Chorus CAngelorum
 

Seraphim

All correspondence for Chorus Angelorum should go to:

Our Lady of Walsingham
Catholic Church
7809 Shadyvilla Ln, Houston, TX 77055

 

History of Workshops with David Trendell:


King Solomon's Songs
July 2011

Henry Purcell 2009

Trendall Tutors Tallis 2007

Gibbons & Tallis 2005

Mairriage of England and Spain 2003

Byrd and his Tudor Friends 2001

David Trendell, an authority on stylistic interpretation and performance practices of English Renaissance church music has lead a workshop in Houston every two years since 2001.. The music spans most of the 16th century and has included English and continental contemporaries of Thomas Tallis, William Byrd, Victoria, etc. and in 2009 delved into the music of Henry Purcell.

At each two year interval approximately 60 participants join Mr. Trendell, Chapel Organist and Music Head at King’s College, London, in a unique opportunity to take the manuscripts of these great masters and bring their sacred music to life.

The Choral Workshop includes rehearsals with David Trendell and a professional solo quartet from London, who also present a concert of sacred music. Participants sing choral evensong, followed by a concert of music learned during the event.

 

Descriptions of Past Workshops

Remembering 2005

Remembering 2003

 

Location of Workshop and Concert:

Our Lady of Walsingham

Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church-Anglican Use at 7809 Shadyvilla Lane, near the intersection of Westview and Wirt, just north of I-10, Katy Freeway.

Ed Franklin's reflections on the 2003 Workshop:
The Marriage of England and Spain

 

Chorus Angelorum welcomes interim director
Dr. Giles Brightwell


First Evensong with our new director:
Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church and Shrine
Sunday, September 7, 2014 at 4PM

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Dr. Giles Brightwell Organist, Choir Director and Musicologist

Born in London in 1970, Dr Giles Brightwell attended Harrow School, and was educated at the University of Durham. While at Durham, he held four scholarships, which included being both a choral scholar and the organ scholar at Durham Cathedral under James Lancelot. He directed the University Chamber Choir and, with Professor Jeremy Dibble, founded the Durham University Consort of Voices.

After graduating, he was appointed University Organist and Tutor in Music at Durham. After two years as College Organist at Sidney Sussex College in the University of Cambridge, he moved to become University Organist and Director of the Chapel Choir at the University of Glasgow.

While at Glasgow he spearheaded a campaign to raise £500,000 to rebuild the University’s historic Henry Willis III chapel organ, which had been played by Marcel Dupré. During 2001 he was responsible for the music at the various ceremonial occasions to celebrate the University’s 550th jubilee, which included giving the premier of Sally Beamish’s Caprington Doubles, a fanfare commissioned for HRH The Prince of Wales’s honorary graduation ceremony at the University. Under Dr Brightwell’s direction, Glasgow University Chapel Choir resumed broadcasts on BBC radio and television and an annual foreign tour. In 2002, the choir was invited to sing at the Glasgow Cathedral service in the presence of HM The Queen to celebrate Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee.

After posts at St Paul’s K Street, Washington DC and Immanuel on the Green in historic New Castle, Delaware, he returned to the UK in 2009 for family reasons and took up the post of Organist and Assistant Director of Music at the twelfth-century Civic and Parish Church of St Mary le Tower, Ipswich, where he also taught singing, organ and theory at Ipswich School. Between 2010 and 2013 he was a member of the Council of the Guild of Church Musicians.

Since September 2013, he has been Organist and Choir Master at St Thomas’ Episcopal Church, Houston where he has the privilege of directing the Parish Choir and playing the fine Schoenstein & Co. organ for school services and at the Sunday liturgies.

In addition to his work as organist, choral conductor and singer (tenor), Giles Brightwell’s academic interests include British music of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, English cathedral and church music, and institutional history. He has published articles and reviews with Ashgate Press, in the SCM Canterbury Press Dictionary of Hymnology, The Book Collector, in Notes the Journal of the Music Libraries Association of America and in the Grolier Encyclopedia of the Victorian Era. Having completed an MA in 1998, he completed a PhD in 2006, supervised by Professor Jeremy Dibble on the history of London’s Royal College of Music. He is in the process of preparing a critical edition from autograph manuscripts of the sacred choral and organ works of the Victorian organist and composer, Thomas Attwood Walmisley (1814-1856).

