At long last, we have returned to live rehearsals! We held our first on September 7 at our customary venue, St Matthew's in Chichester Road, East Croydon, (see photo), focussing on a new selection of pieces for our Choral Heritage concert in Basingstoke Anvil, with our friends from Basingstoke Choral Society, on Sunday November 14. During lockdown we rehearsed the magnificent Bach Mass in B Minor, together with several new pieces: the haunting Misa Criolla by Ariel Ramirez, and a wonderful setting of poems by Federico Lorca. We have put those aside and plan to return to them next year. Meanwhile we have some exciting Christmas plans too - to be announced shortly. Watch this space!
Despite all the disappointments and setbacks, we were determined to keep the spirt of the choir alive during lockdown. We recorded ourselves singing that wonderful anthem of hope and togetherness, You'll Never Walk Alone. Twenty-two choir members took part, with our music director David Gibson accompanying them on piano. As well as demonstrating the choir's commitment to excellence in singing, it is also an opportune technical achievement in which a number of committee members played key parts. So CLICK HERE to see us sing. The photo shows one of the magnificent windows at St Matthew's Church, where we rehearse in normal times, which appears at the start of our recording.
The choir raised £400 for Floating Shelter, a charity for Croydon's homeless, at its Christmas Cheer concert at St Matthews church on Monday 16 December - this was in the pre-lockdown era in 2019. The charity is backed by some 30 Croydon churches and provides food and beds for the homeless during the Christmas period. The sum of just over £400 was donated by members of the 180-strong audience, who had responded enthusiastically to a rousing concert programme. The choir sang works by Bach and Vaughan Williams and led the audience in singalong carols. Renowned trumpeter Crispian Steele-Perkins. supported by choir music director David Gibson on the organ, delivered further musical treats. and there were strong performances by baritone Edmund Saddington, cellist Ellen Baumring-Gledhill and pianist Siobhain O'Higgins. The concert followed a hour-long performance by the choir at the famous East Croydon Boxpark on Sunday 8 December (photo above). Next up is the choir's appearance for a performance of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana at the Fairfield Halls on Saturday 28 March.
The Croydon Philharmonic Choir made an electrifying return to the Fairfield Halls on 26 October 2019, 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.
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!