Hear The Angels Sing

Christmas Greetings from St Peter’s Singers!

This message comes with our warmest wishes of goodwill, comfort and joy to you as Christmas approaches. We hope most sincerely that you are able to celebrate it this year as you would wish.

For many of us, Christmas would not be Christmas without hearing a choir singing carols and other beautiful seasonal music. This important chance to remind ourselves what really matters was denied us all last year. Like many other aspects of the pandemic, we have no wish to repeat that grim experience.

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So St Peter’s Singers will be giving a festive concert of carols and other heavenly music at Leeds Minster on Friday 17 December at 7.30pm.

A glass of wine or juice will be served in the interval.

Why not take this opportunity leave behind the noise for a short while and hear the angels sing!

The concert will finish by 9pm

The programme

Happily, touching base with this Christmas tradition is not an exercise in pure nostalgia. Composers of today continually find new and often captivating things to say. And so this treasure trove, liberally stocked with music from a rich and ancient tradition, is continually being renewed. Our programme will feature some of the better works composed in recent times mixed with traditional carols and well-known arrangements.

This will be a feast. Popular arrangements of traditional English carols such The Holly and the Ivy, The Sussex Carol, and We wish you a Merry Christmas, will join with with Edgar Pettman’s deceptively simple arrangements of two traditional Basque carols.

These will be complemented by John Rutter’s Dormi Jesu, John Tavener’s The Lamb, Will Todd’s My Lord has come, James MacMillan’s O Radiant Dawn, and Morten Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium, all recent works by contemporary composers and stunningly beautiful in their different ways. There will be carols for everyone to sing, and more besides. Alex Woodrow directs, with David Houlder at the organ.

Covid precautions

From a Covid security perspective, Leeds Minster is a large, airy and well-ventilated building with plenty of seating in which you can space out, while the choir will be singing at the far (East) end of the church. It is now Government policy to require the wearing of masks indoors. And to make the event as safe as possible for everybody, we would also suggest taking a lateral flow test before coming if you can.

We look forward very much to welcoming you.

Please note: should Government advice on Covid-19 force us to cancel the concert, we will fully refund the price of purchased tickets.

Hallelujah ! Messiah returns

Messiah returns

Hallelujah – Messiah returns !

Handel’s Messiah returns to Leeds after an unwelcome and enforced absence.

Leeds Minster

Saturday 27 November 2021 7.30pm

Come and hear this glorious, life-affirming music!

Tickets £15, £12 concessions, Free FTE / Under-18s all to include a glass of wine or juice and a free programme

Handel’s Messiah has been a favourite of Yorkshire audiences and choirs for many years, and no wonder. The music and texts exude a warm and sympathetic glow and somehow draw our attention above all else to the humanity of its subject. Feel-good music, that has been sorely missed.

Alex Woodrow directs St Peter’s Singers and a stellar lineup of (mostly) young soloists. Tom Moore accompanies on the Minster’s fabulous Harrison organ.

St Peter’s Singers are proud to present the first major performance of the work in Leeds since the pandemic started. What better way is there to start your preparations for Christmas ?

Leeds Minster – access and Covid security

Leeds Minster is a large and seemingly well-ventilated building, with sufficient room for you to space out as you wish. We welcome everyone to this concert, and make a simple request, in line with the Minster’s policy, that you respect other members of the audience by wearing a face-covering when entering and leaving the building.

Public parking is available on the street and in the car park opposite the Palace Hotel at the eastern end of Leeds Minster. There is also a large NCP car park next to Leeds Markets on the other side of the railway, and the John Lewis carpark slightly further away.

 

Hallelujah !

Hallelujah!

A change of mood

It was heartening to see so many people at our recent recital Songs of Solace. We felt we had maybe struck a chord with a programme of music that acknowledged the grief and loss brought by the pandemic. Now we feel that, although the pandemic is far from over, a Hallelujah or two are in order!

So it is a delight to switch moods, and to celebrate the return of live music-making. We do so by performing one of the greatest choral works of all time, Handel’s Messiah.

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This extraordinary oratorio, with its iconic Hallelujah chorus, its history of fund-raising for charity, and its frequent performance by countless choral societies, has reached further into the national consciousness than any other.

Messiah resonates at almost any point in the year. But it sits firmly in the minds of many as integral to their annual preparations for Christmas.

The opening invocation ‘Comfort ye’ – never more welcome than now – seems to light the Advent candle in the winter darkness more poignantly than one could possibly imagine.

Humanity

The work covers not just the foretelling of the coming of Christ and his birth. It also tells of his Suffering and Death, his Resurrection and Ascension – the full, and rather remarkable, life-cycle!

Yet despite all this, the overwhelming feeling that this amazing music leaves us with is of the humanity of its subject – once a baby, and then ‘a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief’. This is emotionally intelligent, empathetic music, composed by someone who understood the human condition.

Performance details

This performance is given with organ, rather than orchestral, accompaniment. At the time of planning we were unable to predict whether conditions would allow space for an orchestra. We feel this has proved a wise decision. We hope that on this occasion you will enjoy hearing the glory of the Minster’s famous Harrison & Harrison organ deployed on all the familiar arias and choruses. We’re grateful to Tom Moore for agreeing to undertake this herculean task.

Our soloists – Ruby Hendry, Esther Colman, Christopher Trenholme and Quentin Brown – and St Peter’s Singers are directed by Alex Woodrow.

Tickets

We very much hope to welcome you to this concert. Tickets are available below or at the door: £15, Concessions £12, (Free FTE / Under-18). A glass of wine or juice and a free programme is included in the price.

Leeds Minster is a seemingly well-ventilated (!) and spacious building allowing you to space out if you wish. We simply request that, in line with its policy, you wear a face-covering on entering and leaving the building.

Learn more

Songs of Solace

Come and enjoy some space and time for reflection as St Peter’s Singers sing exquisite music by Purcell, Croft, Greene, Harris, Howells and MacMillan. This recital is given in remembrance of those who died during the pandemic. Admission is free (retiring collection).

Find out more

Open rehearsal

We’re delighted to announce our Open Rehearsal on Sunday 13 October 7.30pm at Leeds Minster LS2 7DJ, when we look to welcome enthusiastic singers along who might be interested in joining.

If you enjoy singing in choirs or are looking to join a good choir where your skills can flourish and develop, St Peter’s Singers could be just the choir for you and our open rehearsal on 13 October would be a great opportunity to find out!

Registration is from 7.15pm, and the rehearsal starts at 7.30pm, lasting till 9.15 pm. Just come to the choir vestry door (the one nearest to the Palace Hotel on the Kirkgate side of the Minster).

We will be rehearsing some of the music for our upcoming Remembrance Day concert. Copies will be provided for you on arrival, and if you feel afterwards that this is your thing, there will be the opportunity to take part in that concert.

Our normal process if you want to join is for you to attend for a number of weeks, singing at rehearsals and concerts, and then there is a simple audition to confirm your membership. So if you can’t be with us on 13 October, just email our choir secretary and make arrangements to start another week.