•    Peace on Earth, Saturday 15 December 2018 Open or Close
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    Saturday 15 December 2018 7.30pm in Exeter Cathedral

    Marines bandThe Armed Man (excerpts) Karl Jenkins • Patterson • Fitkin • Handel • favourite carols and other treats from The Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines CTCRM and guest artist Roderick Williams OBE

    The Lord Mayor’s charity concert

    Nigel Perrin conductor

    “Someone once said I write spiritual music for secular people, and it was meant to be an insult. But for me that's a compliment.” Karl Jenkins

    100 years on from the Armistice of November 1918, which marked the end of the First World War, Exeter Festival Chorus commemorates this momentous historical event. We perform excerpts from Karl Jenkins' compelling work, The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, which depicts the horrors of war but urges 'Better is peace...'. At the end of the concert there will be a collection for the Lord Mayor's chosen charity, SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.

    Roderick WilliamsWith leading British baritone, Roderick Williams OBE, and the evocative and rousing sound of the Royal Marines Band, we take you through Advent to Christmas with its message of hope for peace on earth.

    Roderick says "I am looking forward to my appearance with the Exeter Festival Chorus and the Band of the Royal Marines; it promises to be a thrilling occasion. The desire for peace in our troubled world can best be encouraged through music, the most powerful of unifying media. I am sure, under the baton of the wonderful Nigel Perrin, we will all be a persuasive voice for Peace on Earth." Please click to read Roderick's biography.

    Photo of Roderick Williams by Benjamin Ealovega

    To buy tickets please click the Buy Tickets Online tab at the top of this page.
    Nave £35, £28, £22 (reserved)
    Side aisles*: £17 front, £8 rear (unreserved)
    *many with restricted view
    Special Anniversary discounts for Students and Children: Students £5; Children (under 18 years) £1
    Where a disabled person requires an attendant to be able to come to our events, we will be pleased to provide a complimentary ticket for the attendant. Please call us on 0845 600 5441 to take up this facility.

    Tickets may also be booked by phone through TicketSource: 0333 666 3366.
    Lines are open 9am-7pm weekdays (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-5pm Saturdays. Calls are charged at national rate and are included in free minutes. There is a fee of £1.75 per transaction for this service.

    Tickets are also available in person or by phone from Exeter Tickets, Dix’s Field, Exeter: 01392 665 885.

    There is a Group Booking discount of 10% if you buy ten or more tickets for a concert.

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  •    Open Rehearsals: 21 November 2018 Open or Close
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    We are holding our next Open Rehearsal on Wednesday 21 November for our concert in Exeter Cathedral on Saturday 15 December, which includes works to be performed with leading British baritone, Roderick Williams OBE, and the Royal Marines Band.

    We are happy to be flexible about a visit date, so if you are not able to attend an Open Rehearsal, it is possible for us to arrange a visit to an ordinary rehearsal.

    For more information about our open rehearsals please see this page.

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  •    Choral Workshop 2019: Mozart's Mass in C Minor Open or Close
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    Saturday 19 January 2019
    Choral Workshop
    Mozart: Mass in C Minor
    Belmont Chapel Exeter, 9.30am - 5.00pm

    Directed by Nigel Perrin, with accompanist Peter Adcock

    Our annual choral workshop is an open invitation for singers from far and wide to join us in a day’s exploration and cameo performance of a masterwork in the choral repertoire. In 2019 we are tackling Mozart's Mass in C Minor.

    Under the compelling and inspirational guidance of Nigel Perrin, here’s your chance to get new insights into this wonderful work.

    Price: registration fee £20 (£5 for children under 18 years and students)
    Score: Peters edition.
    Score hire is £2, payable at the time of booking.
    We ask for a £10 returnable deposit on the day.
    When booking online, please select the price for your voice part with or without score as appropriate.

    To buy tickets please click the Buy Tickets Online tab at the top of this page.
    Tickets may also be booked by phone through TicketSource: 0333 666 3366. Lines are open 9am-7pm weekdays (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-5pm Saturdays. Calls are charged at national rate and are included in free minutes. There is a fee of £1.75 per transaction for this service.
    Tickets are also available in person or by phone from Exeter Tickets, Dix’s Field, Exeter: 01392 665 885.

