The uplifting sounds of Haydn and Mendelssohn will be showcased at a special concert by the Cayman National Choir and Cayman National Orchestra on Thursday, 31 May.
The event takes place at 7.30pm at Cayman Islands Baptist Church on Pedro Castle Road and is the climax of several months’ work, says Sue Horrocks, conductor.
“The concert promises to be an exhilarating one. The mass is not a long drawn out affair which leaves listeners wriggling in their seats. Rather, it draws in the listener with the opening anguish of the Kyrie, leads them through the bright and joyful praising in the Gloria and on through to quite a triumphant and uplifting final movement in the Dona Nobis Pacem (‘grant us peace’).
“In addition, the audience will be treated to some exquisite solo performances including Kristina Horacek, who recently won the Hard Rock singing competition,” Sue tells us.
The choir and orchestra has a growing pedigree, having performed the Rutter Requiem of late as well as lighter concerts with guest soprano soloist Lisa Carlisle, she continues.
“As we try to sing a variety of music I thought it was time for a more classical concert and Haydn’s Nelson Mass (or Missa in Angustiis) fit the bill as a short and very light mass, which is perky and exhilarating. I also wanted to include an overture to showcase the orchestra and Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture (Fingal’s Cave) was an obvious choice.
“Missa in Angustiis means literally ‘narrow’ or ‘constricted’, but is freely translated as ‘Mass in a Time of Fear’. This was written in 1798 and first performed at the Bergkirche in Eisenstadt to celebrate the Name Day of the Princess Esterhazy in September 1798,” explains the music expert.
Of course, it takes a lot of work to get a concert ready for performance and the Haydn piece certainly brought the choir new vocal challenges.
“Members have worked hard to really get to know the work and it is safe to say some weren’t sure if it was beyond them when we started out. Now they are singing with gusto and confidence.
“The orchestra too have some challenging music to play in both the Hebrides and the Haydn. Relentless passage work in the strings makes for focused rehearsals but again, it has provided music for players to get their musical teeth into,” says Sue. But it is these challenges that lead to great performances, of course.
The choir and orchestra are both made up of people from various professions; choir rehearsals take place at the Cayman Prep Primary School hall on Smith Road on Mondays from 7.30 to 9pm. Sue says no audition is required.
“Some members don’t read music, but if they have a love of singing this needn’t stop them. People can just come along.
“For the orchestra, by definition, players must play an instrument to a reasonable standard. Some members are music teachers, many are in other professions but play as a serious hobby.
Some members played to a high level but had not had the opportunity to play for some time. They have dusted off their instruments and resurrected their passion for music by joining the orchestra,” she says.
The orchestra meets at the hall on Wednesdays from 7.30 to 9pm.
Tickets for the performance are $15 for adults, $5 for kids or students and are available on the door or from choir or orchestra members.For more information, e-mail [email protected]