cantata Dona NobisPacem as part of our commemoration of the Armistice Centenary. The concert is supported by the Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust.
The cantata was commissioned in 1936 for the centenary of the Huddersfield Choral Society, and written amid growing fears of a new war in Europe.  The words come principally from the scriptures and the poetry of Walt Whitman, written during the American Civil War.
Whitman’s poetry seems to have had a profound fascination for British composers in the early 20th century, including Delius (Seadrift), Vaughan Williams (A Sea Symphony) and Holst (Ode to Death).  In 1911 Vaughan Williams began to compose a setting for Whitman’s Dirge for two veterans, but perhaps because he felt it was insufficient on its own, he put it away for 25 years, when it emerged as the solemn fourth movement of Dona NobisPacem, describing the moonlit buria…
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Calling all singers!
If you love choral music, if you love singing, if you’ve just moved to the Suffolk and want to continue singing with a good choir, if you’ve never sung in a choir before but enjoy music, or can read music, or any combination of these, your time is now!
The Bury Bach Choir will start rehearsals for our November concert on Wednesday 5 September at King Edward VI School in Bury St Edmunds.We’ll be singing Vaughan Williams’ haunting Dona Nobis Pacem, which is new to the choir, and Duruflé’s Requiem, which the choir last sang in 2014.Later in the year we will sing Bach’s St Matthew Passion and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.
All you need to do is contact Linda, our New Members’ Secretary (see below), come along to two or three rehearsals to see if you like us, and if you want to join, you’ll be asked to do a short and simple voice check (no audition pieces, just scales and aural tests) with our Music Director, Philip Reed, mainly to ensure you sing in the correct section for…
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Graeme Danby - the Great British Bass!
We are delighted that Graeme Danby will join us at our performance of Haydn’s The Creation on 2 June, singing Raphael and Adam.Widely recognised as one of Britain’s finest character basses, Graeme performs regularly in the major international opera houses.
It is our great privilege that he is also our Co President, with his wife Valerie Reid.
For the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Graeme has sung:Billy Jackrabbit, Charrington,Gonzalo The Tempest, Second Armed Man, Casino Manager The Gambler and Il Sacristano Tosca.
In over 200 appearances with English National Opera, Graeme has sung roles including Bartolo, Basilio, Collatinus, Dulcamara, Quince, Pistol, Pooh-Bah, Ribbing, Sacristan,Sarastro; Snug and Somnus.
Further UK engagements include Bartolo for Opera North and the Garsington Festival; Antonio for the Glyndebourne Festival; Collatus at the Buxton Festival;Superintendent Budd (Albert Herring) for Opera North and Sacristan, Bosun (Billy Budd)…
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Christopher Turner - Tenor
We’re delighted to welcome Christopher Turner back to Bury St Edmunds, singing the tenor role of Uriel in Haydn’s The Creation, which we are performing on 2 June at St Edmundsbury Cathedral.
Born in Birmingham, Christopher read music at the University of Hull, furthering his studies with Barbara Robotham at the Royal Northern College of Music and at the National Opera Studio, where he was sponsored by the Scottish Endowment Trust and The Friends of Covent Garden.
He has received many prizes, including The Michael and Joyce Kennedy Prize for Singing Strauss, the Frederic Cox Prize, the Elizabeth Harwood Prize, and, mostrecently, a Countess of Munster ‘Young Star’ Award and the Sybil Tutton Award from the Musicians Benevolent Fund.He was also a major scholar of the Sir Peter Moores Foundation.
Christopher made his professional début as Dr Blind Die Fledermaus for Scottish Opera On Tour before joining the Young Singers Programme at English National Opera, whe…
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Sena Larard, soprano, sings Gabriel and Eve in The Creation
Making a welcome return to the Bury Bach Choir for its performance of Haydn’s The Creation on 2 June, American soprano Sena Larard has always had a love of music making.
Born in Charlottesville, Virginia,Sena holds a Master’s degree in Vocal Performance from the City University of New York, where she studied with Patricia McCaffrey, and a Liberal Arts degree from Roanoke College with a cello major.
She has also studied vocal technique with Bill Schuman, Jonathan Papp and our own Graeme Danby – in this performance, she is singing Eve to his Adam, which will be a wonderful treat.
If you can’t wait for the concert, you can hear Sena singing on the soundtrack of Mirette (towards the end of the trailer), a short film featuring Tom Conti and Miriam Margolyes, which has been selected as part of the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and Nashville Film Festival.
Sena is also very proud of her young voice studio:her most advanced students ar…
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Franz Joseph Haydn - creator of The Creation
On 2 June the Bury Bach Choir will perform Haydn’s The Creation at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, with the Prometheus Orchestra and soloists Sena Larard (soprano), Christopher Turner (tenor) and Graeme Danby (bass), conducted by Philip Reed.
Haydn (1732–1809) was born in Austria, the son of a wheelwright and a cook. Although his father wasn’t musically educated, he was a folk musician and the family frequently sang together and with their neighbours. Haydn became a prolific and prominent composer, writing over 100 symphonies, 83 string quartets, 45 piano trios, 62 piano sonatas, 14 masses and 26 operas.

At a young age he entered the Choir School of St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, with a reputedly very fine treble voice which lasted until he was 16, when the Habsburg Empress, Maria Theresa, famously said ‘That boy doesn't sing, he crows!’ The choirmaster had previously suggested he become a castrato, but Haydn’s father wouldn’t allow t…