Lord Wandsworth Leaderboard

A sublime musical experience

Published on isbi School News dated Monday 19th of January 2015

A stunning concert in Ealing Abbey on Monday 12th January was the culmination of a year-long partnership between St Benedict's School and Voces 8, the internationally renowned choral ensemble. In truth the word 'concert' does not do the event justice it was more a sublime musical experience which showed the enthralled audience exactly why Voces 8 has reached its top position in the world of classical music. Pupils from St Benedict's School, local primary school children and Abbey choristers joined Voces 8 for some of the numbers in a varied and entertaining a capella programme.

Voces 8 opened the evening with Ubi Caritas by Ola Gjeilo and Magnificat Primi Toni by Palestrina, the second piece having featured that very morning on Classic Fm. The St Benedict's Consort Choir then joined Voces 8 in Bogoroditsye Dyevo by Rachmaninov and the combined voices surprised the audience with a 'world premiere' of a short new piece. Voces 8 had just come back from a tour of China and Japan and they treated the audience to one of the numbers which had formed their tour repertoire Send in the Clowns by Stephen Sondheim. It was then back to classics with Mother of God Here I Stand by Tavener and, arguably the most famous choral work of all, Ave Verum by Mozart. The Ealing Abbey Choristers then joined Voces 8 for two beautiful pieces by Bruckner just before the interval.

St Benedict's Year 7 pupils got the second half going with aplomb in a very well received arrangement of a traditional African song. Voces 8 took the stage for Were You There, a traditional spiritual arranged by Bob Chilcott and Underneath the Stars, a Kate Rusby number arranged by Jim Clements. For many in the audience the highlight of the evening was the Year 5 performance of Happy by Pharrell Williams, bringing together Voces 8, St Benedict's Form 1 children and also children from North Ealing and Christ the Saviour primary schools. This went down a treat and was hugely applauded. Voces 8 finished off with three pieces. The Music of the Night by Andrew Lloyd-Webber, arranged by Jim Clements, was absolutely stunning and left the audience gasping. There had to be an encore and Voces 8 obliged with I won't dance. It was a performance that you didn't want to end. Fortunately, Voces 8 and St Benedict's School have signed up for a three-year partnership, so we are going to have some more!

Nic Mehew, Music accompanying teacher from North Ealing Primary School said: 'Please pass on our thanks to all concerned - the day was a triumph in every way and I feel honoured that we were able to take part! Amazing!'

During the past year Voces 8 has run a Young Leaders Programme at St Benedict's, training students in Years 11, 12 and 13, who will undertake outreach work in local primary schools in the coming months. The ensemble has also delivered workshops to pupils, choirs and ensembles at the school to raise the standard of choral performance. From June 2015 a one-week internship would also be available for St Benedict's students, which would be of immense benefit for students seeking a career in Music.

Find out more about Voces 8 on www.voces8.com
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