 

Trendell

Summer Workshop with David Trendell
July 10- Sunday, July 13, 2014

Recording available of the workshop concerts
for more info contact: info@chorusangelorum.org

 

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"For All The Saints"
Festival Choral Evensong and Concert
July 2014

Workshop Participants led by David Trendall

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The 7th Biennial Workshop "For All The Saints"
Faculty Concert

Quartet singing Renaissance sacred music

Choral Workshop - “For All the Saints”
July 10- 13, 2014
featuring music of Morley, Byrd, Mouton,
Victoria, Palestrina and Tallis

Chorus Angelorum of Houston, Texas presented its Seventh Biennial Choral Workshop and Evensong, featuring musical settings by various composers of early sacred music. Led by David Trendell, noted Renaissance musical scholar and College Organist and Lecturer in Music at King's College, London, and with workshop organist, Ruaraidh Sutherland of Christ's Church, Rye, NY. Mr. Trendell brought a professional vocal quartet from London to act as Section Leaders within the Workshop Chorus. Rehearsal sessions were held Thursday evening and daily Friday and Saturday. Sunday's events included optional participation in the Sunday service at Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church. Sunday afternoon provided a full evensong and concert of music by workshop attendees.


Choral ResidencyNorwich Cathedral
July 22-28, 2013

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Norwich CathedralNorwich Cathedral

Chorus Angelorum Residency at Norwich Cathedral
Learn more about Norwich Cathedral in Norwich, England


Featuring: "Messe in Es"by Josef Rheinberger for 8 voices
and music of:
Titcomb
Tomkins
Lee
Rheinberger
Purcell
Weekles
Harris
Howells
Lamb

 

Dear Friends and Supporters of sacred choral music:

Following a successful choral residency at Ripon Cathedral in England, one of my singers said quite simply: “This cannot be a one-time deal!” Fifteen years later, the fruits of that insightful seed have been realized in what is an extraordinary choral ensemble: Chorus Angelorum. From the very beginning, our mission has not wavered but has followed a single path, that being the propagation and promotion of traditional Anglican music and culture within the context of liturgy. In addition to singing regularly scheduled Choral Evensong from the Book of Common Prayer, 1662, the chorus has sponsored six biennial summer choral music workshops, each one lead by David Trendell, musicologist, Lecturer and Chapel Organist at the prestigious King’s College, London, a solo quartet of Choral Scholars from London and a visiting organist from England as well. The musical exchange across the Atlantic goes in the opposite direction when the chorus fills a choral residency at an English Cathedral. Previously, these residencies have taken the chorus to Ripon, Lincoln, Edinburgh (St. Mary’s Anglican Cathedral), Durham and Canterbury. In 2013, Choral Angelorum will sing a weeklong residency at the Anglican cathedral in Norwich.

In residence at Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church since 2005, Chorus Angelorum has enjoyed a remarkable relationship with a nurturing parish, one that uniquely recognizes the Anglican patrimony of the Ordinariate of the Catholic Church as created in January, 2012. The building itself represents the awesome beauty of God’s creations in our midst in an architectural setting of great integrity, with acoustical properties that approach perfection.

As a 501c3 organization, Chorus Angelorum funds these remarkable programs through the generosity of donations from individual patrons, such as yourself, and we ask for your support at this time. Direct contributions are greatly appreciated and can be made to Chorus Angelorum, c/o Our Lady of Walsingham, 7809 Shadyvilla Lane, Houston, Texas 77055. However, our annual Gala provides another opportunity of support for patrons who wish to participate in the success of future programs, as well as to meet some of the choristers in a more social setting.

With heartfelt thanks and appreciation for your support,

Ed Franklin

Founder and Music Director
Chorus Angelorum


History of Workshops with David Trendell:

Song of Solomon Choral Workshop

July 13-17, 2011 The sixth biennial choral workshop with David Trendell, Chapel Organist and Lecturer at King’s College, London, England, with music of the renaissance featuring texts from the Song of Solomon

This workshop was held in the summer of 2011.

