Thursday, March 5, 2015

Concert Review from ACDA 2015- National Youth Chamber Choir of Great Britain

On Friday at the 2015 ACDA National conference in Salt Lake City the National Youth Chamber Choir of Great Britain, led by Ben Parry, preformed a wonderful program of mostly British works at Abravanel Hall.

The members of the Youth Chamber Choir

Here is the program they presented:

Sing Joyfully    William Byrd

The Lady Oriana    John Wilbye

Music, When Soft Voices Die    CHH Parry

Lay a Garland Upon her Hearse    Robert Pearsall

Coeles ascendit hodie    CV Stanford

No Longer Mourn for Me    R Vaughn Williams

A Hymn to the Virgin    B Britten

Let Beauty be Our Memorial    JAC Redford (American composer)

Words    Anders Edenroth (founder of the Real Group)

Flame    Ben Parry

This program was an absolute delight as the young singers, ranging from about 21 to 25, sang with clear tone and lively enthusiasm as they glided through a mini-history tour of British music. Parry's conducting was clear and encouraged an open, sweet and expressive sound from these highly talented young singers. The chamber choir is the top group of the organization, which numbers over 800 singers of various ages.I was especially impressed with their open, healthy posture and naturalness. I would not be surprised to learn that they have had extensive Alexander Technique training or something similar.

"Words" was a hit with the audience due to its clever text and the beatbox presentation. We heard Real Group sing this on Wednesday night to great effect.

Parry's own piece "Flame" was a real burner as it concluded with a unrelenting pulsing wall of fff sound. I'd like to hear this piece again in order to more fully grasp what the conductor/composer was striving to achieve.  I was not at all familiar with Ben Parry, yet I found a few folks who know him and they spoke very highly of his work. I highly agree, and would love to hear more from this choir and conductor/composer.

The choir has blogged a little bit from ACDA- you can read their comments on the ACDA experience here.

Fun Factoid-- Over the years, a number of singers from the organization have gone on to become Swingle Singers!

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