Choral performance to be held in memory of deacon

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A SPECIAL performance of one of the most beautiful works in the choral repertoire will take place next week in memory of the late Deacon Iain MacFirbhisigh, who died a year ago.

Jersey’s leading youth choir, The Musical Originals Singers, is to perform Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater at St Thomas’ Church on Friday evening with members of the King’s Chamber Orchestra in a performance conducted by Michael Wynne, director of music at St Luke’s Church.

The choir’s conductor, Imogen Nicholls, and one of its former members, Georgia Mae Bishop – now a professional opera singer – are the soloists in the deeply personal musical meditation on dying and suffering completed in 1736 just days before the composer’s untimely death at the age of 26.

Ms Nicholls explained that the performance would have a special significance:

‘Before his death last year, Deacon Iain and I discussed many times the possibility of The Musical Originals Singers performing [it] at St Thomas’. Iain loved the piece and wanted to raise funds for the charity dearest to his heart, the Jersey Friends of the Holy Land.

‘The Musical Originals Singers have a busy schedule and St Thomas’ Church is always busy too, and, sadly, Iain passed away before we could organise the performance.

‘It’s good that we can now do it in his memory. We are grateful to a number of generous sponsors, all of whom knew and respected Iain, for making the occasion possible. I am grateful, too, to Cheryl MacFirbhisigh for her strong support,’ she said.

In spite of the great successes enjoyed by the choir in Jersey and internationally, the opportunity to perform a full-length work from the choral repertoire constitutes a new challenge which they are approaching with some originality, as Ms Nicholls explained: ‘A selection of choruses, solos and duets in just two parts run all the way through the oratorio; the solos become progressively more difficult. Some of our senior Musical Originals girls will be taking the early solos and the duets.

‘For the final arias, we are so looking forward to hearing Georgia, and I will join her in the final two duets.

‘For the first and last choruses we shall be joined by Beaulieu Chamber Choir and we are greatly looking forward to working with them.’

Members of the King’s Chamber Orchestra, founded by Gerard Le Feuvre, will accompany the choir in the Stabat Mater while the remainder of the programme will be filled with works for choir.

Following the performance there will be a congregational hymn and a retiring collection in support of the Jersey Friends of the Holy Land. The charity supports the work of their parent charity whose ecumenical mission is to secure a resilient and enduring community for Christians in the birthplace of Christianity.

Friday evening’s performance begins at 7pm.

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