Welcome to Luminosa’s first newsletter of 2022

Newsletter March 2022


A collective joy in singing and passionate leadership by Choral Director, Rebekah Abbott, finds the family of Luminosa choirs all back rehearsing live on Tuesday evenings. We are, as ever, grateful for the Covid-safe practices in place at The Maltings, Alton. Membership has remained strong and provided a much-valued sense of community for its members during the last two years.


In our rehearsal on 8th March, the Choir paused to reflect on the war in Ukraine and the impact on its people. Dressed in blue and yellow for solidarity, Luminosa joined with choirs across the UK in the singing of the Ukraine National Anthem and simultaneously launched our own appeal for donations to The British Red Cross (details on how to donate on Luminosa’s Facebook page and on the website www.luminosamusic.com).


Two years later than scheduled, Luminosa will be celebrating their twelve-year anniversary with a concert on 2nd April at the magnificent All Saints Church, Odiham. The evening will showcase music from composers who have all drawn on inspirations from the past for their text.

Cecilia McDowall: Da Vinci Requiem

At the heart of the programme, the Choir is excited to be performing the large-scale Da Vinci Requiem which was composed by Cecilia McDowall for the 500-year anniversary of the artist’s death in 2019. It has been performed only once before in the UK. Composed from Leonardo’s Notebooks, the composer’s distinctive fusion of fluent, melodic lines with occasional dissonant harmonies and rhythmic exuberance speaks directly to listeners, instrumentalists and singers alike. The piece is powerfully communicative and will be conducted by Rebekah Abbott, Artistic Director of Luminosa, and accompanied by Michael Higgins at the wonderful Odiham organ and a beautiful grand piano, hired especially for the concert. The evening will be enhanced by a rare and thrilling opportunity to hear an illuminating talk by Cecilia McDowall herself about the links to Leonardo Da Vinci within this work and the composition process.

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Five Mystical Songs

To mark 150 years since his birth, Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs, will be performed. Based on the devotional poetry of the seventeenth century Welsh-born poet and Anglican priest, George Herbert, the work is a fitting musical prelude to Easter: opening with simple, direct, intrinsic spirituality and finishing with the majestic Antiphon, “Let all the World in Every Corner Sing”. Stuart Orme is the Baritone soloist who will join Luminosa for this performance.

Luminosa is also delighted to have commissioned a new work, Salve Deus, Rex Judaeorum, an impassioned portrayal of the Easter Cantata, by composer Alison Willis. Alison has breathed musical life into the work of Aemilia Lanyer (1569–1645), one of the first Englishwomen to publish a volume of original verse at a time when there was still suspicion of women’s work in print. The poem is a daring version of the story of Christ, told from the perspective of Pilate’s wife who, according to Matthew 27.19, tried to dissuade her husband from ordering Christ’s death. This moving and compelling piece is a synthesis of choral clarity, striking chords and harmony. Its composer, Alison Willis, is already a feted composer, having been commissioned by the London Concert Choir to compose A Light Not Yet Ready to Go Out for Breast Cancer Now and Non Omnis Moriar for the BBC Singers.

An Anniversary Concert Not To Be Missed!

With robust direction by Artistic Director and Conductor, Rebekah Abbott, the addition of high-quality instrumentalists and soloists, and motivated by a shared philosophy of outstanding collective music- making, the Choir has enjoyed consistently enthusiastic responses from audiences over twelve successful years. Luminosa looks forward to performing these vibrant pieces at Easter, with its focus on spiritual celebration and human growth, in the beautiful setting of All Saints Church, Odiham on Saturday 2nd April. Doors open at 6.30pm for the concert at 7.30pm.

Luminosa is grateful for the support of their new sponsor, Hattingley Valley Wines, which enables them to offer tickets at just £15 for adults (under 12s-£5), available on Ticket Source www.luminosamusic.com from January 22nd. More information can be found on the Choir’s website www.luminosamusic.com



Luminosa Rising Voices (ages 10-16) and Luminosa Young Voices (ages 6-11), the choirs creatively led by youth music specialists, Jonathan Upfold and Josh Robinson, have grown in number and confidence and continue to produce exceptional sound.

During the pandemic, Rising Voices collaborated on an original song Together which drew on shared musical creativity as well as an inspired team effort. The song was premiered on Saturday 21st August at 5pm and can now be heard on Youtube: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DeKZA8r4Mi8&feature=youtu.be

The workshop ‘Spooktacular’ held in October Half Term 2021 was a resounding success and great fun as well as developing and embedding new skills and singing techniques.


Later in the year, there will be a competition at Leith Hill Music Festival where both choirs came second in their class in 2020.

Also coming soon will be a rewards-based incentive scheme to allow our young singers to boost their creative control and be rewarded for their hard work and get the recognition they deserve.

Young and Rising Voices enjoy a broad range of music which enriches their understanding, not only of their own culture but those cultures of others around the world. The young choirs will be taking a substantial part in Luminosa’s summer concert, ‘The Music of Africa’, at St Peter’s Church, Petersfield on 2nd July.


A ‘sparkling’ new sponsor for Luminosa

Luminosa is thrilled to announce Hattingley Valley Wines as the Choir’s sponsor for the 2021/22 season. Award-winning wine makers based in rural Hampshire, they source quality grapes from growers all over the country, as well as from their own vineyards, and produce exceptional sparkling and still wines both for the UK and abroad. The Choir often serves Hattingley Valley Wine at concerts. 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 is also grateful for the sponsorship of Polestar, local pension & investment advisers.


To celebrate twelve years of music-making and choral community, Luminosa will be launching a range of beautiful, quality-branded and ecologically produced tote bags and vehicle bumper stickers which will be available for purchase at the anniversary concert in Odiham on 2nd April.


Luminosa is refreshing its website! Watch out for our new look soon!


Saturday 2nd July 2022: The Music of Africa
The Luminosa family of choirs will perform a programme of the music of Africa, to include a collaborative performance of Alexander le Strange’s Zimbe, a modern, lively celebration of Africa’s rich traditions and culture.
St.Peter’s Church, Petersfield 7.30pmWith Orchestra and Soloists
Venue & Date TBC, 7:30pm

Sunday 27th November 2022: Brahms Requiem
With piano for four hands and soloists
6pm at The Maltings, Farnham

Sunday 11th December 2022: Christmas Concert
Luminosa invites family and friends to join them in a concert of much-loved Christmas music.
4.30pm at St Mary’s RC Church, Alton