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A Women's Voice Chamber Choir in Stamford, Lincs, UK

Previous Concerts

2005

21st December 2005 - First Christmas Concert

Eleanor Turner, harpist
Eleanor Turner, Harp with St Martin's Singers, directed by Fergus Black.

* John Rutter - The Angel's carol
* Humphrey Clucas - Pro Nobis for unaccompanied female choir
* Jean-Michel Damase - Sicilienne Variée for harp
* Benjamin Britten - Ceremony of Carols

Solo parts were taken by Anna Belson, Tina Morrell, Karen Philpott, Sarah Brown and Sophie Tate.

St Martin's Singers in rehearsal

One of England's best young harp players, 16 talented female singers, an experienced musical director and a programme of 20th century music - this was a heady mix for a Christmas concert.


Was it the tunefulness of the Rutter carol, the intensity of the Pro Nobis by Clucas, the virtuosity of Eleanor Turner playing the Damase or the sheer variety in the Britten that made it so special? It's hard to say, but the clarity of the singing and the combination with the harp were stunning.


A member of the audience commented 'this is a new sound for Stamford'. How right. This concert was a gem.

John Pye 22 Dec 2005

2006

22nd July 2006 - French Summer Concert

St Martin's Singers in rehearsal 2
22 July 2006 - St Martin's Singers directed by Fergus Black

with Christopher Brown Organ, Nicola Wiggin and Rory Fitzpatrick, flutes.

A French theme, including works by de la Halle , Couperin, Delibes and Poulenc took us on an 800-year tour of French music.

The group of 16 talented female singers really use the acoustic at St Martin's to wonderful effect. The Couperin Mass, with organ played by Fergus gave a wonderful sense of 17th Century French Church music, while the Poulenc brought us firmly into the 20th Century.

20th December 2006 - Second Annual Christmas Concert

St Martin's Singers in rehearsal
Wednesday 20 December 2006 - Christmas Concert

St Martin's Singers directed by Fergus Black

With Eleanor Turner Harp, Amy Turner Oboe

Programme:–
* John Taverner - A Nativity
* Peter Maxwell Davies - 5 Carols
* Benjamin Britten - Six Metamorphoses after Ovid
* Ralph Vaughan Williams - Three English Traditional Carols
* John Rutter - Dancing day, with Eleanor Turner harp

Amy Turner gave a delightful and sensitive solo performance of a series of transformations on the oboe.

2007

20th December 2007 - Third Annual Christmas Concert "Virgin and Child"

Virgin and Child Stained Glass
Thursday 20 Dec 2007 - Virgin and Child
St Martin's Singers Christmas Concert

Conducted by Fergus Black

Guest Artists:
Eleanor Turner, Harp
Kate Osborne and Nicola Wiggin, flutes

A celebration of the Virgin and Child, through the music of Hildegard of Bingen, Gavin Bryars, Helmut Walcha, Giuseppe Verdi, Zoltan Kodaly, Hector Berlioz, Howard Goodall, Malcom Sargent, Suzanne Palmer-Holton.

The highlight of the concert was Howard Goodall's beautiful new song-cycle, Winter Lullabies, for which the singers were joined by harpist, Eleanor Turner.

St Martin's Singers

2008

Saturday 19th July 2008 – Music from Burghley

A truly notable concert by St Martin's Singers and Ensemble (on original instruments) with soloists Briget Howarth, Soprano, Sally van der Sterren, alto Paul Parsons, organ and conducted by Fergus Black.

The concert featured the first modern performance of Dies Irae by Salvador Pazzaglia , a remarkable find in the Burghley House Music Library that was transcribed especially for this concert.

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Comment from members of the audience

It was delightful; a rare treat, one of those concerts that make you glad still to be around.

We look forward to hearing about any future St Martin's concerts.

Stuart and Monika Rising

18th December 2008 – An English Christmas

Karl Jenkins
St Martin's Singers conducted by Fergus Black

The centrepiece of the St Martin's Singers' programme was the cycle of six carols by Karl Jenkins (of Adiemus fame) with traditional carol words (Silent Night, In Dulci Jubilo etc) but with new music by Jenkins for women's choir, recorder and piano.

Other works by Britten (the fabulous Corpus Christi Carol), Vaughan Williams and Holst, together with solos from various members of the group made this a very special event.

Nativity painting

2009

Saturday 25th April 2009 - A Flavour of Russia

Picture of St Basil's Cathedral, Moscow
ST MARTIN'S SINGERS
Conducted by Fergus Black
with Chris Brown, organ

Choral music by Russian composers in the first half (Chesnov and Bortniansky - his setting of the Divine Liturgy), then Mendelssohn's the three motets for upper voices, Op.39, which are wonderful. To finish, Schubert's 23rd Psalm.

16th December 2009 - Fifth Annual Christmas Concert "Joyeux Noël"

Virgin and Child, painting
ST MARTIN'S SINGERS conducted by Fergus Black

Our own acclaimed choir of female voices in its fifth annual Christmas Concert.

The choice of music spans a thousand years, from the early works of the Notre-Dame school, through some charming carol arrangements, and culminating in the (rather lush) Grand'Messe de Noël by François-Auguste Gevaert, who, like many famous Frenchmen was actually Belgian. No matter!

2010

15th December 2010 - Sixth Annual Christmas Concert "Stille Nacht "

Wednesday 15th December at 7.30 pm
St Martin's Singers

STILLE NACHT!
St Martin’s Singers’ Annual Christmas Concert - at St Martin’s Church
Following the success of their Joyeux Noël concert last year, the St Martin’s Singers presents a concert of German Christmas music: Bach, of course, and
other German baroque composers, some carols - both familiar and unfamiliar - and a few surprises!
Ticket prices: £10 Tickets from Stamford Arts Centre 01780 763203 or at the door

2011

18th December 2011 - Seventh Annual Christmas Concert

Poster for 2011 concert
St. Martin’s Singers
with Eleanor Turner (harp)
and William Fowler (treble)
Christmas 2011
at Stamford Arts Centre
Sunday 18th December at 7.30pm
Tickets: £11 (£8 concessions)

Stamford’s women’s voice choir lights the Christmas candle with music for upper voices and harp, including Anthony Bolton’s “Garland of Carols”, his hommage to Britten. Conducted by Fergus Black


PROGRAMME

Thomas Hewitt-Jones Child of the Stable
solos: William Fowler and Joanna Goldspink

Bob Chilcott The Time of Snow
arr. Joseph Canteloube Voice que les Patres
solo: William Fowler

Marcel Tournier Au matin
Eleanor Turner harp

William Byrd Lullaby
arr. Lionel Salter The Coventry Carol

Peter Warlock Three Carols
Tyrley, Tyrlow
Balulalow
solo: William Fowler
The Sycamore Tree
INTERVAL

Anthony Bolton A Garland of Carols
1 - The Gloucester Wassail
solos: Hannah Sheard & Hilary Gallup
2 - The Holly and the Ivy
solos: Bridget Howarth & Laura Ward
3 - Lanterns
solo: Joanna Goldspink
4 - A Kiss for the Baby
solo: Helen Didsbury
5 - Sweet was the Song
6 - Interlude for Harp
7 - There is no Rose
solo: Bridget Howarth
8 - Cold December’s Wind
9 - Tomorrow Shall be my Dancing Day
solos: Helen Didsbury, Joanna Goldspink & Helen Black
10 - I Saw Three Ships
solos: Judy Blakeborough, Alison Lewis, Penny Cooper & Rachel Tucker
11 - Epilogue – The Shepherd’s Carol
solos: Bridget Howarth & Hilary Gallup

2012

19th December 2012 - Eighth Annual Christmas Concert

Wednesday 19 December

7.30 pm

The Court Room,
Stamford Town Hall,
St Mary’s Street,
STAMFORD

Tickets £12 (concessions £9)
from Stamford Arts Centre, 01780 763203

poster for 2012 St Martin

Programme

Gloria - Anon (Worcester Fragments)
Pro Nobis - Humphrey Clucas
Concerto for Harp in B Flat (Alexander's Feast) - Handel
Old Fox Wassail arr Hatfield
Apple Tree Wassail arr Hatfield
SHORT INTERVAL
Ceremony of Carols - Benjamin Britten
Crépuscule for Harp - William Alwyn
Three carols arranged by Malcolm Sargent:
To a Baby
Star in the South
Zither Carol

Encore: The Cowboy Carol - Sargent
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St Martin’s Singers
Eleanor Turner, harp
Fergus Black, conductor

Poster | Programme

2013

18th December 2013 - Buon Natale (e felice Anno Nuovo)

Wednesday 18 December

7.30 pm

The Court Room,
Stamford Town Hall,
St Mary’s Street,
STAMFORD

Tickets £12 (concessions £9)
from Stamford Arts Centre, 01780 763203

Poster for 2012 Christmas Concert
In Verdi’s bi-centenary year, Fergus Black and the St. Martin’s Singers celebrated sunny Italy: the home of song, and of opera! In the omnium-gatherum programme, sacred choruses by Verdi and Donizetti rubbed shoulders with popular Italian carols, operatic arias and a Palestrina Magnificat. It was great fun!

with Barbara Tomlinson piano

We attended your Christmas Concert last Wednesday and were truly amazed at the quality of your singers. It was a magical evening and we thank you all for the hard work and time that was spent to give such a joyful concert. A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Members of the audience
Poster | Programme

Programme


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PROGRAMME : ACT ONE
Palestrina - Magnificat

Stradella - Pieta Signore
Bellini - Angiol di pace

“Caccini” - Ave Maria
Monteverdi - Quam Pulchra
Monteverdi - Hodie Christus Natus Est

Mascagni - Ave Maria
Verdi - Ave Maria

Verdi - Laudi alla Vergine Maria

PROGRAMME : ACT TWO
Bossi - Hymn of Glory
Donizetti - Prayer of Mary Stuart

Menotti - All this gold (Amahl and the Night Visitors)
Leoncavallo - Musette Svaria Sulla Bocca Viva (La Boheme)
Puccini - Quando m'en vo' (La Boheme)

Extra "audience participation" item: Bobby Worth after Puccini - Don't you know

Yon - Gesu bambino

Wood - Three Italian Carols

Schubert / Mercurio - Mille Cherubini in Coro

ENCORE:
arr. MacHuff - Time to Say Goodbye

Photo of Stamford Town Hall
Stamford Town Hall
(photo by John Smith)
Photo of Stamford Town Hall
Fergus Black
Benjamin Britten, composer
Verdi

2014

Fauré Requiem

Friday 5 September
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Friday 5th September at 11am (Please note time)
St John's Church, Stamford

In his seven-section Requiem, the French composer Gabriel Fauré distilled some of the most beautiful melodies he ever composed. It is often described as 'heavenly', and sounds even more like the music of the angels in Desmond Ratcliffe's arrangement for women's voices.

Also in the programme, the Cesar Franck Alleluia (Cantique de Paques)

Caroline Sharpe, soprano, Irena Radic, mezzo, and Katie Jeffries-Harris, alto, lead the St Martin’s Singers and organist Stephen Barber. Fergus Black conducts.

Running time approximately fifty minutes

Free admission - retiring collection
Wednesday 17 December
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Wednesday 17th December
19:30 at the Town Hall, Stamford

St Martin’s Singers, Stamford’s women’s voices choir, presents a programme of 24 short pieces on Christmas themes - 24 jewels like an Advent Calendar. If you have ever been to one of their concerts, you will know to expect the unexpected: a renaissance motet rubs shoulders with an opera aria, a christmas carol takes on Mel Tormé.

Tickets £12 (£9 concessions), from Stamford Arts Centre, 01780 763203
The programme included Bach, Saint-Saens, plainsong, Warlock, Blake, Cornelius, Holst, Mel Tormé, Handl Gallus, Jocelyn Pook, Reger, Malcolm Sargent, Bairstow, John Jacob Niles, and Englebert Humperdinck (not that one!). We cover the main characters in the Christmas Story, some animals, birds, plants, stars, babies and angels.

2015

Songs for Survival

Friday 4 September
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Friday 4th September 11am at St John’s Church, Stamford (NOTE TIME)

St Martin’s Singers, Stamford’s women’s voices choir, presents a programme of wordless music inspired by the Songs for Survival (see below). Also in the programme, other vocal pieces with no text: Kodaly’s Mountain Nights, Puccini’s Humming Chorus, and solo songs, such as Rachmaninov’s Vocalise. Also, if it doesn’t seem irreverent, Stephen Hatfield's Three Ways to Vacuum Your House! (which are filled with the nonsense syllables imitating the humming and muttering one does during housework), mostly in a Latin American vein.

Admission Free - Retiring Collection
On a Sunday in July 1942, during worship in a Japanese prison camp for women and children in Palembang, Sumatra, a trio of British women sang a new hymn. It was “The Captives’ Hymn,” for which one of the three, Margaret Dryburgh, a Presbyterian missionary who had lately worked among the Chinese in Singapore, had written the words and the music. This hymn heartened the several hundred of us isolated for three and a half years from the rest of the world in a succession of miserable places.