WHAT: Chorus Angelorum of Houston, Texas presents King Solomon’s Songs: The Song of Songs, its Sixth Biennial Choral Workshop, featuring musical settings by various composers of the most romantic book of the Old Testament, Solomon’s Song of Songs, July 13-17, 2011. Led by David Trendell, noted Renaissance musical scholar and College Organist and Lecturer in Music at King's College, London, and with workshop accompanist and celebrated organist Simon Nieminski, Organist of St Mary's Metropolitan Cathedral (Catholic) in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Mr. Trendell will bring a professional vocal quartet from London to act as Section Leaders within the Workshop Chorus.  Musical selections will include settings of Nigra sum sed Formosa by Lheritier, Victoria and Palestrina; Ego flos campi by Clemens non Papa; Vox patris by Mundy and other selected compositions by Vivanco and Guerrero.
 
WHEN: Wednesday, July 13, 6 PM,
            Thursday, July 14, 9AM – 9PM,
            Friday, July 15, 9AM – 6PM,
            Saturday, July 16, 9AM – 6PM,
            Sunday, July 17, 2PM rehearsal for 4PM Evensong Service. Grand Reception to follow.
 
WHERE: Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church - Anglican Use. 
7809 Shadyvilla (near 1 block north of Wirt @ Westview), Houston, Texas 77055

COST: $325 per person, space limited to 50 participants. Discount of 10% to students or groups of 5 or more participants.

INCLUDED: Complete packet of music to be sung during the workshop, culminating in Choral Evensong on Sunday, July 17. 
Wednesday – Registration and Happy Social Hour, with first read through of music.
Breakfast and lunch Thursday – Saturday.
Dinner – Thursday evening only.
 
WHY: To preserve and promote the culture and rich musical heritage of the Anglican tradition within the context of liturgy, Choral Evensong. 
 
REQUIRED: While there is no audition, participants must have some experience in choral singing and some ability to sight-read within a choir section.

To register, mail in the downloadable form. All registration applications must be received by mail. Applications received after June 30, 2011 will be required to pay $325.

(For further information go to www.chorusangelorum.org)


Biographies


David Trendell has been College Organist and Lecturer in Music at King's since 1992. In that time he has established the chapel choir as one of the finest mixed-voice university choirs in the country. They have made several recordings in recent years of sixteenth-century music, thus tying in with Trendell's research interests. Their disc of Taverner's Missa Corona spinea was nominated for a Gramophone award in the Early Music category and their disc of music by Alonso Lobo was chosen by Gramphone reviewer, Tess Knighton, as one of her two favourite CDs of the year. More recently, they have continued their relationship with Sanctuary's Gaudeamus label by recording music by Sebastian de Vivanco and they have also recorded a disc of music for Advent with the renowned viol consort Phantasm on the Herald label. Trendell was educated as an organ scholar at Exeter College, Oxford, and, prior to his arrival at King's was Lecturer at St Hilda's, St Hugh's and Oriel Colleges. He is much in demand as a choral conductor and frequently directs choral workshops in the USA. In recent years the choir has toured the USA, France, Ireland and Italy.

This summer's workshop will feature organ playing by SIMON NIEMINSKI

Organ Concert: Simon Nieminski, British organist, in recital at
St. Thomas' Episcopal Church, Meyerland, on Saturday, July 16 at 7:30 p.m.!

On Saturday, July 16 at 7:30 p.m. St. Thomas' Episcopal Church is privileged
to host an organ recital by British organist Simon Nieminski. Mr. Nieminski
will be in the city serving as accompanist for a choral workshop and
Evensong called King Solomon's Songs. This event features musical settings
of portions of the Old Testament Song of Songs by Renaissance composers. The
workshop runs from July 13-17, and is hosted by Chorus Angelorum, a
semi-professional chorus "devoted to the propagation and continued use of
the traditional music of the church in the context of its liturgy."

