In 1989, soprano, Janet Coxwell, conducted a performance of the Mozart Requiem during the Newbury & District Arts Festival. She also sang the solo part, assuming the evening was to be a ‘one-off’ event but thankfully, several of the choristers from the ad-hoc choir begged her to consider making the group a permanent ensemble and so was born The Cecilia Consort. Some of those singers have been with the choir since its inception and many others have clocked up over ten years’ membership so the choir really does feel like an extended family, enjoying social occasions and extra special events such as carol singing in Newbury town centre.
On Saturday 3 November 2018 at 7:30pm, Janet will conduct a programme inspired by the theme ‘O Nata Lux’ (O Light born of light) at Douai Abbey and she is delighted to announce the inclusion of three different pieces by living composers. The lush O Nata Lux by American composer, Guy Forbes will stand alongside a piece of the same title written by British composer, Gabriel Jackson. As ever, the final a cappella offering will see the Abbey returned to its natural state of prayer and meditation and for this purpose, the choir has chosen Illumina by Patrick Hawes.
The titular piece, In The Beginning by Aaron Copland, will feature Janet as its soloist and the Douai audience is also to be treated to a performance of Handel’s breathtaking Eternal Source of Light Divine. The piece was one of the musical highlights at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and Patrick Craig’s unique voice will be complemented by Andrew Smets’s solo trumpet.
If you are a fan of Morten Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium, you’ll love his Lux Aeterna which features in the second half of the concert. He quotes from the former in this deliciously atmospheric piece and his unmistakable use of tightly knit harmonies and intervals is a fitting grand finale to this special programme.
The Cecilia Consort is a 40-strong, mixed voice choir, directed by Janet Coxwell, which performs two or three concerts a year in and around the Newbury area. Tickets cost £15 (£5 for under 18s) and are available online from www.ceciliaconsort.org.uk, or by calling 07775 743445.