The first few months of the school year have been busy for the Schola as usual and there have been a number of events and notable achievements.
Fourteen new boys joined the choir at the start of the year and they were immediately busy singing alongside their new colleagues in the Royal Opera's production of Massenet's Werther. This opera requires a large off-stage chorus for the very end which made for some very late nights. It also has four on-stage solo roles and four of our boys played these roles beautifully. In total there were 35 boys involved for the run of six performances in September. The opera was recorded and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in October.
The Schola's first liturgical event of the year was the Vaughan's annual Foundation Day Mass at Westminster Cathedral, where the choir sang music by Schubert, Gabrieli and Jonathan Dove. The choir has also sung at the School's weekly Lower School Mass of course, as always. The first few weeks of rehearsal were dominated by the preparations for the Schola's first concert of the year, a programme of Bach and Vivaldi given at St John's, Smith Square early in October, accompanied by period instrument orchestra St James' Baroque (see picture). The boys sang all the solos in both the Vivaldi Gloria and the very demanding Bach Magnificat in what was a very successful concert.
Other notable events include a film session for three boys with Danny Elfman, a film composer with whom we have worked with frequently over the years. He always composes wonderfully for boys voices and this score, for the forthcoming Dr DoLittle film, was no different. We have also been very pleased to have four boys taking part in preparation for The Magic Flute at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Two were understudies whilst two boys have played the roles of three boys, continuing our strong tradition of providing boys for these important roles at Covent Garden.
The start of November saw the choir once again returning to Holy Trinity, Sloane Square, to sing for Remembrance Day Service, something we have done for five years now. This is always a very lovely occasion. This year the choir sang music by Elgar, Dyson and Ireland. We were also delighted to welcome to the School the wonderful Drakensburg Boys Choir, visiting from South Africa. They stayed with our families on the first night of their tour of the UK.
Meanwhile, we have been busy arranging for the choir to travel to Australia in October 2020. The choir will be singing in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne at the end of next year.