The Sinfonia Chorale, recognised as one of the leading small choirs in the East Midlands, was formed in 1966 as the English Sinfonia Chorale. SInce 1991, with Richard Roddis as its Director, it has enhanced its reputation for fine, expressive and exciting choral singing, and for ambitious and innovative programming. Several concerts are given every year in Nottingham and the surrounding counties.
The choir has around forty members including professional musicians and amateur instrumentalists. All share the same enthusiasm for singing and have many years of experience singing in choirs and smaller groups. The weekly rehearsals are lively, with plenty of humour and hard work, and are enjoyed by everyone. Enthusiasm and keenness to sing music written over the last five centuries is a hallmark of the choir for which it has gained a fine reputation. Particular interest has been taken in music written in the twentieth century and members have gained enormous pleasure through performing music by Britten, Poulenc, Carl Rütti and Walton (to name but a few) over the last few years. The music is frequently difficult to learn but the concentrated hard work at rehearsal is rewarded by an exhilarating and exciting performance enjoyed by both singers and audience.
Sometimes the choir sings with an orchestra or with organ or piano accompaniment - Charles Tebbs joined us as our regular accompanist in 2012 - but a cappella, or unaccompanied, singing remains central to the repertoire.
Over the years the Sinfonia Chorale has developed its own distinctive sound based on technical accuracy, infectious enthusiasm and appreciation of the various styles of music performed. These, and many more attributes, are much appreciated by its audience.
Sinfonia Chorale concerts are usually held in March, June/July, November and December. Venues include St Mary’s Church in Nottingham Lace Market, the Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham Albert Hall, Southwell Minster, the Djanogly Recital Hall, The Cathedral Church of St Barnabas Nottingham, Patchings Farm Art Centre Calverton, St Mark’s Church Woodthorpe, Derby Assembly Rooms, Newark Parish Church and Sheffield Cathedral.
Robert Steadman, a Nottingham composer, was commissioned to write Gloria which was programmed with Vivaldi’s Gloria in 1998 and received the review “Glorious music, gloriously sung”. Two years later the Sinfonia Chorale commissioned Isabel Jones, local choreographer and director of Salamanda Tandem and Eye Contact, to choreograph dance for a performance of Liszt’s Via Crucis in Southwell Minster. The evening was memorable with moving images of the Crucifixion set to Liszt’s music and one member of the press commenting “an outstanding event”.
More recent collaborations have been with the Helix Ensemble, the Derby Bach Choir, the Nottingham Symphony Orchestra, the Derby Concert Orchestra, the Derwent Singers and The English Pro Music Brass Ensemble. The concerts have mixed the popularity of works such as Fauré's Requiem, Orff's Carmina Burana, the exhilarating sounds of late renaissance music for multiple choirs by the Venetian masters Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli, and Monteverdi and less well-known but effective and heartfelt pieces by Gerald Finzi, Trevor Hold and Richard Roddis - Pietà.