On Saturday 7th March, Durham University Choral Society, Orchestral Society and Chamber Choir showcased the range and excellence of musical talent at Durham University with a concert entitled In The Light Of Spring.
Nearly two hundred students were involved in this exciting collaboration between the three societies, with the performance of Lazarus Requiem by Durham alumnus and
nationally recognised composer Patrick Hawes being the highlight of the evening. Supported by skilled soloists drawn from the alumni and student bodies, the concert also
saw the societies perform Vivaldi’s Gloria.
The Choral Society had been hard at work putting the finishing touches to the music of the Lazarus Requiem by Patrick Hawes. Although this is a very new piece – having only been performed four times before – it’s been exciting watching it come together so well, and we’re very pleased that we got to perform it in front of the composer. Patrick is an alumnus of St. Chad’s College, and hopefully this concert will bring back fond memories of music in Durham. Moreover, we were absolutely delighted that he agreed to give a talk before the concert to explain his composition.
His pre-concert talk was particularly engaging, explaining some of the more thematic and compositional reasoning behind the work as it draws on the latin requiem text as well as the story of Lazarus from the New Testament. It was wonderful to hear him speak so passionately about his time in Durham, all he learnt from it and how much he wants to give back.
Our soloists in this concert (Hugo Hymas, Charlotte La Thrope, Emily Burnett, Marnie Blair and James Quitmann) also have strong links to Durham University. Hugo, Charlotte and Emily are recent Durham graduates, while James is currently in his second year of study at Grey College and Marnie is about to graduate in Music from University College. With over two hundred students performing, it’s wonderful to be able to showcase the range and excellence of musical talent that Durham can produce, in particular because the event was held in the stunning Durham Cathedral.
This was our last concert led by our conductor Michael Summers: due to increased work and family commitments he’s stepping down after this year. As president of the Choral Society I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with him, and hope that this concert served as a memorable farewell and thank you. He has continued to push the society to produce the best possible sound, as well as introducing us to new and exciting pieces like the Lazarus Requiem.