    Venue: Belmont Chapel, Western Way, Exeter EX1 2DB

    About the day:

    09.30 Registration opens.
    10.00 We start the day with a selection of warm-ups in Nigel’s inimitable style before we turn to the work itself. The proceedings will be interspersed with practice of vocal technique and a plentiful supply of Nigel’s anecdotes.
    11.20 A break for complimentary refreshments, followed by further study.
    13.00 We break for lunch. You’re welcome to enjoy a packed lunch at the venue or forage in the many catering options in the nearby city centre.
    14.15 We resume our study.
    15.40 A break for further complimentary refreshments.
    16.00 Our cameo performance starts.
    17.00 Our day ends.

    Click to see a short video from our 2013 Choral Workshop.

    The Chapel is in the centre of the city. There is no parking at the Chapel itself, but paid public parking is available at Triangle Car Park EX1 2BL behind the Chapel or at Summerland Gate EX1 2LB opposite it. There are Park & Ride services; details are available here.

    Further details:
    t 0845 600 5441 (Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.)
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Peter O’Brien – Forgotten Man of Exeter Music

This year as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Exeter Festival Chorus (EFC), not to overlook the 50th anniversary of the Exeter Music Group (EMG) orchestra last year, it is worth remembering the founder of both, Peter O’Brien (1936-1998), the rather forgotten man of classical music in university and city. Peter showed musical talent at an early age and gave his first organ recital when he was eleven, an d a piano recital at the Wigmore Hall when he was fourteen. While at school in Aston he became an Associate of the Royal College of Organists (ARCO). He won an organ scholarship to Trinity Hall, Cambridge. On completing his degree in music, he taught at the Skinners’ School, Tunbridge Wells, moving to Brighton College in 1963. In 1964 Peter moved to Exeter to a lectureship in St Luke’s College, where he set up the B.Ed. degree course in music. Characteristically he galvanised the student body, and musical activities flourished – choral society, chapel choir, orchestra – with performances in Exeter Cathedral. Peter was undoubtedly a very good and enthusiastic teacher, and generations of students were inspired by him. When the College merged with the University in 1978, only Peter of the music staff survived, later to be joined by new staff. He remained Chairman of Music in Education till his retirement in 1990. He was Honorary Director of Music at the University, very much its public face, conducting the Choral Society and University Orchestra for nearly 20 years, finally retiring in 1996. He guided hundreds of students and senior members of the University through major choral and orchestral works, including memorable performances of Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast and Britten’s War Requiem in successive years in the mid-1980s. Performers would give their all for him, and he achieved remarkable results, treasuring certain, what he called “magic moments.”

Outside the world of Academia Peter was equally active. As a fine pianist who could sight-read anything you put in front of him, he was in much demand as an accompanist. He gave a recital of Schubert Lieder with local soprano Janet Howd in 1973, subsequently recording it on an LP, and accompanied leading soloists such as Emma Kirkby at the Dartington International Summer School, whose choir he also conducted. He was Director of Music for the Minehead Festival from 1972 to 1982. He co-founded South West Opera and started the Exeter Music Group in 1967. It is still going strong and is widely considered the best amateur orchestra in the region, well-known for recent performances of daunting large-scale choral and orchestral  works, such as Mahler’s Eighth Symphony, the “Symphony of a Thousand,” and Britten’s War Requiem. In 1993, Paul Patterson, the distinguished composer and Manson Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music, then Director of the Exeter Festival, an Exonian who had attended Vincent Thompson High School and been a protégé of Peter’s, invited Peter to form a choir to accompany the Opera Gala on the last night, featuring Lesley Garrett and Robert Tear. In tackling this Peter typically insisted on and maintained very high standards. The Chorus really took off, putting on three to four concerts a year, including memorable performances at the Festival, including the first performance in England of Arvo Pärt’s Berliner Messe, an Opera Gala with the BBC Concert Orchestra broadcast on Radio 2, Paul Patterson’s Mass of the Sea with the BSO, and Haydn’s Nelson Mass with Richard Hickox and the City of London Sinfonia. It survived being dropped by the Festival and Peter’s tragic early death from cancer, and under the inspired leadership of Nigel Perrin, original high voice of the King’s Singers, has gone from strength to strength. But it was Peter who founded it, who stamped his character on it, and whose high standards helped establish it as one of the outstanding choirs of the South West, with an impressive and wide-ranging repertoire and many first performances of challenging works.

