Shrewsbury’s Phoenix Singers' next concert 'In Paradisum' at St Chad's on November 18th will mark the start of the first full season under their new conductor David Thomas.
Gabriel Fauré's beautiful and timeless masterpiece, his Requiem, will be the main item in a concert of reflective music. Four motets by his compatriot Francis Poulenc will be contrasted with some 20th and 21st century works by British and American composers, including popular works by Morten Lauridsen and Eric Whitacre.
The Pie Jesu from the Faure Requiem will be sung by 15-year old Shrewsbury student Eva Jones. The youngest member of Phoenix Singers, Eva is in her final year at Belvidere Secondary School. Eva has previously sung in the Shropshire Girls Choir and the National Children’s Choir of Great Britain. Her singing teacher Sarah Lee, who also sings with The Phoenix Singers, says Eva's voice is perfectly suited to the beautiful simplicity of this famous piece.
David Thomas became Musical Director of The Phoenix Singers in January 2023, taking over from Richard Walker who retired after ten years leading the choir. David began his musical training as a chorister at Magdalen College, Oxford, and at the age of 13 began organ lessons, going on to become Organ Scholar of The Queen’s College, Oxford.
He is an experienced conductor, organist and singer, and has performed on radio and television, as well as having had a full-on teaching career at a number of prestigious schools across the country. He moved to Shropshire in 2021 on his wife’s appointment as a Housemistress at Shrewsbury School, where he also serves as Chapel Organist.
He said: "It is always a delight to perform Fauré's Requiem and it is a joy to sing and there are lots of good reasons for its popularity: the sense of serenity which pervades the whole work, the gorgeous romantic harmonies, and the wonderfully lyrical melodies. It is impossible to have a favourite movement but I think that the Pie Jesu and the Libera me are most people's highlights.”
The Phoenix Singers' first concert under David’s baton included the great Miserere by Allegri and was extremely well received, upholding the choir's reputation as one of the pre-eminent musical organisations in Shropshire.
Following this highly successful concert, a number of new singers have passed the exacting audition to become members of this highly regarded local choir as it embarks on the next chapter of its story.
“In Paradisum” is at St Chad’s Church, Shrewsbury on November 18th at 7.30pm. Tickets are £15 (free for under 18s) and can be purchased online here.
For further information about Phoenix Singers visit www.phoenixsingersshrewsbury.co.uk.