Dynamic new conductor for festival choir

Thomas Neal leading Portsmouth Festival Choir
Thomas Neal leading Portsmouth Festival Choir
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Portsmouth Festival Choir has just started rehearsing for their next concert under dynamic new conductor Thomas Neal.

They will be preparing Bach’s Mass in G Major and Handel’s Chandos Anthem, (O Praise the Lord with One Consent) to perform on June 10.

Mr Neal said: ‘I am thrilled to be performing such wonderful music with the Festival Choir this term.’

The concert will also feature Bach’s famous Brandenburg Concerto No3 and an organ concerto by Handel, with Mark Dancer as soloist.

The choir is delighted to have such a promising young conductor to lead it.

Mr Neal’s first concert with the singers featured Dvorak’s Mass in D Major and some rare Czech and Russian works which were well received by the audience in Portsmouth’s Anglican Cathedral earlier this month.

Mr Neal has planned an equally exciting autumn concert for Remembrance Day.

The choir will sing Mozart’s Requiem and the beautiful music Purcell wrote on the death of the much-loved Queen Mary in 1694.

In addition there will be the world première of Thomas’s own composition, a song cycle for tenor and piano, entitled Requiem, based on texts by the First World War poet and soldier, Ivor Gurney.

It is not Mr Neal’s first musical composition.

Last Christmas Radio 3 challenged amateur composers to create music for a modern version of a medieval English poem, Alleluia!

Out of a huge list of entrants, Mr Neal was shortlisted for the final and his work was performed in a concert with the BBC Singers last December.

He said: ‘Following a year spent teaching music in France, I took up a position in the music department of the Portsmouth Grammar School. I was thrilled to be appointed music director of the Portsmouth Festival Choir and am looking forward to working with them on some amazing music.’

New singers are always welcome to join. They meet for rehearsal every Monday evening at 7.15pm in the Portsmouth Academy in St Mary’s Road, Fratton, and on Bank Holidays at Bedhampton Church.

Anyone interested in joining should call Hilary Munro on (023) 9247 0532 or just go along at 7pm,