Leading Up To The Da Vinci Requiem – Part II

As we draw nearer to the world premiere of Cecilia McDowall’s Da Vinci Requiem at London’s Royal Festival Hall on 7th May, Gail Moss shares an exclusive series of blogs following the Wimbledon Choral Society’s journey from January 2019 to now. Yesterday we featured Part I which covered the Wimbledon Choral Society’s first rehearsal for the show in January, and the first time that they received the music. Today we continue with Part II.


Week by week, we go through each section, phrase by phrase. It’s not just about learning the notes, Neil also coaxes us into better diction – clearly articulating the consonants and making our vowels sound bright – and making sure we come in on time. We may be an amateur choir, but we have professional standards!

We try to rehearse at home too. And that is where choral singing has embraced the 21st century. Normally, we’re encouraged to listen – by CDs or downloads for iPods — to the work we are performing so we can learn it by osmosis. But the Da Vinci Requiem is brand new which means there are no recordings. So our accompanist Michael has helpfully created audio files of each voice part for the entire piece, available on our website. However, choirs who perform this work in future will have a definitive guide to singing it, because (drum roll)…we commissioned it, so we get first dibs on a recording.

At one of our rehearsals, Sarah, our chair, tells us we’ve already signed up the soloists and the recording studio, so all we need now is to raise the money – a cool £50,000. It’s a big ask, but we are planning a crowdfunding campaign, with a year in which to raise the money, and a recording date fixed for 2020.

Written by Gail Moss (Alto)

With lots of exciting things coming up for the Wimbledon Choral Society, we can hardly wait to watch everything unfold and will continue to support them on their journey. Don’t forget to visit the Da Vinci Requiem event page for tickets to the big show on the 7th May; And stay tuned to the Wimblecomm blog for the final part of our Leading Up To The Da Vinci Requiem blog series coming out tomorrow!

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