||Vivace Classical Choir Receives Standing Ovations
In November 2005 several local papers printed a letter seeking expressions of interest from people who might wish to come together to sing a scratch performance of Handel’s Messiah; - that is, a performance which is rehearsed and performed all in one day. Over 60 local would-be Messiah singers put their names forward, and the organisers; a Dutch woman and an English man, then worked for twelve months trying to make that performance happen. Help was received from various quarters, particularly from Graham Knight in Torrevieja; a conductor for the scratch performance was appointed; and in September 2006 the Dutch woman, Elly van der Vecht, formed a small classical choir, which she named Vivace, to rehearse choruses from Messiah. Her idea was that when the scratch performance took place, Vivace would then join with the other choristers and so there would at least be some singers recently familiar with the work, to help the performance along. As it happened, the scratch performance idea eventually had to be abandoned, but the new choir Vivace now existed and was still rehearsing Messiah choruses. Vivace had already found a musical director in Tom Pargeter, known in the area for previous work with the Gilbert and Sullivan Society and widely experienced in choral performances in the UK and Sue Trick had agreed to be the piano accompanist. With the scratch performance cancelled, a decision was taken to continue with the Messiah rehearsals with a view to performing an hour long selection of music from that oratorio. Also, Vivace’s numbers were increased to include ‘Friends of Vivace’ namely some of the singers who had a year earlier expressed an interest in singing the scratch Messiah, but who might not wish to become regular members of the choir beyond this particular project. At first, rehearsals took place in a private home in Ciudad Quesada, but as the choir got larger, a new rehearsal home was found at the Casa de Cultura in San Miguel de Salinas. Vivace are most grateful to the Mayor and Ayuntamiento of San Miguel, and in particular to D. Manuel Perez Manogil, Head of Music and Culture, for the provision of this venue and other facilities so essential to the choir's existence. It was therefore entirely appropriate that Vivace gave its first public performance in a full Parochial Church in San Miguel de Salinas on 26th January. Vivace sang eight choruses from Messiah, and additional solo numbers were sung with admirably warm tone by members of the choir, Katy Pargeter, Teresa Crocker and Douglas Brown. Sue Trick accompanied and as a solo item, played with great sensitivity the Pastoral Symphony from Part One of the oratorio. Each number was preceded by an introduction in both English and Spanish, relating Handel’s music to the relevant Biblical texts. These were read by Tom and Katy Pargeter. The entire audience rose to their feet at the end of the performance, in appreciation of the qualities and impact of the performance. The same programme was repeated in Los Balcones Church the following night, and again in a full La Siesta Church on 29th January. For these performances tickets/programmes had been sold, to raise funds for improvements to both churches, and also to cover the choir’s costs. The La Siesta performance also received a standing ovation, and the popular Hallelujah Chorus was encored. Over the three nights, the choir had sung to about 400 people, in three churches of widely differing acoustics, and using three different keyboards. An ambitious start to this new choir’s existence it undoubtedly was, but judging by the warm receptions the choir received at each venue, it was a most successful start. The choir will now be commencing weekly rehearsals at San Miguel for its next venture - Easter 2007 performances of Maunder’s ‘Olivet to Calvary.’ More information about the choir can be obtained from Elly van der Vecht (Tel 966 716 016) and Andrew Duckworth (Tel 619 621 261).