St George’s Singers, one of the North West’s leading choirs, will be performing Will Todd’s Mass in Blue at the Royal Northern College of Music Sunday 8th November, with acclaimed jazz vocalist, Tina May and the RNCM’s very own Jazz Collective.
This is not the first time St George’s Singers has ‘crossed over’ from the traditional choral repertoire into the jazz idiom, demonstrating their extraordinary versatility. In 2006, they presented Duke Ellington’s Sacred Concert with Jacqui Dankworth and the Big Buzzard Boogie Band at Manchester Cathedral, a performance which the reviewer for the Ellington ‘Blue Light’ newsletter described as ‘simply stunning’.
Composed in 2003, Will Todd’s Mass in Blue sets the words of the standard Latin mass to driving jazz rhythms, brilliantly combining classical reverence, cool urban jazz and smoking blues. The work reflects Todd’s love of jazz music, as well as his extensive choral skills which he uses to startling effect, with strong choral writing weaving and blending against the solo and instrumental voices.
The soloist for the performance is renowned jazz vocalist, Tina May, whose astonishing vocal ability, three-octave dusky voice, and hypnotic stage presence have won her worldwide acclaim. Nominated for Best Vocalist at the BBC Jazz Awards, she is also winner of the Best Vocalist award and Critic’s Choice award at the BT British Jazz Awards. Her repertoire stretches from standards to contemporary song, from Kern, Ellington and Gershwin to Paul Simon and Chick Corea.
The line-up is completed by the RNCM’s Jazz Collective, which includes some of the most talented young jazz musicians in the country. In addition to the Mass, the concert also features a selection of jazz standards performed by soloist, band and choir.
Notes for Editors
1 St George’s Singers is recognised as one of the North West’s leading and most enterprising choirs and has established a reputation for innovative and ambitious performances of works by both classical and modern choral composers. The Singers put on at least four major concerts each year, plus special concerts, events and open singing days and tour regularly in the UK and overseas.
2 Neil Taylor, Master of the Music at Sheffield Cathedral, was appointed Musical Director of St George’s Singers in September 2006. Neil won a Scholarship to the Royal College of Music, was organ scholar at St Albans Cathedral, Assistant Organist at Norwich Cathedral, then Organist and Master of the Music at Sheffield Cathedral, where he is responsible for the Cathedral Choirs of boys, girls and men. He has toured extensively with the Cathedral Choir, and his CD Recordings include Music for a Millennium, a Classic FM Magazine CD of the Year Award Winner, and seven CD recordings with the Cathedral Choir. Neil has directed and assisted choral courses as far afield as Aldeburgh, Mexico City, and the Eton Choral Courses.
3 Stockport-born broadcaster and media personality Dame Joan Bakewell, Chairperson of the National Campaign for the Arts, is the Choir’s President.