Finally, one should mention Peter’s talent as a composer of choral pieces, particularly carols, written for the St Luke’s Choir for performance in the annual Cathedral Advent Service, and sung from the Minstrels’ Gallery (alas no longer used). They include: Green Grow’th the Holly, Nova, Nova, and Out of your Sleep, the last recorded by EFC under Nigel Perrin on their 2006 CD, ‘A Time of Snow’. Overall Peter made a lasting contribution to choral and orchestral music in Exeter and beyond, inspiring amateur performers to unexpected and unforgettable heights, and providing superb accompaniment to great professionals. He was especially proud of his connection with Sir David Willcocks, which went back to his Cambridge days, and led to Sir David conducting EFC and agreeing to become its Honorary President. Appropriately Sir David conducted Peter’s Memorial Concert in Exeter Cathedral in February 1999, featuring Beethoven’s monumental Missa Solemnis.  We all owe Peter a great debt of gratitude.

Alastair Logan

EFC Member (1993-) and Chair (2000-10) (with grateful acknowledgements to Philippe Oboussier, who supplied the bulk of this article, and to Peter’s son, Alasdair).

EFC is an auditioning choir, but you can join us – without the pressure of an audition – at an Open Rehearsal to get an idea of how we work.

We are holding our next Open Rehearsal on Wednesday 21 November, when we will be working on music for our concert in Exeter Cathedral on Saturday 15 December, which includes works to be performed with leading British baritone, Roderick Williams OBE, and the Royal Marines Band.

We are happy to be flexible about a visit date, so if you are not able to attend an Open Rehearsal, it is possible for us to arrange a visit to an ordinary rehearsal.

At our Open Rehearsals the emphasis is on making the session enjoyable and accessible for our visitors, and the rehearsals are directed by EFC’s inspirational conductor, Nigel Perrin. There will be no charge for visitors to attend this rehearsal, which will be held at the Maynard School, and places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. If you would like to experience the fun, camaraderie and sense of achievement which is brought by singing a wide range of music, then you can find out more and book yourself a place at an Open Rehearsal (or an alternative date) by telephone (01395 275399) or by emailing our This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Interviews with Choir Members

 

Dynamic, innovative and ready for just about anything in the way of a musical challenge – that’s the Exeter Festival Chorus under Nigel Perrin!


Directed by internationally renowned, professional Choral Conductor, Nigel Perrin, we sing music from a wide range of eras and composers - from Bach, Purcell and Vivaldi to Gershwin, Tavener and James MacMillan. The choir uses renowned soloists such as soprano Lesley Garrett, pianist Peter Donohoe and jazz singer Jacqui Dankworth. We sing with professional orchestras, chamber ensembles, jazz bands and sometimes a cappella.

Would you like to belong to an excellent choir, sing exciting music, make new friends and enjoy social activities? Why not find out more and book yourself a place at an Open Rehearsal,  or come to a normal Wednesday rehearsal to try us out? Contact our This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Jill Nickels, for details.

Below you will find answers to some of the questions you might want to ask.

What do your members say about being in EFC?

"I was looking for something challenging and rewarding; a chance to sing with people who are actually good at it! This is the first amateur choir I’ve been in where quality of music is of premier importance and people help each other. You feel like you are working together to achieve something good as a whole. It’s also really friendly. This is the most rewarding choir I’ve sung with."

"EFC maintains a high standard and has a great musical director and it also has a great atmosphere and is a happy place to be."

"It's an amazing counterpoint to my work. You have to really concentrate your mind on the singing so it relieves the stress. It’s sociable too and a group of us go to the pub every week after rehearsals."

"Nigel is the most musical conductor I’ve ever sung with and his dedication is superb. Nigel keeps us on our toes and he brings such enthusiasm. He is a singer so he knows what he wants and, more importantly, he can tell us how to get it because he has the technical knowledge to produce the right sound."