Simon Nieminski studied at the Royal College of Music, London, graduated
with honors from Cambridge University and was Organ Scholar at York Minster.
Since serving as Assistant Director of Music at London's historic Priory
Church of St. Bartholomew the Great, he served as Organist and Master of the
Music at St. Mary's Anglican Cathedral in Edinburgh and is now Organist at
St. Mary's Metropolitan Cathedral, Edinburgh. A Fellow of the Royal College
of Organists, his sixth CD release, "Longhorns in Abilene", is the inaugural
recording of the magnificent new Nichols and Simpson organ at First Baptist
Church, Abilene, Texas.

All are welcome to enjoy hearing this outstanding organist perform on the
fine Schoenstein instrument at St. Thomas'. There is no charge.

Simon Nieminski was born in London and descended from an unlikely mixture of Edwardian Japanese acrobats, Lancastrian Music Hall artistes and a Polish army veteran. He studied in London at the Royal College of Music, at Cambridge University and as Organ Scholar of York Minster. He is experienced in the cathedral music tradition, currently as Organist of St Mary’s Metropolitan Cathedral, Edinburgh, and previously as Organist and Master of the Music at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh, where he directed the choir in daily choral services, concerts, recordings and broadcasts. He has also conducted the Edinburgh Royal Choral Union in concert at the Usher Hall and played organ in the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

His work as an organist takes him around the UK and abroad, both in concert and over the airwaves. As a recitalist, his programmes often include unusual but attractive repertoire and it has become his aim to play programmes which appeal to organ buffs and sceptics alike. His recordings have helped to revive the music of unjustly neglected composers, with releases on the Pro Organo label of the Promenades en Provence by Eugène Reuchsel (“This is a splendid release… There is a lot of poetry here.” - The American Record Guide; “Simon Nieminski’s playing is utterly convincing and at one stroke establishes him as a recording artist of the first rank.” - Organists’ Review) and the Symphonies of Edward Shippen Barnes - American pupil of Louis Vierne (“Pro Organo and Simon Nieminski must be commended for searching out this music and having the courage to record it - would that other companies would make the efforts to record music which is both unusual and worthy.” - The Organ.) An interest in transcriptions has resulted in recordings of works inspired by Shakespeare, and another of Elgar, including the complete Enigma Variations (“Romantic organ playing at its best” - The Organ.)

A session at St Mary’s Metropolitan Cathedral for BBC Radio 2’s The Organist Entertains programme was broadcast last year and a CD on the new organ was released, which was reviewed as a Star Recording in The Organ (“…a triumph for both organ and organist…”) His latest release is a recording of the new organ at First Baptist Church, Abilene, Texas.

Past Workshops: 2009

Chorus Angelorum hosted its fifth biennial choral workshop, “A Time of Restoration” from July 8 - 12, 2009, at Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church-Anglican Use, Houston, Texas.

David Trendell, an authority on stylistic interpretation and performance practices of English Renaissance and Restoration church music, lead the workshop celebrating the music of Henry Purcell at the 350th anniversary of his birth. Purcell’s music was written in the 17th century during the 36 short years of his life. The Restoration of the English monarchy in 1660 allowed a flowering of Anglican church music and Henry Purcell was its greatest blossom.

CHORUS ANGELORUM'S FIFTH BIENNIAL CHORAL WORKSHOP
Biographies—2009


David Trendell has been College Organist and Lecturer in Music at King's since 1992. In that time he has established the chapel choir as one of the finest mixed-voice university choirs in the country. They have made several recordings in recent years of sixteenth-century music, thus tying in with Trendell's research interests. Their disc of Taverner's Missa Corona spinea was nominated for a Gramophone award in the Early Music category and their disc of music by Alonso Lobo was chosen by Gramphone reviewer, Tess Knighton, as one of her two favourite CDs of the year. More recently, they have continued their relationship with Sanctuary's Gaudeamus label by recording music by Sebastian de Vivanco and they have also recorded a disc of music for Advent with the renowned viol consort Phantasm on the Herald label. Trendell was educated as an organ scholar at Exeter College, Oxford, and, prior to his arrival at King's was Lecturer at St Hilda's, St Hugh's and Oriel Colleges. He is much in demand as a choral conductor and frequently directs choral workshops in the USA. In recent years the choir has toured the USA, France, Ireland and Italy.


