Posts Tagged ‘The Occam Singers’

An African Christmas

December 10, 2011
An African Christmas

An African Christmas

An African Christmas, Christmas Carols with Occam Singers at St Nicolas Church, with an interlude of African Sanctus by Fanshawe, and readings by Virginia McKenna OBE.

The concert started with the lights dimmed and the Occam Singers at the back of the church singing, they then walked in a candlelit procession to the front. Excellent percusionist.

For me the highlight was the reading of three African Christmas stories by actress and wildlife campaigner Virginia McKenna, wonderful delivery of equally wonderful stories.

The Legend of the Showoff Who Prepares For the Visit of Jesus on Christmas Day
Parable of What Language Does God Speak?
The Parable of the Person Who Couldn’t Find God

Virginia McKenna and her husband Bill Travers had starring roles in Born Free, a film about lions in Kenya. I saw it as a child and can still remember seeing it. This association with lions led to the setting up of a charity 27 years ago to fight for animals in captivity, in zoos and circuses, this led to the protection of animals in the wild, then their habitat, and finally a holistic approach that also includes the people, with the focus on children and their education.

The Born Free Foundation operates mainly in Africa, but also now in India and Sri Lanka.

The concert was a fund raising event for the Born Free Foundation.

Talking to Virginia McKenna at a reception later, where she was manning a table for the Born Free Foundation, I said how much her African stories reminded me of the stories often told by Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho. My regret was that I did not have one of his books on me as I would have happily have given her a copy. I did though give her a Christmas card with a talk by Canon Andrew White that he gave a few weeks ago and noted the address of this blog for more information.

Canon Andrew White at Guildford Baptist Church

The Occam Singers is a 40 strong chamber choir based in the Surrey village of Ockham. It was from the same village the medieval philosopher William of Occam, he of the sharp razor.

Re:Creation

Synchronicity: Earlier in the day on my way to the concert I stumbled upon Tutu: The Authorised Portrait, one of those books that is an absolute must have.

St Nicolas Church really must get their act together re their notice board. No poster for this concert, but there was an outdated poster for something that took place on the 6 December (St Nicolas Day). Earlier in the afternoon I had been inside the church during rehearsals and seen posters for two carol concerts at St Nicolas. It goes without saying neither were on the notice board outside.

Guildford Boiler Room Carol Service evening Sunday 11 December 2011 at Stoke Pub, Guildford.

Keystone Spirit evening Tuesday 13 December 2011 at Keystone Pub (behind St Nicolas Church), Guildford.

Re:Creation

October 17, 2011
Re:Creation

Re:Creation

Re:Creation a biblical oratorio, telling the biblical story from beginning to end, music by David Perkins, adaptation of biblical verses by Derek Wensley.

It is not often one gets to meet the composer and lyricist of an oratorio, but on Saturday evening I got to meet both.

I was at a performance of Re:Creation with The Occam Singers and New London Sinfonia at Holy Trinity Church in Guildford.

The inspiration for Re:Creation the sacred choral music of Handel, Bach and Haydn. A work in five parts.

Let there be light. In part one repeated over and over again. First quietly then slowly growing until reaching a crescendo with a crash of cymbals. A glimmer of light, slowly brightening until one is blinded.

Either the second or third part, I lost track, more avant-garde. Hints of Bernstein and Gershwin, hints of Tubular Bells. There was again hints of Tubular Bells in the fourth and fifth parts.

God makes a comic opera appearance high up in the pulpit where he suddenly pops up, performs his piece, then pops back out of sight again. This appearance would be even more dramatic if spoken not sung as it would then stand out in contrast.

Both David Perkins and Derek Wensley took part in the performance, David Perkins on keyboard and Derek Wensley singing in the choir.

David Perkins is a writer of musicals, films scores. He has played keyboard at the National Theatre as a tribute to Scot Joplin.

Derek Wensley a United Reform minister now retired. Re:Creation is biblical story of ‘the God who was and is and always will be’.

The Occam Singers is a 40 strong chamber choir based in the Surrey village of Ockham. It was from the same village the medieval philosopher William of Occam, he of the sharp razor.

New London Sinfonia was formed in 1987.

Re:Creation is available as a limited edition double CD. I now have three copies and programme signed by David Perkins, Derek Wensley and one of the lead female singers.

Art @ Costa evening first Tuesday of the month (same day as farmers market) at Costa Coffee in Swan Lane, Guildford.

An African Christmas 6-30pm Saturday 10 December 2010 The Occam Singers at St Nicolas Church Guildford.