Christine became musical director of St Matthew Passion, Beethoven Missa Solemnis, Bernstein Chichester Psalms, Brahms Requiem and Britten Saint Nicolas – to stray no further through the alphabet – form the core of the choir’s repertoire, which also includes a wide variety of smaller scale pieces as well as extracts, occasionally semi-staged, from music theatre. Valentine SIngers' tours include Lucca, Pisa and Florence (2006), Ely cathedral and surrounding area (2007), Kraków (2008), Canterbury (2009), Amiens (2010) and Winchester cathedral (2011), Ghent (2012), Oxford and Dorchestrer Abbey (2013) and Honfleur 2014. They have also sung in London at the Coliseum, at All Saints, Margaret Street and at the Royal Festival Hall.in January 1998, since when the choir has grown to a membership of 70 plus, has toured in the UK and abroad, broadcast on TV and recorded two CDs. Main choral works, including Bach
Magnifcat, St John
Passion and Mass in B minor, Haydn Nelson Mass, Mozart Mass in C minor (all
orchestra), as well as some lighter and less traditional items such as Rutter The WInd in the Willows and Horovitz Horrortorio. Some programmes are built round a theme, often featuring the spoken word; recent highlights include North of the Border,
an evening with music by MacMillan, Carver and Cunningham, with
readings from the local Scottish society, and Hispanic Treasures, music
from 16th/17th c Spain and LAtin America with the outstanding
instrumentalists of the Amphion Consort.
Writtle Singers have broadcast twice for the BBC and released their third CD in 2009. They have undertaken three continental concert tours, to Antwerp, to Prague and to Zurich (2011); in 2007 they made a highly successful tour of Yorkshire singing at both Bolton Abbey and York Minster and in 2009, sung to a packed house in Cambridge. They have also performed at London's Southbank and in Chelmsford Cathedral. In 2011 they gave a concert by invitation for the inaugural Stondon Massey William Byrd festival.
Writtle Singers at Stondon Massey Church
Tuneful Accord is the name of the vocal ensemble formed by Christine for theevents. In fact, the first event, in 1993, was actually entitled Tuneful Accord (see the hymn O praise ye the Lord, verse 2 if you’re wondering why) and the group subsequently pinched the name. It is a flexible ensemble, both in terms of numbers - usually somewhere between 12 and 18 - and in what we are required to perform - anything from plainsong to the Muppetts; we have even been known to Maypole dance (after a fashion) and to form a very idiosyncratic gallery band. Inevitably the group has been asked about singing at other events; unsurprisingly, we have never been asked to provide the band. To date, we have sung for a couple of weddings and we gave our first recital in September 2006 - in addition to 28 TCS performances in over 20 different venues.
Christine founded the Jericho Ensemble in 2005 for a Mozart evening given in Blackmore by Writtle Singers that June. Most of the professional players travelled out from London for this concert in the beautiful St Laurence Church, originally the church of Jericho Priory. The same journey was made several centuries earlier, by Henry VIII who had a rather different reason to visit Blackmore. “The King’s gone to Jericho” was the courtiers’ code for these visits to his mistress Bessie Blount.
Since 2005 Jericho Ensemble has accompanied a wide range of
choral works, from Bach to Blackford, with both Writtle Singers and
Valentine Singers, and has enjoyed excursions into the symphonic and
concerto repertoire. A special feature of Jericho Ensemble is the
inclusion of gifted younger players alongside seasoned professionals,
who also play for groups such as Sinfonia Viva, Academy of Ancient
Music and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. The ensemble has been highly
complimented by reviewers, singers and audiences alike.
Recent performances include:
Britten Cantata Misericordium and Saint Nicolas, Purcell Choruses from Fairy Queen and Purcell/Britten Chacony with Greg Tassell (tenor), Tom Kennedy (baritone) and Valentine SIngers, June 2013
Handel Messiah with Fru Chilvers (soprano), Oliver El Holiby (alto), Charles MacDougall (tenor), Paul Sheehan (bass) and Valentine
Singers, March 2013
Blackford Mirror of Perfection, FInzi DIes Natalis and Vaughan WIlliams Five Mystical Songs with Elizabeth Menezes (soprano), John Llewelyn Evans (baritone) and Valentine SIngers, July 2012
JS Bach St John Passion with Writtle Singers, March 2012
Mozart Piano Concerto in D minor K466 with soloist Tim Smith and Vesperae Solennes de Confessore K339 with Valentine Singers, July 2010