2018 Spring Concert

Saturday 28th April 2018 7.30pm

The Spring Concert at St Helier Methodist Centre featured, amongst others, Jonathan Willcocks as the conductor

The programme can be downloaded here and here.

A video of the start of the Dvorak Mass, the Kyrie Elieson, can be downloaded here

A video of part of the Credo and the Sanctus can be downloaded here

'Overture from ‘The Magic Flute’

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

St. Cecilia Orchestra

Un aura amorosa (from ‘Cosi fan tutte’)

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Ben Smith

Tenor Soloist

St. Cecilia Orchestra

Alma grande e nobil core

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Rosanna Cooper

Alto Soloist

St. Cecilia Orchestra

In Praise of Singing

Jonathan Willcocks

Text: Henry Longfellow, Walt Whitman, The Psalms of David

Jersey Festival Choir

with Josephine Goddard, Soprano Soloist (who had been the Runner-up in the prestigious Kathleen Ferrier competition on the previous evening, Friday 27th April!), and Theo Platt, Baritone Soloist

St. Cecilia Orchestra

-----15 minute interval-----

Mass in D major

Antonin Dvorak

Jersey Festival Choir

Josephine Goddard

Rosanna Cooper

Ben Smith

Theo Platt

St. Cecilia Orchestra

The concert itself went very well with lots of positive comments.

A choir member said, “For me, it was a joy to sing …. alongside the orchestra and the soloists

A member of the audience commented “The programme was interesting and varied.

The soloists were very good and blended well with the choir where necessary.

The choir rose to the challenge of Willcocks' own piece which was an intriguing interpretation of the texts.

In the Dvorak the choir’s Latin pronunciation was ‘ spot on ‘ and tricky entries were negotiated well. There was sometimes some imbalance in volume between the parts, not helped by the choir being rather overwhelmed by the brass.
Their words could always be heard but only with real concentration , and  accompaniment just of strings , organ and maybe woodwind might have been preferable - though that was  obviously not what Dvorak intended!


Philip Le Brocq, our President, acclaims the soloists alongside the conductor Jonathan Willcocks and our Musical Director William Millow

Gifts were presented to people who had played a notable part in the organisation of the concert. Here, our former Musical Director, Sue De Gruchy receives a bunch of flowers for helping to organise the orchestra (amongst other things)

Review: Jersey Festival Choir Concert, Saturday 28th April 2018 


In Jersey we are spoilt for creative and cultural activities on a Saturday Night, but those who chose to attend the annual Jersey Festival Choir concert at the St Helier Methodist Church on Saturday 28thApril would have been in for a real musical delight and surprise!  Dvorak is well-known for his New World Symphony, but all of us who attended this performance of his Mass in D Major would have been filled with a New World of choral and musical enjoyment.


With the Jersey Festival Choir, conducted by the exceptionally dynamic composer and conductor Jonathan Willcocks and accompanied by the St Cecilia Orchestra, the evening was varied, invigorating and musically very enjoyable. 

The free programme was beautifully produced and satisfyingly informative. With an Hors d’Oeuvres of Mozart to whet our appetites, we revelled in the ever-familiar, but always delighting, Overture to the Magic Flute. The middle course consisted of arias from two of four exceptionally talented young musicians, one of whom , the Soprano Josephine Goddard, had been awarded   second prize in the  prestigious Kathleen  Ferrier competition in London the previous night. She fully justified her early flight across the Channel!


They set the scene for a really uplifting and challenging choral work composed by our conductor, appropriately called “In Praise of Singing!” This work, commissioned in 2014 for the Really Big Chorus, comprises three settings of poems by Walt Whitman, Longfellow and selected Psalms. The harmonies are certainly challenging for the choir and very unfamiliar to the audience, but ranging from gently soothing to ferociously celebratory. Especially delicious were some haunting oboe and cello solos, with the solo singers weaving enticingly in and out of the chorus.  The careful preparation by William Millow the resident conductor of the Choir, had enabled its members to come to a growing understanding and enjoyment of a difficult piece The Main Course of the evening was the Dvorak, delivered with passion and persuasion under the baton of Jonathan Willcocks. It was probably unknown to many of the audience but its combination of the familiar Latin text of the Mass, and blasts of romantic soul-stirring music at its most satisfying, made it a sure success. The Sopranos soared; the Contraltos caressed; the Tenors touched the height of their range with ease and the Basses were a solid supportive presence when needed. What a joy to hear such globally brilliant music in our tiny Island of Jersey! 

An anonymous reviewer.