Symfunny No. 2
At the age of 42, music producer, composer and conductor James Morgan was diagnosed with with young onset Parkinson's, a progressive neurological condition. James has also been the Music Director of Brighton Festival Chorus since 1998. He and his partner, fellow producer, composer and mezzo soprano Juliette Pochin, immediately saw the importance of using their musical connections to highlight the impact of Parkinson's. They came up with the idea of a spectacular event of music and comedy, called Symfunny, which was held at the Royal Albert Hall in June 2014. The show raised over £125,000 to continue the research to find a cure for the disease.
Well, now Symfunny is back! On April 19th 2017, Parkinson's UK will present Symfunny No. 2, and BFC is very proud to have been invited to take part and support James and Parkinson's UK.
Stars will include Agnes Brown of multi award-winning international TV show Mrs. Brown's Boys, Aled Jones, the UK's best selling classical singer of last year, Pete Townshend, legendary member of The Who, multimillion selling and award-winning recording artist Katie Melua, the world's most successful musical theatre group Collabro, and Parkinson's UK resident funny man Rob Deering.
Bringing the funny alongside Mrs Brown and Rob will be stars of BBC sitcom Josh - Josh Widdicombe, and Jack Dee with BBC Radio 4's I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue team. Jack said, "We are delighted to join the fight against Parkinson's and play silly games in the magnificent setting of the Royal Albert Hall."
Returning to the Symfunny stage and hosting this spectacular evening is stand-up comedian and star of the West End's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Jason Manford.
For further information, and to buy tickets, click here.
Brighton Festival Closing Concert
We are delighted to be performing John Adams' great choral masterpiece, Harmonium, once again. We last performed it it the 2009 Festival.
John Adams (born 1947) is an American composer of classical music and opera, with strong roots in minimalism. Harmonium was his first major orchestral commission (from the San Francisco Symphony) and the first time he had written for choir. It was first performed in 1981, and turned out to be his breakthrough piece.
The first movement is a setting of the poem "Negative Love" by the 17th century English poet, John Donne. The second movement is a setting of the poem "Because I Could not Stop for Death" by Emily Dickinson, the 19th century American poet. The third movement is a setting of another of Dickinson's poems, "Wild Nights".
Dame Vera Lynn
Dame Vera Lynn, known as the Forces' sweetheart for entertaining the troops during World War Two, is celebrating her one hundredth birthday. To mark the occasion, a new album of some of her best-known songs has been released by Decca Records. The tracks feature her original vocals, but with guest singers and new orchestral and choral backing. Brighton Festival Chorus was delighted to have been invited to record backing vocals for some of the tracks.
The album is called Vera Lynn 100. Read about it on the BBC website.
We wish Dame Vera a very happy birthday!
Last September we completed the first phase of a recording session for SOMM Records, who specialise in English music. We spent two days in the Colosseum in Watford with Barry Wordsworth and the BBC Concert Orchestra, recording a number of less well-known pieces by Elgar.
We have just completed a second session in Watford, where we recorded Elgar's "From the Bavarian Highlands" as phase 2 of the same package. The recording should be available later this year.
We in the Chorus are immensely proud of one of our altos, Jessica Curry.
Not content with winning a BAFTA last year for the music she composed for the award-winning video game, ‘Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture’, Jess has just been offered her very own show on Classic FM. Dedicated to symphonic video game music, the 6 week series will form part of Classic FM’s 25th anniversary celebrations, and will air on Saturday evenings from 9pm-10pm, starting April 22.
2018 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Brighton Festival Chorus, and we are hatching plans for concerts, commissions and special performances to mark this event. The plans are still in the early stages at the moment, so there isn't much we can tell you yet, but - watch this space!
2018 is also the centenary of the end of the First World War, and there are plans for us to mark this occasion - again, still in the very early stages.