"Nigel is the right kind of perfectionist. He is the best for getting the best out of us."

Who runs the choir?

Our inspirational conductor and former King's Singer, Nigel Perrin (www.nigelperrin.co.uk), is responsible for the musical standards and training of the choir. He auditions new members and works closely with the Committee, which is elected to oversee all aspects of the choir’s business and to help the choir to maintain high standards. Regular emails and newsletters are sent out to keep choir members up to date with the latest news and choir information is put on the members’ section of the website.

What sort of people are in the choir?

Men and women of all sorts and ages, from all walks of life. We encourage young singers to join us, even if only for one season, and they are given special subscription rates. Travelling to and from concerts outside Exeter gives us the chance to get to know each other better, as do our social activities. Some members get together for a bite to eat before rehearsals, or meet up in the pub afterwards. We hold informal parties after some concerts and arrange an annual social evening at the end of the season.

What’s the commitment?

We rehearse once a week on Wednesday evenings from 7.15 – 9.30 pm in Exeter. Members are expected to attend 80% of rehearsals prior to a concert and to prepare the music in their own time. There is an afternoon dress rehearsal before a performance on concert days. Occasionally, we hold an extra rehearsal for a special concert.

When could I attend a rehearsal?

EFC is an auditioning choir, but you can join us – without the pressure of an audition – at an Open Rehearsal to get an idea of how we work.

We are holding our next Open Rehearsal on Wednesday 21 November, when we will be working on music for our concert on Saturday 15 December, which includes works to be performed with leading British baritone, Roderick Williams OBE, and the Royal Marines Band.

The emphasis will be on making the session enjoyable and accessible for our visitors, and the rehearsal will be directed by EFC’s inspirational conductor, Nigel Perrin. There will be no charge for visitors to attend the rehearsal, which will be held at the Maynard School, and places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. If you would like to experience the fun, camaraderie and sense of achievement which is brought by singing a wide range of music, then you can find out more and book yourself a place at an Open Rehearsal. If you are not able to attend on that date, it is possible for us to arrange a visit to an ordinary rehearsal. Contact us by telephone (01395 275399) or by emailing our This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Do you hold auditions?

Yes, we do. We like to make sure that new members feel comfortable singing at the level required in EFC. If you can read music, sing in tune and are prepared to learn new music at home, you are ready for an audition. Re-auditions are held every three years in order to maintain a high standard of performance.

Where do you perform?

We often perform in Exeter Cathedral, but also in other Exeter Venues. Sometimes we sing elsewhere in Devon - Buckfast Abbey and churches in Budleigh Salterton, Crediton and Exmouth, for example. We also travel further from home for special events and have performed in Coventry Cathedral and the Royal Albert Hall. We have built close friendships with our twin choirs in France, Russia and Germany, and from time to time we are invited to perform with them, or invite them to Exeter.

What does it cost?

The annual membership fee is £170 (special concessions for students). There are also small music hire charges.

What do you wear for concerts?

Depending on the formality of the concert ladies wear long-sleeved black tops and long black skirts/trousers with accessories issued by the choir. Men wear dinner jackets, black trousers, white shirts and black bow ties, or occasionally open-necked black shirts for less formal concerts.

Could I talk to someone about joining?

Why not give Jill Nickels, our Membership Secretary, a ring for more information or to arrange for you to come along to an evening rehearsal with the choir?

Tel: 01395 275399

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

end faq

 

JOOMLA3 SITE

Our next concert 
Our final concert this season, Much Ado About Shakespeare, is on Saturday 11 July.

Next season: a sneak preview
Click here to see some of next year's concerts.

Choral Workshop news
This year's Dream of Gerontius workshop was a great success and thoroughly enjoyed by nearly 300 people. If you weren't there you missed a treat! Plans are already afoot for next year's workshop on Saturday 16 January 2016. To see part of a previous workshop please click here.

Fauré and Stravinsky
Please click to read the review of our most recent concert.

Audience comments on our most recent concert: 
"Really worked from the audience perspective to have the choir sing the Fauré from memory - intense and effective."

