Leighton-Linslade choir wows New York audience with poignant Armistice Requiem

The Grand Union Community Choir in the Big Apple.  Visit: gucc.org.uk
The Grand Union Community Choir in the Big Apple. Visit: gucc.org.uk

A Leighton-Linslade community choir dazzled audience members in the Big Apple, as it had the honour of taking part in a poignant concert for the Armistice Centenary.

The Grand Union Community Choir gave the performance of a lifetime on Sunday, November 11, when 52 of its singers took to the stage in New York’s Carnegie Hall.

The performance poster

The performance poster

The group joined forces with vocalists from across the globe to create a 200-strong choir which sang conductor and composer Paul Mealor’s specially written piece ‘The Souls of the Righteous’, the performance being the Requiem’s debut in the USA.

Alan Connell, who was part of a team of 15 supporters that travelled with the Grand Union singers, said: “The choir were fantastic and absolutely blew the audience away with the power and quality of the performance.

“The significance of the 100th anniversary was suitably matched by the emotion of the music and its delivery.

“The choir performed like seasoned musicians, not the amateurs from a local choir that they truly are.

The poster outside the Carnegie Hall, New York.

The poster outside the Carnegie Hall, New York.

“The performance level was stunning and conductor, Paul Mealor, said- ‘you know you are working with quality musicians when you point out something in the delivery to be changed or improved and they immediately do it’.”

The Linslade-based group was invited to be part of the Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) choir by special invitation, and was the largest choir in the team of 200.

The singers, who were accompanied by one of their musical directors, Susan Cox, had been rehearsing since April and loved the chance to work with Paul, who rose to fame after writing music for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Alan added: “The concert was followed by a reception where the choirs mixed and celebrated with Paul and his lyricist, Grahame Davis. The renowned gentlemen stayed until the very end, and spoke with all attendees as friends.”

Musical director, Susan Cox, said: “It was a chance of a lifetime, an experience none of us will ever forget and made even more special by the fact that we sang in Carnegie Hall on November 11 itself.

“I am so proud of everyone who took part. Preparing for the concert involved a lot of extra practice but we were encouraged every step of the way by friends and family.”

Writing to the choir, Paul Mealor, said: “Well, what can I say about last night’s US premiere of my Requiem at Carnegie Hall, New York City?! WOOOOOWW! What a performance from the most amazing choir of people from all over the world.

“It was a truly electric performance. Never have I witnessed such a brilliantly sudden standing ovation from that huge crowd! The audience wanted us to sing it again! Well done to all of the wonderful singers and soloists, the brilliant choir directors who trained them all so perfectly, the magnificent orchestra and fabulous DCINY.”

The choir’s next concert ‘Brass and Voices’ is with the Heath Band on Dec 1 at Hockliffe Street Baptist Church.

Tickets are available via the band, choir or Dillamore’s Furnishings, High Street.