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Richard Knapp/Dorking Camera Club

Please come and join Dorking Choral Society in the URC (West Street) along with the children's choir of St Joseph's, in the URC, for Carols followed by mince pies in the Main Hall.

4:30pm, 9th December

Tickets will only be available on the door, for £5 per adult and children get in for free.

On a sunlit summer evening on 1 July, 2023 an attentive audience were treated to an innovative
concert by the Dorking Choral Society at St Paul’s Church, Dorking. The first half of the concert was
devoted to a celebration of part-songs by four 20 th century composers, and the second half to the
mid-world wars work Dona nobis pacem by the choir’s own eminent founder, Ralph Vaughan
Williams. The choir were conducted by their musical director, Daniel Mahoney, and accompanied at
the piano by the distinguished pianist and choral director, Mark Shepherd, and by the rising young
soloists, the soprano, Emily Beech, and baritone, William Harmer.

The concert began with a setting by Gerald Finzi of four poems by Robert Bridges, in which the choir
captured both the life and lyricism of My spirit sang all day with the contrasting smooth and
soothing comfort of Clear and gentle stream. Their sensitive performance would have pleased the
(thankfully saved!) BBC Singers who gave the first performance of these songs. The remaining three
songs, composed by Piers Maxim, Stephen Paulus and Jake Runsted respectively, each presented
particular emotional challenges to the choir especially as the first and third were composed in
memory of the deaths of individuals well known to the composers (in the case of Our revels now are
ended, a former member of the Dorking Choral Society), and required a controlled combination by
the choir of grief, hope and celebration. They were, however, able to relax a little in a warm and
nostalgic rendering of the near spiritual song, The road home, by Stephen Paulus.

The second half of the concert was devoted to the major work, Dona nobis pacem, by Vaughan
Williams. Although this is normally scored for a large orchestra, this was a more intimate
performance supported by Mark Shepherd’s sensitive and accomplished piano accompaniment.
Combining the war poetry of Walt Whitman, words from the Bible and Vaughan Williams’ own
experience of the horrors of the first world war, it required the choir to portray both the despair and
cruelty of war, the need for reconciliation and restrained hope for peace and better times in the
future. They rose superbly to the occasion, aided in no small measure by William Harmer’s moving
and mellifluous rendering of The angel of death has been abroad, and the sweet and gently
persistent prayer of Agnus dei by Emily Beech at both the beginning and end of the work. Although
the emotional power of this piece perhaps overtook the memory of the lyricism and colour of the
part songs in the first half of the programme the choir’s sensitive and controlled performance
reminded the audience of the war in Ukraine and the many other problems we face in our
contemporary world.

Brian Unwin

Dorking Choral Society will be performing next at our Autumn Concert on 12th November, at 6:30pm

Remembrance Sunday


IMOGEN HOLST Mass in A minor

in St Martin's Church, Dorking

The repertoir is in French, German and English and you are welcome to join us for a few 'taster' rehearsals.

Our Autumn term rehearsals start on 6th September 2023, when we begin learning the Requiem and we are looking to schedule a 'Come & Sing' with some of the concert repertoire on 7th October.

Dorking Choral Society welcomed two Tonmeister students to come and record a choral rehearsal on Wednesday 22nd March 2023. The students, who were from the University of Surrey, were given a tour of the society's rehearsal room and were then able to record the rehearsal of the society's upcoming repertoire for the Leith Hill Music Festival. The students were very impressed with the standard of the singing and were grateful for the opportunity to record the rehearsal. The society is looking forward to hearing the finished recording and is grateful to the students for their time and effort.

The students, Josh and Alex, who are at different stages of their study, were very excited to be given the opportunity to record a choral rehearsal. They will be studying Tonmeister, which is the art of recording and producing music, for three years and were keen to put their skills to the test.

The rehearsal was for the Society's upcoming performance at Dorking Halls on 15th April. The students were impressed with the standard of the singing and were able to capture the beauty of the music perfectly.

The society is very grateful to the students for their time and effort. The recording will be used to promote the society's upcoming performance and will also be used for educational purposes.

© 2023 - Dorking Choral Society