"That was a tremendous concert. What a well-rehearsed choir!"

"The Laudate of the Symphony of Psalms was especially beautiful and the Fauré had so many good things ... great feeling and control from the choir."

... on our St John Passion

"It was not only a wonderful performance but incredibly relaxing and stress-busting!"

"The musicality of the performance was first rate, with the choir supported by the aptly-named Maggie Faultless and Music for Awhile (some beautiful playing here), and some wonderful soloists."
 
"It is such an amazing work and the choir was very sensitive, particularly in the chorales which were by no means 'just' a comment, but carried the mood forward each time. I thought the Evangelist was excellent, in his fluency and phrasing."

... on  our Christmas Gala:

"Just wanted to say congratulations on a fabulous concert! I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought the choir was absolutely superb - especially when you took on 'his yoke is easy, his burden is light'.. and made it sound both easy AND light!"

"A triumph! What a fantastic concert. We (all five of us) loved it, thank you. Wonderfully varied programme and the choir was in great voice."

"Super evening, great fun and full value for money!"

... and on our Summer Vespers concert:

"the choir was truly impressive and sang in such an uplifting way all through the concert to the very last note of their lovely encore"

"The blend of the choir's singing in these pieces was especially impressive ... A most enjoyable concert ..."

Our new collaboration with St Loye's 
EFC and St Loye's have formed a partnership to mutually support our causes. We plan to work on outreach projects that help build the confidence of St Loye's clients through interactive musical expression. St Loye's staff and clients were guests at our St John Passion on 28 March and they clearly enjoyed the evening, appreciating the beauty and therapeutic value of sacred music. The choir and its Friends and Patrons are looking forward to developing our relationship.

Come and join us
If you would like to find out more about joining the choir, please click here for further details

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EFC is an auditioned choir which warmly welcomes new members with good sight-reading ability. Rehearsals are on Wednesday evenings from 7.15 until 9.30pm. For further information about membership please contact the Membership Secretary:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Telephone: 01392 874227

2011-2012 Season

EFC’s brochure for the 2011-2012 season is available here and it includes full details of how you can book seats for the rest of this season’s exciting programme, with all our concerts being conducted by Nigel Perrin:

Saturday 10 December 2011: CarolSing

A festive evening of Christmas music at The Mint Methodist Church, with Nigel Perrin conducting and accompanied by Peter Adcock.

Monday 19 December 2011: Messiah

Exeter Festival Chorus will be joined by Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in Exeter Cathedral for a performance of Handel’s Messiah.

Saturday 31 March 2012: St Matthew Passion

Accompanied by the internationally renowned baroque orchestra Music for Awhile, Exeter Festival Chorus will perform Bach’s St Matthew Passion in Exeter Cathedral.

Saturday 30 June 2012: Summer Evening at the Abbey

Buckfast Abbey will be the setting for EFC’s summer concert, with performances of Vaughan Williams’ Mass in G minor, Brahms’ Warum ist das Licht gegeben? and Duruflé’s Requiem.

Saturday 21 July 2012: Summer Evening in Budleigh

An extra concert, as part of the Budleigh Salterton Festival, featuring Vaughan Williams' Mass in G Minor, Tippett's Spirituals from A Child of our Time and Duruflé's Requiem.

The Exeter Festival Chorus (EFC) was formed in the spring of 1993 by Peter O’Brien, Lecturer in Music and Director of Music at the University of Exeter, at the request of the distinguished composer, Paul Patterson, who went to school in Exeter, and was at that time Director of the annual Exeter Summer Festival. Its original purpose, as its name implies, was to accompany guest singers and orchestras in major Festival events, particularly the very popular Opera Gala concerts held on the last night. Numbering around 45 singers drawn from all over Devon and beyond, its premiere performance was the Opera Gala concert in the University Great Hall in July 1993, accompanying Lesley Garrett in favourite solos and choruses under the baton of Robert Tear.

