A Ceremony of Carols: a personal response on St Cecilia’s Day

Benjamin Britten composed A Ceremony of Carols on a sea voyage from the United States to England in 1942. It is an extended choral composition for Christmas originally scored for three-part children’s chorus, solo voices, and harp. The text, structured in eleven movements, is mainly in Middle English, with some Latin and Early Modern English.Continue reading “A Ceremony of Carols: a personal response on St Cecilia’s Day”

Learning in concert: Performance as (re-)education

I haven’t double-checked, but I think it was a character in a Stephen Fry book who proposed that there are people with great minds (in other words, enthusiasts), and people with great brains (in other words, experts). You don’t need to have read Fry to know that I’m an enthusiast more than an expert –Continue reading “Learning in concert: Performance as (re-)education”

“Be passionate and always have an open mind” – Q&A with Joshua Gearing

We’re absolutely delighted to be collaborating with BBC Young Musician of the Year’s Joshua Gearing for our upcoming concert, “Celestial Fire”. He’ll be playing the synth part in our performance of Patrick Gowers’ “Viri Galilaei”. We couldn’t resist the chance to ask Joshua a few questions. Here, he talks us through his amazing career soContinue reading ““Be passionate and always have an open mind” – Q&A with Joshua Gearing”

St Albans Cathedral away weekend: A retrospective

I’ve just arrived back home from an absolutely brilliant weekend of singing on tour with Vivamus at St Albans Cathedral, and I’ve managed to end up in a bit of a Wikipedia hole. (Check out my links in this article – I’m not joking.) I think Vivamus’ readers may find what I’ve learned quite interestingContinue reading “St Albans Cathedral away weekend: A retrospective”

How music can rescue this weird summer

We’re having a bit of a strange time in the UK right now. Patches of dazzling sunshine punctuate torrential rain and bracing breezes. On your Teams call to your colleague who lives just the other side of town, they can barely see you as you’re bleached out by sunlight, while you can barely hear themContinue reading “How music can rescue this weird summer”

Choral music as storytelling

I’ve been a member of Vivamus since 2018, and for the last nine years I’ve been a professional actor. Such is the breadth and variety of what you’d call ‘the acting industry’ that sometimes it’s hard to explain exactly how rehearsing an Ibsen play, making an audition tape for a beef jerky commercial, and brandishingContinue reading “Choral music as storytelling”

Evensong: What it is, and why you should go

You may be familiar with Evensong already. Perhaps you’ve sung it yourself, or you’ve heard some of your friends and acquaintances in choirs talking about it. Maybe you’ve seen posters for Evensong at a local church. In Vivamus, we’re getting ready to sing Evensong at St Albans Cathedral in August. To prepare ourselves, we decidedContinue reading “Evensong: What it is, and why you should go”

“Take any opportunity to learn”: Q&A with Richard Hills

Richard Hills is Vivamus’ accompanist and associate director of music. A Fellow of the Royal College of Organists and widely praised for his mastery across genres, Richard has been acclaimed for his performances and recordings both in the UK and overseas. Vivamus is delighted and proud to work with Richard, and we couldn’t pass upContinue reading ““Take any opportunity to learn”: Q&A with Richard Hills”

The post-concert comedown

What is this feeling? This feeling of numbness, of vague and vacant loss? Mere days ago, on the evening of Saturday 13th May 2023, we were riding a dizzying high. In the surroundings of the magnificent St James’s Piccadilly, Vivamus and The Hanover Band performed a blistering rendition of Handel’s Zadok the Priest. It feltContinue reading “The post-concert comedown”