Rupert Charlesworth was educated on a music scholarship at Blundell’s School, Devon, Rupert, aged 22, completed his BMus Honours Degree at King’s College, London, in 2008. During his time at King’s he was a choral scholar in the Chapel Choir and was accepted onto the third year auditioned advanced performance course. He received voice tuition with Professor David Lowe at the Royal Academy of Music for two years and begun tuition with Professor Philip Doghan in September 2007. He was offered a place at the Royal Academy of Music and will be starting there in September to study for a MA in Vocal Performance. To date Rupert has sung tenor solo in performances of Mozart’s Requiem and Mass in C minor, Schubert’s Mass in G, Bach’s Magnificat in D and St John Passion, Handel’s Messiah, Gounod’s St. Cecelia Mass, Puccini’s Messa di Gloria, Stainer’s, Crucifixion and Beethoven’s Mass in C. In May of last year Rupert made his operatic debut as a founder member of the King’s College Opera Company, playing the role of Prince Philippe in their production of Lennox Berkeley’s A Dinner Engagement. In July 2008 he performed the UK premiere of The Sealed Angel by Rodion Shchedrin with the choir of King’s London in collaboration with the chapel choir of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge as part of the Spitalfields music festival. This was followed by a recording of The Sealed Angel which is now commercially available. Other recordings include Convocation, disc of music by Giles Swayne and new Hyperion recording of works by Philippe Rogier. Rupert is currently based in London holds a choral scholarship at All Saint Church Fulham. He is also a member of the up and coming close harmony group Six Tricks and Siglo de Oro, a chamber choir specializing in 16th century polyphony from the continent. Rupert is currently looking for sponsorship to help fund his studies.


Abi Smetham studied singing with Anne Howells at the Royal Academy of Music while working for an academic music degree at King’s College, London between 1995 and 1998. She sings for several professional vocal ensembles including Polyphony conducted by Stephen Layton, The Cambridge Singers conducted by John Rutter and the King’s Consort conducted by Robert King and appeared with them in 2006 on the soundtrack for the film ‘The Da Vinci Code’. More recently she has toured with Clare College Choir to Japan as the mezzo soprano soloist in the Mozart Requiem and was one of the soloists in a performance of the Verdi Requiem in Trinity College Chapel in Cambridge. In 2003 she began training for ordained ministry at Westcott House in Cambridge, was ordained priest of the Church of England in 2007 and is now Assistant Curate on the Manor Estates in Sheffield. In the last few years she has become the duet partner of the Bishop of Sheffield in a series of fundraising concerts!


Eloise Irving is a soprano who has recently graduated from Central School of Speech and Drama having been a choral scholar at Kings College, London. She is currently studying singing with Julie Kennard from the Royal Academy of Music and trained in voice and harp at the Guildhall School of Music. Career highlights include winning the 1998 BBC Radio 2 Choirgirl of the Year competition. This led to her appearing as a soloist in Sunday Half Hour, Good Morning Sunday, Friday Night is Music Night, Daily Service and Songs of Praise. In December, 1999, she released a CD with the BBC Concert Orchestra: “A Christmas Celebration” including her composition: “The Little Messiah” which was released as a single and performed with the BBC Concert Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall, Fairfield Hall and Birmingham Symphony Hall. In March 2001, she was soloist in a performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Requiem” with the Scottish Opera Orchestra at Caird Hall, Dundee. Most recently, she reached the final 20 in the BBC “How do you Solve a Problem like Maria?” competition, which led to her performing on BBC 1 at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sydmonton Festival. More recent engagements include performing Handel’s “Messiah” and Berlioz “L’Enfance du Christ” with Tenebrae at the Barbican Hall with the LSO, conducted by Sir Colin Davis on BBC 3. She has also appeared with Howard Goodall’s “Enchanted Voices” in a series of Sky concerts in the Westcountry and also with the Oxford Camerata at a Naxos Concert at St Johns Smith Square, the Edington Festival and at Malmesbury Abbey . She regularly performs as a soprano soloist throughout London and Sussex and her solo performances have included Purcell’s “The Faerie Queene”, Handel’s “Messiah”, Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio”, Gabriel in Haydn’s “Creation” and as a soloist in the Monteverdi Vespers with Neil Jenkins and the Sussex Chorus. She regularly sings as a soprano at St Bartholomews Smithfield, All Saints Margaret Street, St James Spanish Place and Guards Chapel. Recent recordings include 2 CDS with Oxford Camerata, 1 CD with Voces Cantabiles and 1 CD with the Chapel choir at Kings College, London. She has also recorded a variety of big band numbers for SingLive UK. Eloise also enjoys singing whilst playing the harp and has performed extensively as a singer/harpist at various weddings, corporate events and orchestral concerts, featuring a range of works including her own compositions and arrangements. She most recently appeared as an actress/harpist in Holby City.


