Review - Spies Music Sing and Play Day, 20 January 2018

“Onwards and Upwards – Like a Spire”

On Saturday, January 20th, Earlsdon was the location for an event organised by Spires Music that celebrates and builds on the award of City of Culture to Coventry.  More than 90 singers and 30 instrumentalists came from the Midlands and as far afield as Malvern and Milton Keynes to sign up for the day and join in a Come and Play and Sing day held in King Henry VIII school.  

Workshops for both orchestra and singers ran from 10.00 am onwards where they studied Brahms’s German Requiem, finishing with a final free performance of the whole piece at 4.15 pm to an audience.

The day was voted a big success by both instrumentalists and singers. For some, this was the first time they had either played or sung the piece, but they were alongside others who were familiar with the music, so that support and direct help were always available. The workshops were led by two young musicians with a growing reputation.

Jack Lovell, who led the singers’ workshop, is already the Chorus Director for Spires Philharmonic, and his steady and engaging presence meant that the hard and demanding work on a complex score was willingly tackled.

Meanwhile the orchestra worked with Daniel Galbreath, who, with a completely new group of instrumentalists, ran a very purposeful rehearsal with a lot achieved in a short time. His players were very satisfied: one said ‘His musicianship was impressive and he knew how to draw out the best in us.’

The final event after just one’s day work was an effective performance conducted by Jack (with Daniel playing in the orchestra) of this much loved piece of music, a consolation for the living rather than a grieving for the dead.

The success of the day bodes well for the work that will continue for the next months in preparation for the concert to be held in Coventry Cathedral on April 7th, when Spires Chorus will be joined by 50 singers from the Frankfurt Lufthansa Konzertchor in a combined performance of the German Requiem. A fitting place for a performance that will help mark the centenary of the closing year of the Great War, and a demonstration of the bonds of peace and reconciliation that matter so much.