Candlelit Christmas Concert 

Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic one-act opera “Trial By Jury”

Christmas Carols

Saturday 7th December 2019, 7.30pm, St Botolph Church

Southrepps Chorale is a community choir founded by Musical director, Stephen Richards, in 2011.  He is a well-known Norfolk musician, B.Mus. LGSM. After a career in music publishing, Stephen is active in music making as a conductor of choirs and music theatre and as a performer and teacher of clarinet and saxophone.

Southrepps is famous for its own music festival each summer and the Chorale takes part each year, joined by professional soloists. In 2012  Southrepps Chorale performed Gilbert & Sullivan; 2013 was music from Broadway and the West End; 2014 was madrigals and the jazz cantata Captain Noah and His Floating Zoo. In August 2015 Faure’s Requiem was coupled with choral’s first commission as they gave the world premiere of The Nightingale by Norfolk-based composer Geoff Cummings-Knight. The Summer 2016 programme saluted William Shakespeare in the 400th anniversary of his demise, including Songs and Sonnets by George Shearing, West Side Story by Bernstein and Double Trouble by John Williams (from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkeban). 2017 featured the stirring and enormously popular extended work by Karl Jenkins The Armed Man coupled with a beautiful cycle of spirituals Feel The Spirit by John Rutter.
Southrepps Chorale maintains a close relationship with the beautiful church of St. James Southrepps and performs as a church choir in some key village events such as Remembrance Sunday and an annual Carol Service.

Trial by Jury (music by Arthur Sullivan, libretto by W. S. Gilbertwas first produced on 25 March 1875, at London’s Royalty Theatre. The story concerns a “breach of promise of marriage” lawsuit in which the judge and legal system are the objects of lighthearted satire. Critics and audiences praised how well Sullivan’s witty and good-humoured music complemented Gilbert’s satire. The success of Trial by Jury launched the famous series of 13 collaborative works between Gilbert and Sullivan that came to be known as the Savoy Operas. According to the theatre scholar Kurt Gänzl, it is “probably the most successful British one-act operetta of all time”

Photos of the concert are here 

TRIAL BY JURY – a comic opera in one act by W.S. GILBERT & ARTHUR SULLIVAN
The Learned Judge  – Alan Weyman
The Plaintiff  – Zaira Palumbo
The Defendant  – William Falconer
Counsel for the Defendant  – Kathryn Tillyard
Usher  – Jonathan Pace
Foreman of the Jury  – Stan Jeavons


Shepherds’  Chorus    Gian Carlo Menotti  From Amahl and the Night Visitors
The Three Kings          Peter Cornelius      Solo: Alan Weyman
El Rorro     Mexican Lullaby arr. Jeffrey Van    Guitar: Philip Blackburn
Ave Maria  Max Reger   Solo: Zaira Palumbo
Jesus, Springing   Bob Chilcott
Pavane for a Silent Night  Ravel Based on “Pavane pour une infant défunte”
Comfort Ye (recit) & Every Valley Shall Be Exalted (aria) from The Messiah G F Handel  Solo: William Falconer
Walking in the Air      Howard Blake
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas  Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane arr. L’Estrange

RO CURTIS – CONDUCTOR. Ro Curtis studied music, including singing with the late Nancy Evans, at the Colchester Institute, followed by education at Trent Park College London. She enjoyed much success with the award-winning choir she created at the Belfry School, Overstrand. She was a founder member of Sheringham Savoyards as a principal, later taking up the baton as Musical Director, conducting all the major Gilbert & Sullivan operas.  She also directed Cantamus, now a well-known local choir, for the first 5 years from its inception. She gained wide choral experience working with former King’s Singer Jeremy Jackman, as a member of his chamber choir The Jay Singers for 17 years. She currently sings with the 6-voice female group The Samphires, and directs the New Sheringham Singers, a ladies’ choir of 60 voices. She has thoroughly enjoyed working with Southrepps Chorale this term.

