On 9th December, Durham’s oldest choral society, DUCS, elides with Durham’s newest orchestra, the Classical Ensemble, for a presentation of Baroque music: ‘Ad Lucem’. Performing in the beautiful acoustic of Elvet Methodist Church, ‘Ad Lucem’ features two marvellous choral pieces: Handel’s Dixit Dominus and Bach’s Wachet Auf.

This concert will be directed by musicology lecturer Dr Katherine Hambridge, who explained that this is a programme of contrast. Dixit Dominus is rather challenging for the choir as it requires great precision and attack. Their attention to detail was evident from their rehearsal, working on phrasing, clear diction and crisp words, for maximum dramatic impact.

Meanwhile Bach’s cantata is more mellow and joyful in mood and thus the ensemble has been focussing on tone colour. Wachet Auf is also apposite, since it is synonymous with advent. Indeed, the audience are likely to recognise the organ’s chorale prelude, which is often played in advent services.

DUCS will also be joined by a myriad of talented soloists: sopranos Hannah Cox and Christina Callion; alto Joy Sutcliffe; tenor Alex Akhurst and bass Christopher Wright. I chatted with DUCS President Lik Qi Lim, who commented:

“Everyone has been working really hard and putting their all into rehearsals, nailing each and every single note. We have amazing repertoire this term, and we’re working together with DUCE to bring you a stunning concert. Performing Handel’s Dixit Dominus and Bach’s Wachet Auf, ‘Ad Lucem’ promises an amazing night, so don’t miss out!”

DUCS will be accompanied by the Classical Ensemble, affectionately known as DUCE. In rehearsals, DUCE provided dynamic accompaniment to the chorus, resulting in a dramatic dialogue between chorus and orchestra. DUCE leader, Robert Cavaye, said that DUCE are thrilled to be collaborating with DUCS once again:

“It has been a pleasure to work with Katherine and the singers and, being a bunch of Bach and Handel nerds, we can’t wait for the concert!”

The collaboration of these two superb societies, as well as five talented soloists, is sure to yield fantastic results. The aptly named ‘Ad Lucem’, or ‘to the light’, promises to be a stunning way for DUCE and DUCS to end Michaelmas term. Tickets are selling fast at:  https://www.musicdurham.org/event/adlucem/