Choral Spice 06 at the Hackney Empire

The Hackney Singers

The Centre for Young Musicians,


The Wing-it Singers


Choral Spice

at the

Hackney Empire

Tues 11th July 2006

Press Release


The Choral Spice concert, 11 July 2006 7.30 pm at the Hackney Empire, was part of the fortnight long Spice Festival. Hackney’s own 100 strong community choir was joined by the Centre for Young Musicians Hackney and the Wing-it Singers world music choir for an exciting and varied evening of classical, folk, popular and world music.

Hackney Singers were conducted by associate director Dan Ludford-Thomas:

“There was a huge contrast in styles: the lovely Elgar anthem gave a feeling of space; Singing in the Rain was a fun piece, a tonic for the audience, and the Cherubini Requiem met the challenge of singing accompanied only by the piano. Hackney Singers gave a well paced performance, they kept it together, and they got over a real sense of drama. The whole evening was lovely, with a marvellous camaraderie behind the scenes and a warm feeling which I think came over to the audience.”

Ben Saul, who accompanied the choir, said:

“Hackney Singers gave an enthusiastic and committed performance of the Requiem, and delivered an atmospheric performance of Elgar’s finest piece of choral work. The evening was aptly called choral spice, as it was a marvellously varied showcase of local community music.”

The Wing-It Singers performed songs from around the world, with particular emphasis on music from the Balkans. The 30 members sing partly a cappella and partly accompanied by accordion and violin duo, Bow and Bellows.

Sally Davies, director of the Wing-It Singers:

“I was delighted to do Choral Spice, and this time we featured some of our gutsier numbers with accordion and fiddle accompaniment, as well as some softer heartrending ballads, sung in lots of different languages including Bulgarian, Bosnian, Polish, Georgian, Serbian, and featuring a strong use of the voice often with close and dissonant harmony.”

The Centre for Young Musicians Hackney, the Saturday music school for young people run by the Hackney Music Development Trust, performed some traditional music for choir and orchestra, the well-known Mancini song Moon River, and some more unusual Lutoslawski pieces.

Simon Foxley, conductor, was very pleased at how well the young musicians performed.

“I like to do modern music as well as conventional music, to broaden their repertoire and keep things exciting. Over the last decade or so the group has done over a hundred world premiers. Although some of the contemporary music is quite difficult for young musicians we try to make it accessible.”

Adam Eisenberg, Director of Hackney Music Development Trust:

“This is a fabulous opportunity for students at CYM Hackney to work with other local groups. I’m sure students learnt a great deal from this experience.”

Audience member Adam Griffiths said:

“It was a wonderfully varied programme, full of surprises – especially the young people’s orchestra and Hackney Singers doing Singing in the Rain.”