17 May Come & Sing
Join The Wessex Festival Singers for a day singing Haydn, Duruflé and Christopher Dowie in the fantastic Exchange in Sturminster Newton. The day is designed as a taster for the Festival as well as those already signed up. Alternatively, just come along for a great day’s singing.

Who sings with us?
The Festival Singers attracts singers from across Dorset who are keen to sing over the summer. Most of the singers sing in other choirs for the rest of the year. Around 60 singers joined the choir in 2013, a number of whom were singing with the choir for the first time. Wessex Voices is the new name for the Festival chamber choir. Its members largely come from the Festival Singers, and they sing at 3 services during he Festival in different churches as well as singing in the opening concert. Both the choirs are conducted by David Everett, who has been Festival Director since 2009. He also directs The Orlando Singers (celebrating its 21st season this year), The Broadstone Choir, Dorset Chamber Choir (which is taking part in this year’s Festival) and Wessex Chamber Orchestra. In addition, to putting on concerts and taking part in cathedral and church services across the UK and in Europe, David runs regular choral workshops in Dorset.

What are we singing?
This year, the Festival Singers will be performing in two concerts. In the first, they will be singing Duruflé’s Requiem, Dyson’s Hierusalem and local composer, Christopher Dowie’s Allelujah. Wessex Voices will be performing the Tallis Lamentations. In the closing concert of the Festival, the Festival Singers will be singing Haydn’s Insanae et vanae curae and his Nelson Mass. Wessex Voices will be singing at three services – Compline (plainsong and Arcaldelt’s Ave Maria), Festival Eucharist )Haydn’s Little Organ Mass and Mozart’s Ave verum) and the Festival Evensong (Dyson in D and Bainton’s anthem And I saw a new Heaven)

Where and when do we rehearse?
Rehearsals are held in venues across Dorset – Poole, Sturminster Newton, Bere Regis and Bryanston. As with all choirs, singers are expected to attend the majority of rehearsals, especially the all day rehearsals.

Well, we’ve had the first Come & Sing day in St George’s Church, Oakdale (on the outskirts of Poole) on 29 March. Nearly 60 turned up and had a great day of music-making. Quite a few had never sung with David before, and by the end of the day quite a few had decided to sign up for the Festival.

The rehearsals on Saturday 17 May in The Exchange, Sturminster Newton, and Saturday 14 June in Bere Regis Church, are also open to those who have yet to decide whether or not to join the Festival Singers. These are also full days (10:30-16:00). The remaining rehearsals are for those who’ve signed up for the Festival:

Saturday 19 July 19: St George’s Church, Oakdale (10:30-16:00)
Thursday 31 July: St Martin’s Church, Bryanston (19:30-21:30)
Saturday 2 August: St Martin’s Church, Bryanston (10:30-16:00)
Tuesday 5 August: St Martin’s Church, Bryanston (19:30-21:30)
Thursday 7 August: St Martin’s Church, Bryanston (19:30-21:30)
Saturday 9 August: St Martin’s Church, Bryanston – Wessex Voices only (10:30-16:00)
Tuesday 12 August: St Martin’s Church, Bryanston (19:30-21:30)

Festival Singers subscription: £50 | Come & Sing: £15 per session (if you decide to join the Festival Singers this will be deducted from the £50 subscription). Membership of Wessex Voices is free to those who have already joined the Festival Singers.

A booking form for the Festival Singers can be downloaded here