Herricks Middle School musicians learn from composer Bob Chilcott

(Photo Courtesy of Herricks Public Schools)

Herricks Middle School’s Chamber Choir performed at the historic Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City as part of a concert celebrating the music of British composer, Bob Chilcott On Sunday, Oct. 13.

Mr. Chilcott spent the weekend on Long Island, working with singers from Herricks Middle School, the Green Vale School, Queens College, the Cathedral of the Incarnation and St. John’s of Lattingtown, which sponsored the event. He worked with Chamber Choir at the middle school on the Friday before the concert, calling the Herricks singers, “simply incredible.”

Chris Brayne, director of music at St. John’s of Lattingtown Episcopal Church, which sponsored Mr. Chilcott’s visit to the United States, said about the student singers, “I was immensely impressed with them.”

James Ludwig, the director of Herricks Middle Chamber Choir, grew up singing as a chorister at the Cathedral of the Incarnation and has sung Mr. Chilcott’s music with many different choirs. “I feel honored and proud to have my students sing in concert with one of the world’s greatest living choral composers, in the building where I first learned to sing.”

Mr. Chilcott shared many stories with the students of his lifelong association with choral music, first as a chorister and choral scholar in the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, and then for 12 years as a member of the King’s Singers. He became a full-time composer in 1997 and has over 250 pieces of choral music published by Oxford University Press. He has written many pieces for children, including his much-loved song, Can you hear me? In 2013, he wrote The King shall rejoice for the service in Westminster Abbey to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

At the conclusion of Sunday’s concert, Herricks singers joined the choirs of the Green Vale School, the Cathedral of the Incarnation, and St. John’s of Lattingtown to perform the iconic British coronation anthem, I was glad, by C.H.H. Parry. This thrilling piece of music has been sung at coronations and weddings for the British royal family since it was composed in 1902.

“I will always remember the last song…It was fun singing with the adult choir,” said Daneen Gondal. Another singer, Michael Lau, reflected on the weekend of music, saying, “I learned about the composing life from a famous composer’s eyes.” Michael’s mother, Jenny Lin, said, “Over the course of two days, Bob Chilcott imbued the students with his passion for music. He opened their eyes to the nuances of each song and together with his kindness and a great sense of humor, made it an unforgettable experience for the students. This was truly an exceptional experience.”

Submitted by Herricks Public Schools

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