Edward Elias started singing when he won a chorister scholarship to King's College Choir, Cambridge, at the age of seven, where he later became Head Chorister. From there he won a music scholarship to Eton College, before returning to Cambridge, first as a choral scholar at Gonville & Caius College, and then at King's College for his final year. Immediately following graduation, he was chosen to sing the Welsh national anthem at the Rugby World Cup in Australia, singing to stadia of up to 70,000 people. Now a freelance singer in London, Edward sings for a number of choirs, including St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and the Temple choir. He has also performed solo and oratorio repertoire, including the role of Jesus in Bach's St John Passion in Tewkesbury Abbey. Edward has also worked with opera groups, including the Paris-based Opera Fuoco, as well as English Voices, and has just returned from touring Israel and Palestine with La Boheme. Other secular work includes recordings with the 8:15 vocal ensemble, film scores (including The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe), and various close harmony groups.

 

Ruaraidh Sutherland is a native of Scotland and received his early musical education at Wellington School in Ayr and the RSAMD in Glasgow. Since February 2007 he has been Assistant Director of Music at the Collegiate Church of St Mary in Warwick, where he plays the organ for four choral services each week, trains the choristers of the internationally renowned choirs; he also directs the increasingly successful St Mary’s Scholars Chamber Choir in services, concerts and tours (recently to Tewkesbury Abbey and Worcester Cathedral). Outside of St Mary’s, he teaches organ and piano at Warwick School, and holds the post of Vice-President of the Coventry and Warwickshire Organists Association.

He graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2006 with honours in music leaving with all the major academic and performance prizes. For over three years he was on the music staff of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh as organ scholar and spent a period of six months as the acting-Assistant Organist at the cathedral and Organist of Fettes College. As a student he performed regular concerts with Edinburgh Symphony Baroque, the Edinburgh Singers and the Edinburgh Bach Choir, toured with the University Music Society to Norway and Holland and undertook a number of recordings.

A Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, his organ teachers have included Simon Nieminski, Margaret Phillips, and currently with Andrew Fletcher, who continues to be an inspiring musical force. Recent organ concerts include the cathedrals of Birmingham, Edinburgh, Truro, St Albans, and the Colleges of Queen's and Exeter, Oxford. He is also an avid transcriber of orchestral works for the organ: his arrangement of Elgar’s Enigma Variations was released on the Pro Organo label (performed by Simon Nieminski) and recent transcriptions include Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, movements from Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Elgar’s First Symphony.

He enjoys cooking, fine ales, plenty of Mario Kart (and Zelda!), current affairs and cartoons!

PRESS RELEASE FOR CHORUS ANGELORUM
June 2008

In 1998, in what was to have been a “one time deal” with a Choral Residency at Ripon Cathedral in England, evolved into a remarkable chorus of eager singers whose goal was to promote and foster the most outstanding examples in the Anglican choral tradition. The Ripon Residency planted the seed for the formation of Chorus Angelorum, the name itself coming from the “In paradisum” portion of a Requiem Mass: “may a chorus of angels await you in paradise.” It seemed a most fitting name for a singing group with such high musical ideals and focus.

