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:
New Youth Opera Performed in Broadstairs
03 July 2017
Beckenham Junior Choir and Beckenham Youth Voices, joined by the Junior Choir of St John’s Church East Dulwich, travelled to Broadstairs for their biennial concert to the seaside town. On Saturday 1st July, some 50 children aged 6 to 16 performed at Holy Trinity Church to an enthusiastic audience of family and friends, local residents and weekenders. They sang a medley of songs in the first half, including one composed by Carey Blyton (nephew to Enid), and then put on a children’s opera written especially for them by leading young British (Kent-born) composer James Olsen. Titled One of our Brothers is a Lion!, the opera was performed fully staged, complete with colourful masks, costumes and props, and made this year’s concert a very special one.
One long-time local resident Patricia (aged 84) was very impressed. She said: “You cannot imagine how much I enjoyed the event. It was very beautiful to see all these young people singing and acting together in such a wonderful show. I hardly ever go out in the evening and I am so glad I came.”
Musical Director and founder of the choirs, John Webber, said: “The choirs love coming to Broadstairs. Our visit every other year to this wonderful seaside town has become quite a feature in our musical calendar. It is very special to have an opera written for you and the young people all worked very hard. The audience was incredibly enthusiastic and it was a real pleasure to perform in Holy Trinity.”
James Olsen’s new opera, commissioned by the choirs and generously funded by private patrons, including local businesses, tells the story of Saint Jerome and the lion, as recounted in the Golden Legend (c. AD 1260). Saint Jerome is said to have removed a thorn from a lion’s paw—a subject familiar to art lovers from numerous paintings of this subject. What these paintings do not show is that, after the thorn is removed, the lion joins the monastery, and is even given a job by Saint Jerome. Man and beast live in harmony until, one day, the monastery’s donkey goes missing, and the brothers blame the lion…
James, who grew up in Beckenham (Kent) was the first assistant director of the Beckenham Junior Choir as a teenager in the 1990s. His music has been widely performed by leading international artists in the UK and abroad.
James said: ‘My experiences with Beckenham Junior Choir fostered in me a love for making music with young people and amateurs which is still very much part of why I’m a composer today. There’s a special British tradition of composers writing for communities, following Benjamin Britten, of which I’m proud to be a part. It’s a great privilege to have composed for the Beckenham choirs and wonderful to bring the work to a new audience in Broadstairs.”
After the concert, the singers and their families all went onto the beach to enjoy the last rays of sunshine and a well-deserved supper of fish and chips. One of the joys of coming to Broadstairs!
A trailer for the opera can be viewed on YouTube here:
The choirs performed the opera on Saturday 1st July 2017 at 5pm in Holy Trinity Church, Nelson Place, Broadstairs, Kent CT10 1HQ.
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