Only a week to go before the RSCM Scottish Voices choir descends on Aberdeen. In the beautiful setting of the King’s College Chapel, Frikki Walker will lead the mass playing the wonderful music of the Messe pour les Couvents on the superb French style organ, with Matthew Beetschen leading the choir in motets by Byrd, Couperin, Victoria and Giovannelli. We are honoured and delighted to have the Right Reverend Anne Dyer, Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney, as our celebrant. If you are in the area on Saturday, please come along at 4pm and join us for what will be a superb service of music, truly praising God. We would love to see you and meet you afterwards and I’m very sure it will prove, once again, to be a thirsty outing.
A successful outing just past, with the choir in good voice under the (as usual) expert tutelage of Frikki Walker in the Song School before heading across to the Cathedral and joining Kevin Duggan putting the St Mary’s organ through its paces.
Beautiful music to sing with Bairstow’s Evening Service in D Major, and two magnificent Parry items – I know my Soul hath Power and the outstanding My Soul, there is a country. A joyful and friendly outing, where we welcomed two new basses to our ranks, and wetted our whistles afterwards in a local hostelry. How else should one enjoy an autumn Saturday?
Our next outing comes on us very rapidly on Saturday 6th, with Couperin’s Messe pour les Couvents in Aberdeen where we are honoured to have Bishop Anne Dyer joining us as our Celebrant, with Matthew Beetschen as our Musical Director, and our very own Frikki Walker on the organ.
Can’t wait to get our teeth into the music for our first outing fresh from our residential in August – music by Parry, Bairstow along with the Rose responses. If you’re in the area – and it’s easy to find from the Haymarket Station – we’d love to see you. If you like what you hear, why not enquire about joining? We’re on the lookout to augment the choir and we’d love to hear from you. You could be singing with us in our outings to Dunblane, Glasgow, Perth and back to Edinburgh for our birthday party in St Giles!
The next outing of the choir is a return to a fantastic Cathedral in Edinburgh – St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral. What a space to sing in! We are really looking forward to this outing, and if you’re in the vicinity on the 15th September, why not come along and join in the service? We’d love to see you there, and meet up with you after the service.
As I start out in my new role as Administrator for the choir, I just wanted to publicly record in this historical sequence of the Choir’s history, the phenomenal contribution Gary Young has made to the choir, to more than just the choir members. All the posts in this blog were from Gary, recording every outing, and letting everyone see what we were doing, planning to do, and had just done.
The existence of the choir, and how it operates so effectively, is as much to do with Gary as Frikki – their combination of friendship and professionalism made the choir what it is today. As the choir members found out at the Residential at the start of August, Gary’s grasp of data and statistics and analysis of the data is second to none.
Gary has left me with a stunning panoply of spreadsheets, word documents, and social media tools to use. He has also left me with a very large pair of shoes to fill. Gary is taking a well-earned break from the choir for a short time. We wish him well and hope he enjoys his well-deserved relaxation.
Glorious weather, a Royal wedding, and two football cup finals. How could Saturday 19th May 2018 be any better?
Well, the answer to that of course is connected to 38 singers, a musical director, and an organist making their collective way south from Scotland to the awesome Durham Cathedral to sing Choral Evensong.
We absolutely LOVED Durham, a true high spot in our choir’s ten year history, we were made to feel very welcome, and we look forward to a return visit at some time in the future.
Directed as ever by the wonderful Frikki Walker, we sang the responses by Herbert Sumsion (very appropriate since they were written by him for Richard Lloyd and Durham Cathedral choir), Sir John Stainer’s B flat setting of the Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis, and the somewhat epic Evening Hymn by Henry Balfour Gardiner, so plenty opportunity for our organist Kevin Duggan to explore the tubas and 32′ stops of the magnificent cathedral organ, the showpiece of Durham based organ builders Harrison & Harrison .
That draws to a close the first half of the 2018 season of RSCM Scottish Voices, other than us singing as part of the massed choirs at the 2018 RSCM Scotland Triennial Festival in Dundee on 2nd June, as well as during that service singing Let all mortal flesh keep silence by Bairstow as our own contribution on the day.
We have exciting trips in the second half of the year, with visits to St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh, Dunblane Cathedral, and Kings College Chapel in Aberdeen, but before all of them we are very much looking forward to our residential rehearsal weekend in August when we will be returning to the Scottish Police College to learn some repertoire and to socialise together. Both very important activities!
Watch this space for details of our music lists, and please like our page on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, to keep up with all our news and activities.
