Welcome to KEMS Choir.We're a friendly bunch of people who enjoy singing together.Trained and conducted by our popular, young and talented Choral Director, Ian Chesworth, we extend a warm welcome for enthusiastic 'young at heart' singers (male and female) to join us.
KEMS has its own Orchestra which plays for most of our choral concerts and sometimes we're joined by some of the KEMS Concert Band members - we all enjoy making great music together.
Major works performed by the KEMS choir in the 2017-18 season
• Bernstein: Chichester Psalms
• Vivaldi: Gloria
• Monteverdi: Beatus Vir / Gabrieli Hodie Christus Natus Est
• Mozart: Solemn Vespers / Requiem
KEMS Choir Music Director Ian Chesworth looks back on the 2017-18 season
The major challenge the choir faced for the November concert was learning a rather difficult work in Hebrew! Of course, the work in question was Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms written in 1965 for the Chichester Festival (and using music from an abandoned stage work). Gustav Hawkins was the treble soloist (along with six members of the choir) who then joined with Mary Halloran and Sarah Chesworth as soloists for the Vivaldi Gloria. The contrast of both works was very useful over the rehearsal period allowing the choir to have a bit of light relief from the difficulty of the Bernstein whilst still making progress. Both items worked well together well in the programme although the orchestration for them was very different!
The main work in the Christmas programme was Monteverdi Beatus Vir with the many solos taken by singers from the choir. We were lucky to have the luxury of five rehearsals for this concert which we put to good use learning the Monteverdi and also a Gabrieli motet which was accompanied by members of the brass section. The remainder of the programme made good use of our ‘Carols for Choirs 5’ and ‘Christmas Spirituals for Choirs’ books.
In the New Year we began looking at music for the April Choral Concert, Mozart Requiem and Solemn Vespers. Both works are unusual in their scoring with the Requiem requiring only clarinet and bassoon in the wind and the Vespers with the lack of violas. The Vespers is rarely performed (although there was a performance by another local choir just a few weeks before) and it is great fun to sing with lots of contrast in the individual movements. The Requiem of course is deserved in its reputation of being one of Mozart’s greatest works even if he was only able to sketch some movements. I decided to perform the works in ‘authentic’ Germanic latin which gives added bite to the diction which took a little bit of getting used to particularly in the Requiem. The orchestra opened the concert with ‘Eine kleine Nachtmusik’ and the whole programme proved to be popular with the public with a large turnout and many many comments afterwards on how much audience members had enjoyed the evening’s music making.
The 2017-18 season has been challenging for both choir and orchestral librarians but we managed to source most material either from the internet or the library service with just the orchestral parts for ‘Chichester Psalms’ having to be hired from the publishers. Many thanks to Barbara and Melanie for all their hard work.
In the 2018-19 season, we are central to the Macclesfield Observance of the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice with a concert on 10-Nov including Vaughan Williams ‘Dona Nobis Pacem’ and with a return to the RNCM in March in a joint concert with Shrewsbury Choral Society to sing ‘The Kingdom’ by Elgar. We will also have the opportunity to sing the work twice ‘on tour’ in Shrewsbury Abbey. In the summer, we are currently planning a lighter concert.
Why not join us? Singing in a choir is very rewarding and is great fun too. KEMS are always happy for new singers to join us, without audition. If you fancy joining us please telephone Steve Kleiser (01625 431 544) or send us an e-mail by clicking here.