Oakham School’s acclaimed Chamber Choir made their annual visit to London on Thursday 30 January to perform by invitation in the Brandenburg Choral Festival. For the second year running, the choir was privileged to perform in St Stephen Walbrook church in the heart of the city, which is a Wren church blessed with amazing acoustics.
The choir’s programme contrasted British music by Henry Purcell and Benjamin Britten, alongside Zoltán Kodály’s fabulous Missa Brevis, composed and premiered during World War II. Conducted by Director of Music Peter Davis and accompanied by School Organist Harry Jacques, the choir rose to the significant repertoire challenges with aplomb. Highlights of the first half of the programme included a brilliant performance of Britten’s unaccompanied Hymn to St Cecilia, featuring Bethany Davis performing the extended soprano solo, and stylish performances of Purcell anthems Hear my prayer and Jehova, quam multi sunt hostes mei with solos from William Collison and Zsolti Johnson. Kodály’s mass setting gave both choir and organist the chance to revel in the wide-ranging musical styles of the composer’s striking composition, with the whole choir responding with versatility and passion. Further accomplished soloists included Lucy Collison, Holly Frostwick, Emilia Hubbard, Grace Muris and Gabe Tufail Smith.
Oakham’s singers received some fabulous feedback after the concert, with the organisers applauding their “superb performance”, describing the School’s “Music Department as a shining light in presenting Oakham to the world”. Audience feedback applauded the “very talented young singers” who “sounded professional and sang faultlessly” and presented “a most enjoyable evening”. Congratulations to all involved!