Our conductor for 2020, Ben Parry (pictured above), has sent the following notes on his chosen repertoire.

The Cambridge Connection

Thank you for inviting me to the 2020 Teapot Valley Summer School. It was such fun to work with you all a couple of years ago, and any excuse to visit New Zealand – and escape the UK winter – is very warmly received! For 2020 we’ll be exploring four extended works by composers who all have connections to Cambridge University.

Christopher Artley – Missa Brevis

It’s always a pleasure to include some work by our friend and fellow musician Christopher Artley, who was a student at Cambridge University. This year we’ll be singing his “magnum opus”, a setting of the Mass, in a new arrangement for choir, piano, organ and solo violin.

Christopher’s music is immediately accessible and tuneful, and we will have fun working on a full Mass setting.

David Willcocks – Ceremony of Psalms

In 2019 we celebrate the centenary of perhaps the UK’s most famous choral director of the 20th century and a regular visitor to Teapot, the incomparable Sir David Willcocks, who was Director of Music at King’s College Cambridge in the 1960’s and 70’s.

His Ceremony of Psalms is a five-movement work for solo baritone, choir and accompaniment which he wrote for a Wisconsin-based choir in 1989.

It demonstrates Sir David’s deep love and respect for the psalm texts, and his musical settings paint vivid pictures of joy and sorrow, thanksgiving and despair, penitence and faith, hope and love.

Ben Parry – Land Ho!

Last time I visited Teapot we performed my piece Seven goodly reasons to Sing and I hope you don’t mind exploring some more of my work!

Instead of folk songs, I’ve decided to offer you a brand new piece which I wrote this summer for the National Youth Boys Choir – Land Ho! It’s a setting of a selection of quotes from explorers across the centuries, including Captain Cook, Christopher Columbus, Amelia Earhart and Freya Stark.

The quotes weave together some inspirational and thought-provoking comments which reflect humanity’s quest for discovery and endeavour.

If you were looking forward to singing some British folk songs, don’t worry – I’ll be bringing a few with me!           

And for those who want to hear the music before January, click here for a demo.

John Rutter – Feel the Spirit

In celebration of this 75th birthday in 2020, we’ll perform John Rutter’s excellent medley of seven popular Spirituals, expertly arranged in 2001.

John is known to every choral singer in the world, and is the master at writing for voices. He was Director of Music at Clare College back in the late 1970’s before becoming a full-time composer. Feel the Spirit is wonderfully uplifting and infectious, with some equally poignant moments, and a joy to perform. It includes many well-known songs such as Joshua Fit the Battle, Steal Away and When the Saints Go Marching In.