31 Dec 2022
Crouch End Festival Chorus singers enjoyed the busiest year of the choir's 38-year history in 2022 with 22 concerts, in three cities, and 10 recording sessions involving a vastly eclectic range of music.
Tenors, Guy and Josh
Performing 10 times at the Royal Albert Hall, including the First Night of the BBC Proms, the choir sang music from Verdi to John Williams.
Other concerts and recordings included works by Beethoven and Mendelssohn, a concert with composer Karl Jenkins, music from video games and recording for two prestigious TV series and two films.
“This is entirely down to our ability to turn our hand to anything that is put our way and to come up with the goods, “ said music director David Temple. “There is no other choir in the world that can do that.”
Temple believes the highlights of the year were Verdi’s Requiem at the Proms with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in July, and a recording in November of works by the Mendelssohn siblings Felix and Fanny which is expected to be released during 2023.
The choir also showed its versatility in a video games concert with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Irish composer and conductor Eimear Noone in June and a special concert with Welsh composer Jenkins for his 75th birthday in March.
The choir also performed with Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli on a tour in Birmingham and at London's 02 arena, and completed recordings for two high-profile TV programmes including the Netflix series The Crown.
Details of the other TV programme as well as the filming of another movie involving the choir cannot be released yet because of contractual reasons.
But what can be revealed are the numbers of rehearsals, recordings and concerts undertaken by the choir in 2022: an unprecedented 139, an average of close to 3 events per week.
Tenor Josh Blunsden, 27, was the only singer who managed to take part in every performance, recording and filming.
"Singing with CEFC has been such a joy this year. I've made some unforgettable memories and have been part of projects that I never could have predicted would come my way. " said PhD student Josh, who joined the choir in mid-2021.
"We performed an incredible variety of music in 2022, and I can't wait to see what opportunities 2023 will bring."
Soprano Sarah Niblock was one of a handful of choir members who went close to a full house despite working full time as a marketing and communications consultant.
“From large arenas and concert halls to small recording studios, even film sets, and from the big classics to new commissions, soundtracks and more, there’s never a dull moment, “ Sarah said. “You also get to become very good at managing your diary.”
Pedro Ferreira, a singer who notched up 21 concerts, three recordings and a film, added: “2022 will stand as one of the highlights of my life. What a tremendous experience and intense period of learning it has been!”
Ten new singers have joined Crouch End Festival Chorus in the last year.
Tenor Guy Shirm said: “I auditioned and joined the choir in December 2021, as a hobby to keep me busy after retirement. I gathered the choir was active …but what a mad year! And I didn’t even do everything.”
Altos, Tina and Natalie
The singing opportunities offered by Crouch End Festival Chorus never lose their excitement, even for those who have sung with the choir for decades.
Alto Tina Burnett, who joined the choir in 1985 (the year after it was founded), said: “I'm the second-longest serving singer in the choir, and I think it must have been the busiest year we’ve ever had.
"I missed one Beethoven concert, the Christmas concerts and part of recording project, but it was still a bit busy."
"I like that we are singing our own concerts at Alexandra Palace at the moment, as it’s good to sing in a big venue locally as well as all the other exciting places we perform in.”
The next Crouch End Festival Chorus concert is Bach Mass in B minor on Saturday January 28 2023 at Alexandra Palace Theatre.