The annual concert and reception for St. Cecilia has been a longstanding musical celebration at Royal Holloway. This year was no different.
The annual St Cecilia concert is one of the choir’s favourite concerts of the year where we celebrate our patron saint of music, St Cecilia, and this year we performed alongside members of the Bristol Ensemble. We opened with Purcell’s Welcome All Pleasures which combined instrumental movements with full choir movements and featured some soloists from the choir. Whilst performing the next piece, Philips’ Cecilia Virgo, we split into an upper voices group and a lower voices group. The lower voices group sang from further down the chapel whilst the upper voices remained near the altar which was very effective for this piece. We were able to sit and listen to Chaconny in G Minor by Purcell played by the orchestra so beautifully. Following on with the theme, we performed a newly commissioned work, as part of our partnership with the Choir and Organ Magazine, by American composer Daniel Knaggs. We were very lucky to have had a piece commissioned for this concert and we very much enjoyed learning and performing this alongside our organ scholar Liam Condon. It was a really fresh approach to the text, and seemed to suit us as a choir very well indeed!The concert ended with 3rd year soprano, Kirsty O’Neill giving a wonderful rendition of Handel’s Eternal Source of light divine accompanied by the orchestra, followed by the Ode to St Cecilia by Handel, a jolly end to the concert celebrating music's patron saint, who looks down on us from near the altar in the College Chapel.
Following the Concert is the Feast, for which senior members of the choir sing for their supper and entertain the guests. The programme for this was very different from the music which we performed at the concert and included folk-themed pieces from across the British Isles, including Swansea Town arr. Holst, Rutter’s It Was a Lover and His Lass and a very fun arrangement of Bobby Shaftoe which even featured some beatboxing!