When one reflects upon these past ten years, the contributions made toward the originally stated goals have been both extraordinary and consistent. The local “agenda” has been to sing Choral Eucharist on the fourth Sunday of every month, offering numerous opportunities to expose the community to one of the richest choral traditions in the world. In a continuum of perhaps the very best of the contributions to choral music, only the German baroque and Italian renaissance can rival the English choral tradition, which is still very much alive and thriving in the cathedral system in England today. During this decade, Chorus Angelorum has accepted four additional residencies in England: Lincoln Cathedral, St. Mary’s Anglican Cathedral, Edinburgh, Durham Cathedral, and in 2008, Canterbury Cathedral.

Allow me to explain what a choral residency entails and how it can benefit an American choir beyond the notion of just another opportunity to vacation in England. As previously mentioned, the cathedral system in the Anglican church in England has a huge impact on choral development and opportunities within the culture. The cathedral choirs traditionally sing Choral Evensong every day of the week, with additional Matins and Holy Communion on Sundays. This spiritual rhythm has been going on in these great places for hundreds of years, well before the English Reformation in the 15th century. Each summer the cathedral choirs take a break from their duties for one-two months, and in their place, visiting choirs are invited to “fill in” while they are away. There is something, which goes beyond definition, that happens when a choir and those individual members of the organization, process down the same aisles and follow the same liturgical functions which have been taking place in the same manner, day after day, for centuries. Their sound becomes part of the layers of sound, the patina, already deposited on the stones and becomes a part of the history of the place. That sort of experience can be life-altering at the least.

In addition to these cyclical escapes to Great Britain, Chorus Angelorum has brought a bit of the English tradition to Houston by way of summer Tudor music workshops. Under the musical direction of David Trendell, music scholar, Senior Lecturer and Chapel Organist at London’s famed King’s College, four workshops have previously been offered: The Music of William Byrd, a celebration of the 500th anniversary of Thomas Tallis, a recognition of the tremendous musical contributions made during the marriage of Queen Mary Tudor and Prince Philip II of Spain, and in 2007, the music of Gibbons and Tomkins. A beneficial part of Trendell’s visit was to have a quartet of professional singers from his choir at St. Bartholomew the Great, London, accompany his, appearing in live performances on KUHF and a public concert during the workshop.

Chorus Angelorum is a 501.c3 organization receiving its operational funding from private donations. The Chorus has a membership of from 18-24 committed singers, offering the most professional experience available anywhere. Under the auspices of the William Byrd Society and in residence at Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church-Anglican Use in Houston, the Chorus continues to sing Choral Evensong at the Church each month. The final Evensong of the season, just prior to leaving for Canterbury, will be sung on Sunday, June 29, at 4:00 p.m. at Our Lady of Walsingham.

 

Our Lady of Walsingham Catholic Church – Anglican Use
7800 Shadyvilla Lane, Houston, Texas 77055

Past Workshops: 2007

Past Workshops: 2005

Past Workshops: 2003

Chorus Angelorum and friends during the Summer 2003 Workshop under the direction of David Trendell

Ed Franklin, Artistic Director for Chorus Angelorum, looks back at our 2003 Summer Workshop.

he summer is but a cloud of smoke and a series of memories of trips, time with families, and the tremendous sultry Gulf Coast heat. For Chorus Angelorum members and a host of other singers, it was a time for the Chorus’s second bi-annual summer choral workshop, lead once again by David Trendell, Department Head and Chapel Organist and Lecturer at King’s College, London. David also reigns over the music at London’s historic, and oldest surviving church, St. Bartholomew the Great. As in the past he was accompanied by a quartet of professional singers from St. Barts, who would sing a concert during the workshop as well as act as chorus section leaders during rehearsals throughout the week.

In 2001, the Board of Directors of Chorus Angelorum embarked on the notion of presenting a choral workshop in alternate years, open to other singers as well, and taking place in mid-summer, using as the overall theme, [William] Byrd and his Tudor Friends. That David Trendell was asked to lead this workshop was no surprise because he is a leading authority on English music from this period. It was decided that he should also bring a quartet of singers with him to demonstrate the particular musical style one needs when trying to sing, as accurately as possible, the music from the 16th century, often referred to as the Golden Age of English Polyphonic Music. That first time we had twenty-nine participants, and as predicted, everyone lucky enough to be there left thoroughly enriched by the experience, energized as only an emersion in music can do, and totally engaged with David’s knowledge of the subject and with his witty style of direction and leadership.