Our 2018 season started in fine style yesterday with a totally unaccompanied Choral Evensong in the wonderful acoustic of the mediaeval quire of historic Bothwell Parish Church, directed by Frikki Walker and with the service led by Rev Jim Gibson, Minister of Bothwell and Chaplain in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen in Scotland.
Our 2017 season drew to a close yesterday, fittingly on Armistice Day, when we sang a Remembrance themed Choral Evensong in St Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in Dundee, directed by Frikki Walker and accompanied by Kevin Duggan.
St Paul’s continue to be most welcoming and generous hosts, and we look forward to future visits. Thanks are particularly due to the Pastoral Musician Stuart Muir for his help in making the arrangements and for his tireless work on the day making us tea and coffee and generally being helpful, and to the Provost the Very Revd Jeremy Auld not only for allowing us to visit but for his sensitive leading of the service and his singing as cantor in the responses.
So our year finishes and whilst the thoughts of our singers turn towards the music they will sing in their home choirs over Advent and Christmas our Musical Director and particularly our Administrator put their minds to the various behind the scenes changes involved in the impending change from oversight by the RSCM Scotland committee to oversight by RSCM HQ in Salisbury, and all that entails. Initially a “child” of the RSCM Scotland committee back in 2008 the choir has gone from strength to strength with the magnificent support of the committee since we first sang a service together in January 2009, and we thank committee members past and present for that support, whilst looking forward with excitement to the new chapter in our corporate life and the opportunities that may present themselves.
And looking into the near’ish future, the next time we sing together will be in the Mediaeval Quire of Bothwell Parish Church in Lanarkshire, when we will sing an unaccompanied Choral Evensong at 4pm on Saturday 17th February 2018. We hope to see you there!
After a most enjoyable Choral Evensong yesterday in St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow under the direction of James Kealey and with Christopher Nickol accompanying, our thoughts turn to our next event, the last of 2017, when we will be singing a special Choral Evensong for Remembrance at 4pm on Saturday 11th November in St Paul’s Cathedral, Dundee, led by our Musical Director Frikki Walker and accompanied on this occasion by Kevin Duggan, Musical Director of Dunblane Cathedral.
Our next meeting is a return to the familiar and much loved territory of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow, where our Musical Director Frikki Walker is Director of Music and where a fair number of our singers are in the Cathedral Choir, to sing Choral Evensong at 4pm on Saturday 7th October 2017.
Introit: O pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Herbert Howells) Responses: Bernard Rose Psalm: 37 vv 1-11 Canticles: Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis in F (Peter Aston) Anthem: Evening Hymn (Henry Balfour-Gardiner)
While the venue is very familiar to us, this will be a first for RSCM Scottish Voices since because of the recent departure to Ely of our now former Assistant Musical Director Richard Walmsley and the non-availability on this occasion of our Musical Director Frikki Walker, we will be directed and accompanied by James Kealey and Christopher Nickol respectively, the very first time that any of our meetings hasn’t featured either (or more usually both) Frikki or Richard.
We are of course in safe hands, we wouldn’t be so foolish as to experiment wildly.
James has recently moved to Glasgow from Somerset where he was Senior Organ Scholar and Second Assistant at Wells Cathedral (where Frikki was previously a Vicar Choral in the choir at the same time that Richard was a Treble in the choir, small world, isn’t it?) and he has taken up the position of Director of Choral Music at St Aloysius’ College in Glasgow (coincidentally replacing Keith Roberts who until he moved south a few weeks ago sang countertenor in the choir of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral under Frikki).
Christopher Nickol is quite simply legendary in choral and organ circles in Glasgow, famous for his undoubted organ playing skill but also for his party piece of being able to play anything you care to name, instantly, and without the need for music. Born in Cambridge, he was a music scholar at Ampleforth College, Organ Scholar at Royal Holloway College (University of London), and postgraduate scholar at the Royal College of Music, and is currently Director of Music at New Kilpatrick Church in Bearsden, staff pianist and organist at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, pianist at the Dance School of Scotland, accompanist of Bearsden Choir, and a regular deputy organist at both Glasgow Cathedral and Glasgow University. Christopher has performed as an organist and soloist with the BBC SSO, Caledonian Voices, Glasgow Cathedral Choir & Choral Society, Glasgow Chamber Choir, the National Youth Choir of Scotland, the RCS Chamber Choir, the RSNO and RSNO Chorus, and the choir of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow. He has given over 500 concerts on the organ in Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow, including one that went viral on social media on the day that the death was announced of David Bowie when, without any printed music, he played Life on Mars and a mobile phone video recording of it has been viewed on Facebook alone almost 2 million times. It’s well worth a watch/listen and it can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-35292054 or a shorter clip on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsAYfEQMGkk