Last year, the Celebration of Spring took place in sleet and cold. This year, the weather gods repented and provided a beautiful warm day full of sunshine and joy for the joint spring concert of BJC and BYV at the newly renovated St Michael's and All Saints in Penge. As usual, the choirs had a varied program of songs over time and place. BJC sang "In Summer - Olaf's song" from the film Frozen, from 2013. They also performed a song by Swedish national poet Bellman (1740-1795), "Come, Dearest Brothers", translated and accompanied by choir parent Martin Trojer. Two members of BYV performed an American Shaker song from the 19th century, "Simple Gifts" by Aaron Copland, as a solo song with flute accompaniment, and BYV sang several songs from the Beckenham local Carey Blyton's Sweeney Todd, written in 1977.
What a glorious way to conclude the spring term and prepare for the Easter holidays! Both Choirs return to sing after Easter on April 24th.
Ali has uploaded several videos on our BJC facebook account, pop over and have a look. There are also some of her photos at the bottom of this post. If you have photos or videos you'd like to share, please contact Kicki.
It was great to have a large audience and thanks to everyone for their support. Thank you too to the many individuals who did their bit to make behind the scenes, to let the event flow along so easily.
St. Michael’s Church in Beckenham is a lovely building, light and spacious and a pleasure for performing music and we were made very welcome by the clergy.
On 12 January, Beckenham Youth Voices and singing parents travelled to Rochester for an afternoon of music at Rochester Cathedral. BYV participated in the evensong as part of a choir led by John Webber.
John's message to BYV: Several members of Youth Voices had a great afternoon at Rochester Cathedral and gave their all. Complicated music which everyone handled to the best of their ability. We were all very proud of Sabrina, who sang difficult solo music with great determination and set a high standard.
Photos below courtesy of Ali Holder.
The second instalment of the lion opera was performed at the Penge Congregational Church, on 17 November. It was a lovely family performance, followed by drinks and cake. All the children performed beautifully, and it was a lovely evening. We are very fortunate that the composer, James Olsen, travelled down from Cambridgeshire to play the piano for the performance, with John Webber directing the choirs.
A big thank you to all the children, and all the volunteering parents who helped out with costumes, lighting, directing, baking and marketing. Without your help, these performances would not be possible.
Scroll down for the videos that James Olsen has published about the rehearsals for the Lion Opera, part 2.
Also, if anyone took pictures on the evening, we'd love to see them! Please email Kicki.
A few words from John:
James’s music grew on us and we loved his very personal sense of fun. I learned some Very Long Words from James’s script and I am sure that other people did, too! Thanks to him for his time and boundless energy.
On a clear and beautiful Wednesday evening in Penge, rehearsals are well under way for the sequel to last year’s hit production, One of Our Brothers is a Lion! by James Olsen. The sequel is called One of our Lions Is Missing!
This time, instead of bandits, the best friends Donkey and Lion encounter wild lions. There’s a kidnapping, and, of course, the best thing in the world (according to Lion): ham sandwiches. No opera is complete without ham sandwiches.
Don’t miss the one and only performance of this splendid production for all the family, this Saturday at 7 pm at the Penge Congregational Church.
As the end of term draws near, I’d like to say a heartfelt thanks for all the efforts you’ve put in to make our choirs such a success this year.
If you’re a singer, you’ve worked hard to learn your words or music, have performed at concerts, and made new choir members feel welcome.
If you’re a parent, carer or grandparent, you’ve supported us by ensuring your child is at rehearsals and concerts, knows their words, has their uniform. And many of you have offered your time on the Committee and /or organised rehearsals, put up posters, baked cakes ... even sung with our choirs!
So, a big ‘thank you’ from me!
This year Beckenham Junior Choir and Youth Voices have performed beautifully in Beckenham, Penge, Denmark Hill, East Dulwich, as well as at the Balgowan School fair, making us all very proud. We have welcomed many new members to both choirs, all of whom have worked hard to learn their words ready for the June concert. You all did really well.
