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Hepton Singers' Autumn concert will be tribute to former Musical Director

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Hepton Singers

The Autumn concert of the Hepton Singers, the well-regarded chamber choir based in the upper Calder valley, will be a special occasion this year in memory of Roger Scaife, the choir’s former Musical Director who died earlier in the year. The concert, to be held at Heptonstall Parish Church at 7.30pm on Saturday November 25th, will comprise a selection of choral works which were particularly special to Roger, including several pieces which have long been firm favourites of both choir and audience alike.

Roger’s delight in the early choral tradition in Britain will be represented by works by Henry Purcell, William Byrd and William Croft.  These include Croft’s powerful setting of the words of Psalm 38 Put me not to rebuke, as well as Purcell’s entertaining and cheeky If music be the food of love. The choir will also be performing Palestrina’s exquisite Sicut cervus and two short Bach chorales.

Roger Scaife, during his long period as the Heptons’ Musical Director, introduced challenging modern pieces to the choir to add to its early music repertoire. The Heptonstall concert will include four of the Lenten Motets written by the twentieth century Czech-British composer Antonín Tučapský, first performed by the Hepton Singers under Roger’s leadership more than twenty years ago. Also from the twentieth century will be Zoltán Kodály’s classic anthem to his Hungarian homeland, Esti dal, an arrangement by Benjamin Britten of a mediaeval English hymn to St Godric, and Vaughan Williams’ rollicking arrangement of the English folk song the Wassail Song.

The concert will include the premiere of a newly written piece by choir member Chris Legg, who has set to music powerful words about death by the poet Emily Dickinson, as a tribute to Roger’s life and his contribution to the musical vitality of the Calder valley.

Alison West, the choir’s current Musical Director, said: “We have quite unashamedly gone back to some of the choral works we most enjoy singing for this special concert, which will include many pieces which Roger introduced to the choir.  The programme is designed to reflect the breadth of his knowledge of choral music and we hope we can communicate to the audience his passion for choral singing.  Roger knew how to get the choir to pull out powerful performances of sometimes quite challenging works and we hope our concert in Heptonstall will pay adequate tribute to his memory.”

The programme includes an interval when tea, coffee and cakes will be served by volunteers from Heptonstall church in aid of the church’s fund-raising efforts.

More information can be found on the website, www.heptonsingers.co.uk