New releases 2007
Risca Choir Chairman, Leigh Tucker, presenting a cheque to Mr Don Touhig MP, who accepted it on behalf of the Children in Need appeal (click on image to enlarge). The presentation was made at the Choir's Christmas show, Crosskeys College, December 2007.
For the Record: Our new releases 2007
It is a well-known fact that Risca Male Choir presents a themed concert every Christmas. It has done so since 1979 when an Opera Gala was produced. Since that time we have tackled many themes including Christmas, Music Hall, Dixieland, Music Theatre, Victorian, and more recently, Disney. In the last few years, the pattern has settled into a tri-annual round of music theatre, Disney and Christmas; and we needed something new.
It was listening to Classic FM one day that the music director was inspired by a new theme. Classic FM had been featuring music written for films, and he thought this was something that would work really well for the choir. Even if we ignored Disney films and films of shows (areas we already covered in any case), there was still a huge amount of material we could sing. We already had in the repertoire "Sometimes" from Champions, and lurking somewhere in the music cupboard were copies of "Bright Eyes" (Watership Down), a piece that we hadn’t sung for many years.
Researching other music was really rewarding and it was obvious there was more than enough suitable material for choir and soloists to perform; the job now was to choose the items to make a balanced programme. Many familiar tunes made up the majority of the programme, but it was good to include music that certainly was not known to me even though he had seen the films. "Exsultate Justi" from Empire of the Sun is not obvious until you watch the film again and listen out for it. The same was true of "Into the West" (Lord of the Rings) a song that was to prove very popular with the choir and our audiences. The "American Hymn", so well-suited to our choir soloist, Andrew Jenkins, was another new song to me, as was "There you'll be" from Pearl Harbor, a song that would be sung by Sarah, our guest soloist.
The suggestion to record the live performances was taken up enthusiastically. We would be singing the show four times and thought surely we could get a recorded result as an end product.
Preparing the music, making the arrangements and rehearsing the songs he found very pleasurable and actually performing the shows he enjoyed as much, if not more, than any of the Christmas theme shows in the past.
Despite some noisy audiences, we managed to get a good result. There were just a few items that could have been improved upon and those we eventually re-recorded: something that was well worth doing.
With selected solos (including one for saxophone) we managed to save all the items the choir had performed, and considering the majority of those items were recorded live, the standard of singing was very high.
With brilliant CD design and recording quality, the new release Risca Male Choir Sings the Movies came out in June.
It really makes a very comfortable listen: with percussion, bass guitar, two keyboards and saxophone the CD has a good commercial feel.
The CD is on sale and you can always order one from the choir.
The second release, which happened in September, was of a single for Children in Need. There were two items in the choir's repertoire that concerned children. "Prayer of the children" we had recorded some years ago. A most unusual a cappella piece, it was written by Kurt Bestor. He served as a missionary in Serbia during the 1970s. The song was written years later when the Yugoslav wars broke out in the early 1990s as a tribute to the country's children. Meridian Magazine described it this way: "Later when war broke out, and Yugoslavia splintered into warring factions with Serbs, Croatians and Bosnians hating and butchering each other, Kurt's heart was aching. What came to him - haunted him - were the faces of the children he had known. "Those children didn't hate anybody," he said. "They didn't care about who owned the land, or who had the power or the money. These are adult neuroses. They just wanted to have a mom and dad and a place to play."
The other song was written by Goff Richards and is called "Voice of the child". This we specially recorded for the CD. It was originally commissioned by BBC Radio Sheffield for their Children in Need appeal, now it has been recorded by Risca Male Choir for this year's appeal.
The sale of the CD was a great success and the choir recently made a donation to the appeal of £3600.00. We would like to thank all those people who helped the appeal by purchasing a copy. We know they would have enjoyed listening to it.
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