CATHY  AL-BAY – PIANIST. Cathy Al-Bay originates from Sheffield and started music at an early age as a brass player, with piano studies from age 11. She studied music at Bath Spa University and is a qualified school teacher, who has worked in Germany, Jordan and the UK. She moved to Norfolk in 1998 and has worked as an accompanist with North Norfolk Chorale, Broadland Youth Choir and, since 2013, with Southrepps Chorale. She is also active in music theatre and accompanied Norfolk Youth Music Theatre for 2 years with 7 shows and 2 visits to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

ALAN WEYMAN – JUDGE. Alan Weyman studied singing with Henry Cummings and Martin Lawrence. He has performed opera, song recitals, oratorio and village pantomime with the Norfolk Opera Players, Claxton Opera, Phoenix Opera, East Norfolk Operatic Society, BressinghamVillage Hall Drama Group and elsewhere. He has sung major roles in operas by Mozart, Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini, Tchaikovsky and others, and in many Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. His Norfolk début after moving from ‘down south’ was as Grumpy in ‘Snow White and Several Dwarfs’.

ZAIRA PALUMBO – PLAINTIFF. Zaira Palumbo studied as a classical soprano at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. She has a wealth of experience within the classical and musical theatre genres having performed as a semi-finalist at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod and in the Kathleen Ferrier Bursary Competition for Young Singers. Soloist performances include Mozart: Missa Brevis KV275, Haydn: The Seasons, Schubert: Mass in C, Purcell: Come ye sons of art, Pergolesi: Stabat Mater, Little Moon: A Night at the Chinese Opera, Fantine: Les Miserables, Carlotta: The Phantom of the Opera. Alongside her performing, Zaira is a peripatetic singing teacher and musical director of the Broadland Youth Choir, Mundesley Community Choir and Red Loft Theatre Company.

WILLIAM FALCONER – DEFENDANT. William Falconer grew up in Buckinghamshire, and read for his degree in music at Hertford College, Oxford, where he was Organ Scholar.  He moved to Norfolk in 2006 and became a Lay Clerk in the choir of Norwich Cathedral, and through that position receives singing tuition from Patricia Rozario.  He is also accompanist to UEA Choir and to Norfolk Camerata, and has a long-standing association with the Southrepps Chorale through his role as Administrator to the Southrepps Music Festival; he is very pleased to be appearing for the Chorale as a soloist for the first time this evening.

KATHRYN TILLYARD – COUNSEL. Kathryn is an early member of Southrepps Chorale, having had no formal music education, but 14 years’ experience singing Barbershop. Kathryn competed at National and International level with Sweet Adelines Quartets and Choruses, competed at Sainsbury’s Choir of the Year, sang, with her chorus, at Friday Night is Music Night for BBC radio, and also at Proms in the Park.

JONATHAN PACE – USHER. Jonathan enjoyed a long and diverse career in music education in Surrey schools. Sandwiched with this were senior management roles in a large and very successful comprehensive school in Surrey and more latterly part-time working in University music teacher training courses.  Dovetailed into in this busy professional life has been much enjoyable choral singing , most recently in Norfolk and Norwich including the Norwich Cathedral Chamber Choir, Jay Singers, Horatio Singers and other vocal ensembles for church services and concerts.  Jonathan also enjoys playing viola in chamber orchestras, and accompanying for services in the large Barnham Broom and Upper Yare Benefice. Trial by Jury is a ‘sing down memory lane’ to when as a 6th form singer he sang in Southend Operatic and Dramatic Society G&S productions, encouraged by S.O.D’s Director, and Jonathan is looking forward to this concert performance of Trial by Jury.

STAN JEAVONS – FOREMAN. Stan was encouraged to join the Southrepps Chorale in 2013 by a good friend who had already joined the choir as an Alto. She knew of his interest in music sometimes leading to spontaneous bursts in inappropriate places! He believes he was the first choir member who was required by Stephen Richards to attend an audition, and would he please prepare two pieces of music to sing? With great trepidation he attended and started to sing the Tit Willow song from The Mikado. Two lines were sufficient for Stephen to take pity on him and welcome him to the Chorale! As a tenor with no previous formal training, apart from two years pianoforte lessons in his youth, he has greatly benefited by working with fellow tenors and wider members of the chorale. Several of his group have mentored him over the years for which he is extremely grateful. Whether his singing ability has improved he leaves others to judge!

All concert proceeds were donated to restoration and conservation projects for the churches of Trunch, Swafield and Bradfield. The Church and community would like to thank both the audiences and the performers for their generosity. Since 1998 the concerts have raised over £30,000 towards these projects.