The Croydon Philharmonic Choir made an electrifying return to the Fairfield Halls on 26 October, staging a performance of the Verdi Requiem that won outstanding praise from critics and audience members alike.
Inside Croydon acclaimed the choir for its “magnificent” singing, and a leading classical reviewer said the performance came close to matching the most moving he had ever heard – in Rome in 1970, conducted by Claudio Abbado and featuring Luciano Pavarotti and other classical superstars. The reviewer, Jack Buckley of Seen and Heard International, also praised the choir for its vocal pronunciation and for singing from memory.
Experienced concert-goers also offered lavish praise. One congratulated choir secretary Pedro Ferreira on “an amazing performance – the sound was astonishingly powerful”. Another said the evening was “a tremendous credit to the choir, orchestra and soloists”. A third said those present “would be hard-pressed to realise you were not professionals”.
The 150-strong choir, which included guests from other local choirs, was making its first appearance at the Fairfield Halls following its three-year closure. Conducted by music director David Gibson, it performed with the London Mozart Players, also returning to their home base, and four exceptional soloists: soprano Erica Eloff, mezzo Samantha Price, tenor Alberto Sousa and bass Nicholas Warden. While praising all four, Buckley considered Erica “the outstanding soloist – chillingly dramatic and blessed with a perfect vocal technique”.
The 500-plus audience evidently agreed, delivering prolonged applause that intensified when David Gibson brought the choir to their feet. Choir members were hard-pushed to remember a more thrilling occasion.
We are also thrilled to report that £717 was collected for the South East Cancer Help Centre, the Purley-based charity that we supported with the concert.
We have almost 100 active members. We are always keen to have more, and we have some big offers for anyone joining us. All new members get their first term free. Tenors, basses and second sopranos can join for a whole year for free. There is a 50% discount for anyone under 30. And full-time students pay nothing at all!
Singing is inspirational, beneficial - and fun. If you would like to try us out, come to one of our rehearsals at St Matthew's Church in Chichester Road. Proceedings start at 7.15pm.
You can contact us first, using the details on our website - or just turn up. We welcome all voices - especially tenors and sopranos! You will find us sociable and inclusive. You don't need lots of experience - just a liking of music and a readiness to learn. If you decide you would like to join us, we can sign you up and you will be singing on stage with the rest of us in no time.
There are more details on how to take advantage of our big membership offers on the Join Us page.
Croydon’s Mayor, Councillor Bernadette Khan, sang along with the Croydon Philharmonic Choir when it staged a one-hour carol concert at Croydon Boxpark on Sunday 9 December.
The mayor, together with her husband Qaiyum, were invited to the concert when the choir learned that she is a keen follower of choral singing. She said afterwards that the choir’s singing was “wonderful”. The mayor is pictured (left) with husband Qaiyum, choir music director David Gibson and chair Jill Aebi.
The choir’s one-hour set at Boxpark featured a dozen popular carols and Christmas songs, ending with We wish you a merry Christmas. An enthusiastic Boxpark crowd joined the mayor in singing the half-dozen audience numbers.
The choir staged the event in support of the South East Cancer Help Centre, a Purley-based charity which provides support for local cancer patients and their families. A collection at the concert raised over £110 for the centre, whose fundraiser Wendy Ager thanked the choir and audience for their generosity.
Mayor Bernadette Khan is to be a guest at the choir’s Christmas Cheer concert at St Matthew’s, East Croydon, on Monday 17 December. “I’m looking forward to it,” she said.
We have produced an exciting short film showing us in rehearsal and in a concert performance. It lasts just under eight minutes and provides a brilliant showcase of our appeal and our talents. The film, produced by Anna Keel, shows us rehearsing and then performing our concert at St John's, Upper Norwood on 4 November 2017, when we sang Dona Nobis Pacem by Ralph Vaughan Williams and The Armed Man by Karl Jenkins. It also gives a sense of the choir's atmosphere and the pleasure and rewards its members find in singing. The film is to be shown in local cinemas and will act as a wonderful recruitment aid. Just click on the link below to watch it!