That proved a great success and led among other things to an invitation by the Latin American group Caliche, made up of Chilean and Peruvian musicians performing on traditional instruments, to share in concerts they were mounting in southern England. We sang Ramirez’s Missa Criolla and Navidad Nuestra in Stratford, the Stables at Wavendon (Johnny Dankworth’s concert venue) and St Luke’s Church, Chelsea. We felt suitably encouraged to extend our programme and repertoire beyond the summer Festival. Thus, alongside our annual appearances in the Festival (1994-8), we developed a programme of three to four concerts a year in Exeter, Buckfast Abbey and other Devon venues, of choral masterworks by, amongst others, Mozart, Handel, Brahms, Bach and Fauré. The Festival concerts featured the first performance in England of Arvo Pärt’s Berliner Messe under Charles Hazlewood (1994), an Opera Gala with Robin Stapleton and the BBC Concert Orchestra broadcast on Radio (1995), a joint concert with Jeremy Summerly and his Oxford Schola Cantorum (1996), a performance of Paul Patterson’s Mass of the Sea with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Richard Hickox (1997), and again under Hickox and his City of London Sinfonia, a performance of Haydn’s Nelson Mass (1998).

Sadly Peter O’Brien died in autumn 1998 of cancer. We were fortunate enough to be able to engage Sir David Willcocks to conduct Peter’s Memorial Concert, a joint performance with the Truro Three Spires Singers in February 1999 of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis. We were greatly honoured and delighted when Sir David, himself a Cornishman, agreed to become our President. He continues to take an interest in our activities, conducting a lively and unforgettable performance of Handel’s Messiah in Exeter Cathedral in December 2002. It was Sir David who suggested to our then Chair, Robin Palmer, that we approach Nigel Perrin, the high voice in the original King’s Singers, to replace Peter. He became our second Musical Director in 1999, enlarging our numbers to 65, improving our standards and widening our repertoire to take in challenging pieces, old and contemporary: the Vespers of Monteverdi (March 2000 and July 2002 in Exeter) and of Rachmaninov (July 2000 in Topsham, November 2001 in Buckfast Abbey), David Fanshawe’s African Sanctus with the internationally renowned BackBeat group in the presence of the composer (June 2001 in Exeter Cathedral, May 2002 in Sherborne Abbey), Michael Tippett’s A Child of Our Time with Catherine Bott, as part of our Tenth Anniversary programme (April 2003 in Exeter Cathedral), Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man, again in the presence of the composer (in two memorable concerts for the charity WaterAid, the first in November 2004 in Exeter Cathedral, the second with Jenkins conducting in November 2005 in Truro), and Jenkins’ Requiem (Exeter Cathedral in June 2006). It was a particular pleasure for the Chorus to have our founder, Paul Patterson, in the Cathedral to hear us perform his attractive and tuneful Millennium Mass in April 2006. Another new departure for us was a semi-staged performance of Bach’s St John Passion in March 2007 in the Cathedral, in which, using Neil Jenkins’s new edition, we performed the choruses learned by heart in English, and the chorales in German, accompanied by the fine period band, Music for Awhile.. Not only was Neil an eloquent Evangelist, he also coached us in acting out the piece.

But for many the highlight of our short history was the ‘Triangle of Hope’ project of March to June 2005. This, a remarkable symbol of international reconciliation and the power of music to transcend all barriers, involved the choir joining a church choir from Hanau in Germany and the Glas Choir from Yaroslavl in Russia, twin city of both Hanau and Exeter, to perform Benjamin Britten’s powerful and moving War Requiem. Three joint concerts were given: the first on 19th March in Hanau, 60th anniversary of its destruction by RAF bombers; the second on 7th May in Yaroslavl, eve of the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII in Russia; and the third on 18th June in Exeter, inaugural concert of the Summer Festival. Our soloists were as Britten had intended: Russian soprano, English tenor, German baritone, with Russian, German and English orchestras under the three conductors in varied combinations. The project also involved making a DVD, circulated to all Devon secondary schools, and setting up a website; this recorded wartime experiences of people from all three cities, and was funded by the National Lottery wartime anniversary programme, ‘We Were There’. This was not only a remarkable feat of organisation involving the choir’s first trip abroad, but provided an unforgettable series of concerts and forged many lasting friendships.