After a year and a half of captivity, Margaret Dryburgh, with an outstanding musical memory, made the camp another great gift. She helped Norah Chambers, a graduate of London’s Royal Academy of Music, with music for a “vocal orchestra” that would sing orchestral and piano works. On December 27, 1943, the vocal orchestra presented its first concert. The singers sat on little stools, too weak from malnutrition and disease to stand a long time. They were barefoot. Bandages covered tropical sores. Norah Chambers raised her hands. Very softly, as through a haze, the first chords of the Largo of the “New World Symphony” reached us listeners packed together in the compound. Some of us wept. We had not expected such beauty among the cockroaches, the rats, the bedbugs, the lice, and the smell of the latrines. The concert renewed our sense of human dignity. It gave us courage to go on.

During the year that followed, the vocal orchestra gave more concerts. Its final repertoire totalled thirty. But when half the singers had died, the vocal orchestra sang no more. Among the dead was Margaret Dryburgh. – Helen Colijn (from Song of Survival: Women Interned). There is also a film: Paradise Road

http://singingtosurvive.com

2016

Saturday 9 July
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Saturday 9th July at 7:30pm at St. Andrew’s Church, Ufford
“A mediaeval gem with a fascinating monument”

PROGRAMME

Fauré Messe Basse
Boëly,Scherzo from Douze Pièces Op. 18 (organ)
Theodore Morrison Three French Songs by Rilke
Dupré Te Splendor et Virtus from Le Tombeau de Titelouze (organ)
Poulenc Litanies de la Vierge Noire

INTERVAL

“Best bits” of Handel’s Messiah
  • Overture
  • Comfort ye my people
  • And the glory of the Lord
  • Behold, a virgin shall conceive
  • O thou that tellest
  • Pifa
  • There were shepherds
  • Glory to God
  • Then shall the eyes of the blind
  • He shall feed his flock
  • Behold the Lamb of God
  • He was despised
  • Surely he hath borne our griefs
  • He was cut off
  • But thou didst not leave his soul in hell
  • Lift up your heads, O ye gates
  • I know that my Redeemer liveth
  • Since by man came death
  • Hallelujah Chorus

with Jeremy Lloyd organ
Fergus Black conductor
Tickets £8 including a glass of wine from Sally Hudson on 01780 740475
(Concessions £6; accompanied school children free)

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Violins

Saturday 10 September
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Saturday 10th September at 7:30pm
Saturday 10th September
St. John’s Church
off Red Lion Square, Stamford
7:30pm

Roger Stimson & Emily Holt violins
Philip Robinson piano
Fergus Black conductor

PROGRAMME

Music for women’s voices and violin(s)
Two Part Songs by Elgar
Three Sacred Songs on Czech Popular Rhymes by Martinu
Five Hebrew Love Songs by Eric Whitacre
Amy Beach’s Three Shakespeare Choruses
and other works.

Admission free with retiring collection in aid of The Churches Conservation Trust

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poster | programme

2017 - 2020

to follow

2021

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Saturday 12 December

Saturday 12th December 2021 at 3:30pm
for about an hour
at St. Andrew’s Church, Ufford
postcode for satnav PE9 3BH

A choir of women’s voices gives a concert of evocative Christmas music, from Gregorian Chant to John Tavener, including Michel Corrette’s Messe Pour Le Temps De Noël (1788), and a selection of traditional Christmas melodies.
Bruce Burbidge organ Fergus Black conductor

Free admission, retiring collection.

  • Sorry we couldn’t really talk after yesterday’s concert, wretched COVID, but have to tell you how much we enjoyed it. So good to hear live music and the sound was just gorgeous. A lovely programme. The working adults completely unwound and the grandchildren relaxed and drifted.... I especially enjoyed the Tavener, which I had not heard before, and the Rose Tree Carol.
    audience member

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An Advent Responsory - Barry Rose
Duo in the seventh mode - Jacques Boyvin
Owt Of Your Slepe - Huw Morgan
Conditor Alme - Jean Titelouze
Quelle est cette odeur - A E Baker
A Nativity - John Tavener
Sweet was the song - Stanley Vann
Messe pour Noel - Michel Corrette
Lob sei dem allmaechtigen Gott from the Orgelbuechlein - J S Bach
Four Old English Carols - Gustav von Holst
Chorale Prelude on Dundee - Hubert Parry
A Christmas Carol - Charles Ives
The Rose-tree Carol - Barry Ferguson
Myn Lyking - RR Terry
Es ist das Heil uns kommen her Op 65 No 4 - Sigfrid Karg-Elert
Die Konige - Peter Cornelius
Jésus de Nazareth - Charles Gounod
We wish you - arr Hughes

Ufford concert dec 2021 leaflet