Welcome to Luminosa’s Newsletter!
Newsletter February 2023
Welcome to Luminosa’s first newsletter of 2023! We hope our supporters are all well and that the year has begun happily. Here is a round-up of our news in each of the ‘family’ of choirs and information to whet your appetite for the programme of exciting events to come.
LUMINOSA’S PERFORMANCE OF BRAHMS’ REQUIEM A RESOUNDING SUCCESS
Challenging but enormously rewarding to perform, Luminosa produced another stellar evening at their November concert at the Maltings in Farnham. Luminosa is lucky to have gained a number of new members and their contribution to the Choir’s blended sound is already evident.
The accompaniment of piano with four hands was an inspired decision and pianists, Adam Blosse and Valentina Seferinova, produced an animated, virtuoso performance, not only throughout Brahms Requiem but also in their superlative presentation of Debussy’s Petite Suite which opened the concert.
Soprano soloist, Ella da Jongh, once again delivered an elegant performance with wonderful soaring tones, particularly in Movement V. Joe Chalmers’ warm, rich baritone added real depth and colour to the performance.
LUMINOSA CHMABER VOICES CONCERT
From Darkness into Light, Luminosa Chamber Voices’ concert of music and reflective readings, held on 5th February at All Saints Church, Alton was an uplifting and beautiful evening. The 25-strong choir held the audience absorbed and still for a full hour of uninterrupted exquisite harmony and pure sound. With graceful balance of light and shade and professional attention to detail, especially in diction, the human condition was evoked with beauty and delicate complexity. The Choir performed most of the pieces a cappella, revealing a standard of singing that would not have been out of place in one of our great cathedrals.
On Tuesday 17th January, we held a very well attended open rehearsal. We practised several movements from the Rachmaninov All-Night Vigil. Everyone was in good voice and sounded amazing!
The rehearsal session was rounded off with a social with refreshments, where we all got to know each other better. It was a brilliant evening and fantastic to see so many new faces.
Many people who attended wrote back, saying what a fun rehearsal it was, and how keen they are to join, or to come along to our next open rehearsal.
If you like what you have read above, and/or you have seen the photos on social media and are interested in coming to an open rehearsal, the next one will be early in the autumn term. Keep an eye on our social media accounts for more details in the future.
OUR SPRING CONCERT IS A MESSAGE OF LIGHT AND HOPE
Our next concert will be held on Saturday 25th March at All Saints Church, Odiham. We are delighted to be performing Sergei Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil, along with Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna, and Michael Higgins’ O Salutaris Hostia.
Arguably Rachmaninov’s finest achievement, All-Night Vigil is a haunting cornerstone of the choral repertoire, and an overwhelming listening experience. Written within two weeks during the First World War in early 1915, he was looking to write something more introspective than usual: not for liturgical use but as a war benefit concert.
The All-Night Vigil asks the congregation to contemplate the light of the coming dawn as emblematic of Christ’s resurrection. Rachmaninov followed the church’s tradition of basing ten of the fifteen sections on chants, with the remaining five being more free form. In particular, the ‘Kiev’ chant resonates most poignantly today. The whole work is full of exquisite harmonies, ranging from top soprano to bottom bass, full of light and shade: a radiant masterpiece.
The first performance took place in March 1915, when it was warmly received by critics and audiences alike. However, the Russian Revolution of 1917, and the rise of the Soviet Union, led to government condemnation of sacred music. Consequently, no other composition marks the end of an era so completely as this quiet, reflective and deeply moving work.
The concert will also feature Luminosa Chamber Voices who will perform Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna. Written in 1997 following the death of his mother, this beautiful work explores music’s power to preserve and remember, and the depth of human capacity to love. Lauridsen presents sacred Latin texts in five movements with luminous shifting harmonies, perfectly expressing a timeless sense of serenity.
Michael Higgins will provide sensitive, atmospheric piano accompaniment. Luminosa is also honoured to be performing his exquisite O Salutaris Hostia (an arrangement of Elgar’s Nimrod) which he composed during the Covid lockdown.
Conducted by our inspiring artistic director, Rebekah Abbott, Luminosa will perform this exceptional music with a surprise addition to the concert experience which will enhance the evening’s message of hope and light.
If you love choral music and appreciate compositions that lift you from the mundane, you should not miss our spring concert at the beautiful All Saints Church, Odiham on Saturday March 25th at 7pm. Generous support from Luminosa’s sponsor, Hattingley Valley Wines, allows tickets to be available at just £15 for adults (under 12s-£5), available on Ticketsource www.luminosamusic.com
YOUNG AND RISING VOICES NEWS
Luminosa Rising Voices have had a great start to the new year, singing a variety of new songs to add to their repertoire and, in the process, beginning a new journey of confidence building, performance skills and developing their sound as a choir which is shaping up very well. Some young singers are even singing solos and leading the group.
The ‘Bring a Friend Rehearsal’ was very successful, and several new members have joined this term. The highlight of this term will be the Basingstoke Music Festival on 4th March.
This term Luminosa Young and Rising Voices are enjoying singing all about ‘Heroes and Villains’, with Rising Voices as ‘baddies’ and Young Voices as ‘goodies’. This gives the two youth choirs a creative and fun focus, allowing for songs to be explored in minor keys, as well as changing vocal qualities.
This year, the young choirs look forward to more workshops, choir competitions and concerts shared with the whole Luminosa family.
LUMINOSA VOICES 2022-2023 PROGRAMME
23rd MARCH 2023-Rachmaninov All Night Vigil, Lauridsen Lux Aeterna, Higgins O Salutaris Hostia
Pianist: Michael Higgins
All Saints Church, Odiham 7pm
15th JULY 2023- A Coronation Celebration
St Peters Church, Petersfield 7pm
25th NOVEMBER 2023-Haydn Nelson Mass
Venue and details tbc
FRIENDS & SPONSORS
If you have attended some of our previous performances, loved them and would like to be closer to what happens and enjoy some benefits, then perhaps you might like to be become a Friend or Sponsor of Luminosa?
We offer our Friends and Sponsors a number of attractive advantages, including priority seat bookings for 2 reserved seats, a free drink and programme at each concert, invitations to join choir social events, observe rehearsals and more.
For more information email Dane Batt, our Friends & Sponsors Lead, on firstname.lastname@example.org
Luminosa is honoured to be sponsored by Hattingley Valley Wines. Their generous sponsorship helps Luminosa to engage quality soloists and accompanists for performances. Hattingley produce a wide range of wines which you can explore further on their website: https://hattingleyvalley.com.
Luminosa raised £1700 in support of the Red Cross, Ukraine Appeal in retiring collections at concerts throughout 2022. The Choir has voted to support The Fountain Centre this year.
The Fountain Centre is a small, fully independent charity based at St Luke’s Cancer Centre in Guildford, celebrating its 25th birthday this year. The Centre provides complementary therapies, counselling, information and support in a calming and relaxed atmosphere to cancer patients and their families from all over Surrey and the surrounding areas. The Fountain Centre, like all charities, relies on donations from individuals, groups and organisations. It costs £220,000 a year to run, and these costs are only set to rise with an ever-increasing demand on their invaluable services.
There will be a retiring collection on behalf of The Fountain Centre at each of our concerts in 2023.