Knowing that the next workshop would be only two years away and knowing that time has a way of sneaking up on us, I immediately asked David to repeat his performance once again in Houston. The workshop was set for July 9-13, and after taking an oblique change of direction when selecting the music, we decided on yet another Tudor theme: The Marriage of England and Spain and the Reign of Queen Mary and Philip II of Spain. The general program was expanded quite a lot in that one full day was added to the schedule, running from Wednesday evening through Evensong on Sunday. In order to increase the depth of the musical experiences available, I invited the brilliant English organist, Simon Nieminski, recitalist, Pro Organo recording artist and Assistant Organist at St. Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh, to offer a series of Master Classes for organists, play a recital and to play for the closing Evensong service. It seemed appropriate then to offer a series of classes geared to music education teachers, and with that in mind, Phyllis King Braund was invited to teach two sessions on the Kodály teaching method. St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church once again generously offered to host the event, making available the necessary rehearsal facilities and food services for our group.

That is the history and the nuts-and-bolts process as to how we arrived at the second Tudor music workshop for 2003. This past summer we had forty-nine participants and, as predicted, David cast his spell over the singers and set the overall tone as to the level of musical performance expected from everyone. Because of the broad scope and the various possibilities made available by the title of the workshop, David chose a very ambitious program for the singers, drawing his selections from familiar English composers, such as Tallis, Tomkins and Byrd, as well as relatively unfamiliar composers from the Continent, such as Morales, Rogier, Monte, Guerrero and Lheritier. Because the workshop was conceived within the framework of Evening Prayer, using the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, service music – Preces and Responses and the Evening Canticles –and an Anglican chant setting of a Psalm were added to the musical list.

When all was said and done, everyone was completely mesmerized by David’s skill at teaching the challenging music, not only the notes, but also the various styles needed to fully understand the different pieces. Having the solo quartet in the group acting as section leaders was once again a huge success. Being such exceptional singers created a slight danger in that the other participants could have been tempted to sit back and bask in the soloists’ sounds, but this didn’t happen. The schedule, while demanding, was punctuated by great meals served by the Women of St. Thomas’, and the various breaks within the rehearsal sessions were carefully engineered by choristers Martha Schuller, Susan Jones and Alys Dyke, tossing out gag gifts and favors for everyone; there was never a dull moment whether singing or on breaks. The pace was fast, always engaging, and at the end of it all, everyone was riding the wave of musical renewal while asking “when are we going to do this again?”.

While the closing Choral Evensong was the high point of the workshop, a “graduation” of sorts, bringing all of the week’s efforts to a close, the concerts on Friday and Saturday nights by the guest artists represented benchmarks for the musical styles that had received so much attention during rehearsals throughout the week. One participant remarked after hearing the quartet’s concert that watching them sing and hearing how they sang the phrases was the best example of everything that had been discussed, or implied, all week long. Shaking his head he said, “That was the best lesson of all.” Another seasoned singer told me that she had sung, and heard, Byrd’s Ave verum many times, but “I’ve never heard anything like that. It’s exactly how you feel it should be sung, and that’s all you can say about it.” The four singers were: Becky Hickey, soprano; Abigail Smetham, alto; Julian Woodward, tenor; and Maurice McSweeney, bass. They all reside in London and are part of the professional octet at St. Bartholomew the Great, London.

Organist Simon Nieminski played a concert of music from his most recent CD recording featuring transcriptions for organ of music from the opera. The whimsy of this concert exploited his tremendous technical skills and his unparalleled ability to fully use the various colors available on an organ.

So what’s next? Well, we are committed to the next workshop in 2005, and two weeks after we waved farewell to our English friends, we met to debrief what had been and to begin cultivating what will be. How great is that?

Past Workshops: 2001

Byrd and his Tudor Friends

The first Chorus Angelorum workshop with David trendell studied the music of William Byrd and other English Tudor composers. It was held at St. Thomas Espiscopal in Houston.

 

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