Who would have thought that we would manage to arrange both our spring concerts on snowy days this year!
Rehearsals are well underway for this evening’s concerts at Holy Trinity on Lennard Road.
The light falling through the windows is spectacular and the choirs sound lovely. Come and listen this evening at 7 pm!
Beckenham Youth Voices kicked off the BJC & BYV 25th anniversary in style with an autumn concert at Beckenham Baptist Church in October. It was a fun and varied repertoire, with some great solos. It was lovely to see so many young talents accompany the choir on various instruments. The parents even queued up to sing along on two anthems - we're looking forward to hear more even from you at the carol singing at Sainsbury's on December 16th!
Here are some lovely photos from our resident photographer Nick Charles:
BJC and BYV did a guest appearance at the Christmas Fair at Balgowan Primary School today. It was a lovely afternoon and a wonderfully busy fair.
Looking forward to singing Christmas Carols at Sainsbury’s next!
A few words from Niamh:
Dear BJC and YV,
Thank you all so much for coming to Balgowan today. You sang beautifully and were a wonderful advert for our choirs.
Special thanks also to James and Jenny for their conducting and playing, to Nehara for her lovely accompanying, and Sabrina for her wonderful solo.
Keep up the good work, and see you all on Wednesday!
Happy Summer everyone!
Before the holidays start for real, we've got some exciting footage from the performance of One of Our Brothers is a Lion! in Broadstairs. As always, if you have any photos you'd like to share, please get in touch!
First out, James Olsen has published his latest vlog entry, a fabulous synopsis of the Lion! opera, showing footage from both the concerts. Scroll down to the bottom to see it.
We've also got some great new photos by our photographer in residence, Nick Charles:
And a couple we posted last week, by Kicki Frisch:
We had a wonderful concert in Broadstairs on July 1st! A terrific event again and everyone was fully involved. It was good to see our newest and youngest singers giving their “all”! There was some great acting and singing in James Olsen’s opera, “One of our brothers is a lion”. Thanks also to the parents who helped so much behind the scenes.
Once more the weather was typical of Broadstairs. It was especially good to have time on the beach afterwards, instead of rushing off.
We also had the chance to thank Elizabeth Beroud for her sterling leadership as Chair of the two Choirs over the last eight years, overseeing several important occasions, including marking 21 years of the Junior Choir in 2014.
A few words from web admin:
Don't forget that the annual picnic replaces rehearsals this week.
It's been a privilege to edit the web site this year. A big thank you and well done to everyone for a wonderful year 2016/2017! We're so proud of everyone who has made this year a great memory. The choirs live off the parent volunteers and member's fees, and you've all been wonderfully generous with your time and money this year, thank you so much. (In case anyone should be as forgetful as myself and hasn't paid the term fees yet - I hope it's only me - please contact Niamh.)
Scroll down for a few photos from the concert in Broadstairs. Nick's professional photos will appear on the web site at the end of the week, so stay tuned! If you have photos you'd like to share, as always please contact Kicki.
Photos from the performance in Broadstairs of One of Our Brothers is a Lion!
Copyright Kicki Frisch
We've got some great photos from the premier of One of Our Brothers is a Lion! on May 20th. As usual, Nick Charles very kindly volunteered his time and skill as a professional photographer to document the reception and performance. There are also a few photos from the rehearsal in the afternoon and performance by Kicki Frisch. We hope you enjoy the photos.
If anyone else has photos you'd like to share with us, plese drop Kicki a line. We'd particularly like to see the Instagram pictures that the bandits took!
The following photos are from the reception and after party, copyright Nick Charles:
The following photos are from the performance, copyright Nick Charles:
The following photos are from the rehearsals, and some from the performance, copyright Kicki Frisch:
The concert and premiere of One of Our Brothers Is a Lion! on Saturday was a great success! The church was packed full, and we've had so many lovely comments from the spectators. Well done everyone who worked so hard to make this a great performance. Thank you also to everyone who donated beautiful cakes to the cake sale afterwards - and to everyone who helped eat them! We raised a considerable amoutn of money for the choir, a huge thank you for your generosity.