Encouraged by this experience the choir formed official links with choirs from its German and French twin cities, Bad Homburg and Rennes respectively. The first resulted in a lively performance of Haydn’s Creation sung in German in Exeter in November 2006 with choir members of the Erlöserkirche in Bad Homburg. They invited us back to Bad Homburg in late November 2007 to join in two moving performances of Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius, a work which, although frequently performed in Germany before WWI, is scarcely known there nowadays. Keen to involve both our German choirs and Résonance, a fine chamber choir from Rennes, we organised a splendid four-choir performance of Verdi’s evergreen Requiem as part of the 2008 Exeter Summer Festival, involving a chorus of over 200 singers, four gifted soloists including our soprano from the War Requiem, and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. This was a logistical nightmare, a linguistic Babel but a musical triumph, proving once again that the language of music is universal.

We have continued to widen our repertoire and to perform challenging contemporary works, often for the first time in the South West. These have included James MacMillan’s austere The Seven Last Words from the Cross (March 2008 in Exeter Cathedral), Will Todd’s catchy jazz mass, Mass in Blue (Barnfield Theatre, Exeter in June 2008), for which we were coached by Scott Stroman, Professor of Jazz at the Guildhall School of Music, and most recently in our first joint concert with the Exeter Philharmonic Choir, the American John Adams’s hypnotic Harmonium coupled with Walton’s fiery Belshazzar’s Feast, with our regular orchestral accompanists, Richard Studt and his Sinfonietta, and Alan Opie as our soloist (November 2008).

Other highlights of our brief history have included the introduction of very popular choral workshops every January, usually of works we intend to perform later in the year. These now attract over 400 singers from the UK and abroad, with people signing up a year in advance. We have also pioneered a new form of Christmas carol concert, CarolSing, involving much more audience participation than is usual, with local artistes performing guest slots, including a teenage female saxophone quartet and the Exmouth Community College balalaika orchestra. We have won first prizes in national and local performing arts festivals, notably in the Elgar Triennial Festival in Worcester in 2000, where Janet Baker was the adjudicator. We have made two CDs, one of Christmas music, ‘The Time of Snow’, the other a brass band version of Jenkins’ Armed Man, recorded by some of the best brass players in the UK, in which a number of us formed part of the chorus.

In its short history the Chorus has achieved much and become much more than simply a choir for the Exeter Festival. Under the inspiring leadership of Nigel Perrin we have grown to around 77 members performing up to eight concerts a year and attracting a loyal following, enabling us to fill our various venues. We have a growing body of Friends and Patrons, individual and corporate. The choir is always seeking new challenges and new forms of cooperation with other local choirs and groups. There is a real buzz about our concerts and a genuine sense among our members of belonging to a group that combines high musical standards with an open, friendly, welcoming and supportive ethos.

Alastair Logan
Chair 2000 - 2010

General Enquiries

For general enquiries please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone: 0845 600 5441. (Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.)

Membership

EFC is an auditioned choir; if you can read music, sing in tune and are prepared to learn new music at home, you are ready for an audition. Click here to read more about joining us and for more information about membership please contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Telephone: 01395 275399.

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Nigel Perrin’s musical career has progressed from chorister at Ely Cathedral, through choral scholar at King’s College Cambridge and original top voice of the King’s Singers, to becoming one of the UK’s leading choral directors.

Since being appointed Musical Director of Exeter Festival Chorus in 1999, Nigel has led the choir into numerous challenging and exciting ventures.  Under his leadership, EFC has premiered seven major contemporary choral works in the South West; there have been tours to Russia, Germany and France; the choir has recorded CDs, won competitions, and been invited to perform in many charity concerts.

Nigel works regularly as consultant to many other choral groups around the country.  His choral workshops always attract large numbers of singers from all over the UK and abroad.  His busy schedule includes directing five choirs, giving masterclasses, leading international summer schools, adjudicating and teaching voice at Wells Cathedral Specialist Music School.

He has worked with and conducted many of the UK’s prestigious orchestras, including the BSO, and the coming season includes concerts in Madrid and Israel and a baroque performance of Bach’s B minor Mass in Budapest.

Nigel Perrin's Website: http://www.nigelperrin.co.uk/