Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Chorus of Disapproval

At a time when the BBC needs friends, the new management at Radio 3 seem to have hacked off a good number of licence-fee payers who sing for nowt in BBC Symphony Chorus.

There's 215 of them, though they don't all do every concert. Nevertheless there are rehearsals twice a week, and you have to show for a high percentage if you want to get on stage. Unlike many other big choirs, there's no membership fee, and music and folders are provided free of charge. Chorus members provide their own concert dress and pay for travel to rehearsals and concerts in London. Travel, accommodation and subsistence are provided for concerts and tours outside London.

Stephen Jackson has been their extremely popular Chorus Director since 1989, and has been told that his contract is not being renewed. The news came to the (volunteer) Committee without warning; Stephen's last rehearsal was on November 30th - a BBC group email arrived the same day. There's no word on a successor, though Classical Music says Tom Seligman, who's worked with the group before as Assistant Chorus Master on occasion, is in place as an interim measure.

The Chorus are on stage at the Barbican on Thursday night, joining the BBC Symphony Orchestra for a performance of Tippett's "A Child Of Our Time", conducted by Edward Gardner. Spookily, though it starts at 7.30, there's no live relay on Radio 3. Instead Alan "Wavey" Davey's team offer a performance by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. How long before it's safe to put the Chorus in front of a live mike, one wonders ?

1 comment:

  1. Maybe the deferred transmission of this concert (and the next BBCSC outing) are an indication that the management expect the BBCSC to behave in as unprofessional a manner as they themselves. After that, who knows? Management platitudes - same story there as ever - do little to convince that any sort of forward planning is going on.


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