Scroll down for some photos from the afternoon rehearsals. We have some beautiful photos of the performance on their way to the web site - in the meantime, if anyone has any photos they would like to share, please contact Kicki.
A Few Words From John
Beckenham Junior Choir and Beckenham Youth Voices gave a terrific concert on Saturday to an audience of two hundred, some of whom had travelled a long way.
In part one, we opened with “Sweet Gingerbread man”, by Michel Legrand. Both Choirs love this and it is one of their “signature tune” items nowadays! Then we had “Songs of London Town,” by Mervyn Burtch, using soloists and the full Choir, with some children reciting short poems on the theme of London. This music is not easy and the young people’s talents was a joy to watch.
Then five members of the Junior Choir sang solos from “When we were Very Young” (Music by H Fraser-Simson), using words which many of those present will have remembered from their childhoods. Finally in part one, we had “Take me up the Tyne”, by Eric Boswell (he of “Little Donkey” fame); this song is part of a collection of his “Songs of the North East”, which I dig out from time to time.
In part two, the Choirs made an excellent job of a newly written opera by James Olsen. James assisted with running the Junior Choir in its (and his) early days in the 1990s and has since risen to dizzy heights as a composer. The joint Choirs combined acting, speaking, movement and singing for this thirty-minute work, which combined several different types of music (plainsong, Mozart, rock ’n’ roll, J S Bach). The script showed James’s great sense of humour and of the ridiculous, with even references to “Dad’s Army”, as well as to various types of social media which (as you can imagine) pass me by!
We have so many soloists in our Choirs that I have deliberately not named anyone.
A special “thank you” to our expert voice coach, Stuart Kale, who is very popular with our Choirs and helps the singers to reach a high standard and encourages the newest members. The number of adults involved behind the scenes was greater than ever and I am hugely grateful to those who shared the tasks so efficiently.
We look forward to repeating the opera on Saturday, July 1st. at Holy Trinity, Broadstairs (with a different part one).
In the meantime, we have “Bring-a-Friend-to-Choir” day on Wednesday and it will be good to build up our quantity of younger singers, as Youth Voices is developing wonderfully.
Congratulations to you all!
A Few Words From James
Lovely email from Geoff Haskins below, my grandpa and one of our patrons. I’m thrilled he came. He’s now 90, but full of energy still.
"What an experience, James! The opera was so well received and everyone concerned must be congratulated for what must have been an enormous task: composing, rehearsing, logistics, infrastructure, catering, and all the rest of the minutiae that contributed to such a splendid event."
At the other end of the generational spectrum, my cousin Faye brought her husband and two girls, aged 6 and 8, and a mutual friend of ours also came with her two children of the same age. They all enjoyed it a lot, I gather. Serena Aylward, my successor as pianist to the BJC back in the 90s, brought her son Sebastian, who’s 4, and it was his first grown-up concert. He loved it and stayed throughout.
Just a few of the many positive things which I’ve heard came out of Saturday, and I’m sure there are lots I don’t know about. That, for me, is why music is more than just sound—it’s about an event, about bringing a community together, about people doing thing they never thought they could do, about opening up possibilities for young and old alike, which is why I think what we are creating together is so valuable. Thank you again so much, because without you my work would just be words and notes on paper.
Excited now for Broadstairs!
Cake decoration in progress!
Photos courtesy of Maya Channing:
Very last dress rehearsals, literally hours before the performance starts.
Photos courtesy of Kicki Frisch:
Only one more day to go to the premiere of One of Our Brothers is a Lion! Yesterday was dress rehearsal day, and nerves are beginning to show - sure it'll all be fine for tomorrow's performance though!
The very busy James Olsen, not only composer, but also pianist, vlogger and photographer, has already published a short but sweet video clip and some photos on his web site,
We've also got some pics by Donkey's mum, Kicki Frisch.
Enjoy - and don't forget to rehearse your lines for tomorrow!
Photos, copyright James Olsen:
Photos, copyright Kicki Frisch: