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Yorkshire Phil success out of their comfort zone

Wakefield Cathedral

Saturday March 8 2008

Classical Jazz

“If that was a performance when you are ‘out of your comfort zone’, then you should leave it more often!!”. This comment has been repeated so many times since the concert on March 8th which included a brilliant performance of Will Todd’s Mass in Blue. Even Will Todd himself said “What a fantastic evening, it was the best performance ever by a choir of this size”, and in discussion afterwards mentioned that he would like to write something specifically for the Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir. The whole aspect of March 8th was different from any other concert the choir has ever promoted and that in ‘daring’ to do it, it was a resounding success!

The number of singers on stage was the largest ever, there were extremely talented groups of musicians, both amateur [the talented teenagers from Wakefield Grammar Schools Swing Foundation Big Band], and professional [John Helliwell’s quartet - Crème Anglaise]. The audience was not only one of the largest seen in the Cathedral [with the exception of Christmas], but the whole concept of the concert attracted a new audience.

As one member of the audience inferred – “what comfort zone – it was merely a ‘different’ zone, and the way choir members took it upon themselves to learn a piece of music as difficult as Mass in Blue in just over two months is great credit to all the singers, conductor and accompanist”.

Here’s a quote from the Wakefield Express;

‘This jazz-based interpretation of a traditional Latin mass is far removed from the classical [in both senses of the word] choral repertoire and the Yorkshire Phil’s decision to take it on spoke volumes not only about the choir’s skill but also its confidence in that ability’.

It is this kind of performance which keeps the Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir at the forefront of the choral world. By aiming to leave people wondering ‘what might be round the corner’, it ensures that they are a ‘must see’ choir!!

By Geoffrey Mogridge

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