Chester Music Society

Chester Music Society Choir spring concert

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One of Cheshire’s top choirs are preparing to stage a special Spring concert in the historic surroundings Chester Cathedral, following on from the success of their recent performance which featured the music of Brahms.

Contemplation is the theme for the upcoming concert which is being staged by Chester Music Society Choir at the Cathedral on Saturday 20 May at 7.30pm. Entitled ‘Contemplation for a Spring Evening’, the concert will comprise two well-known and popular Requiems: the first by Gabriel Fauré and the second by John Rutter. 

Fauré’s Requiem has been performed to great acclaim on many occasions and includes the celebrated soprano solo of ‘Pie Jesu’. Celebrated composer John Rutter is best known for his inimitable settings of Christmas carols, but his Requiem continues his signature themes of tuneful melodies and warm harmonies. This Requiem also includes a setting of the ‘Pie Jesu’, both solos will be performed by soprano Olivia Hunt.

The concert will be rounded off with a short piece by Gabriel Fauré – ‘Élégie’, performed by cello soloist Cathie Bunting. All three works will be accompanied by The Elysian Chamber Ensemble comprising seven instrumentalists, including the cathedral organ.

Joining Olivia Hunt will be Baritone Damian O’Keeffe who has sung with the choir on many occasions, most recently in the performance of the Brahms Requiem in March. Damian began his musical career as a Choral Scholar at St John’s College Cambridge under Dr George Guest. He has sung with a range of Early Music ensembles including the Cardinall’s Musick, King’s Consort, Binchois Consort and Henry’s Eight, singing in venues across Europe and America including, Lufthansa Festival, Spitalfields Festival, The Purcell Room, BBC Proms, Cadogan Hall and the Bath Festival, Princeton and Columbia Universities, Rutgers, Amsterdam, Turin, and Milan. While working with the Cardinall’s Musick, he recorded the discography of William Byrd (The Byrd Edition), as well as recordings of Cornysh and Dunstable. As a member of The King’s Consort, he has been involved in several recordings including Lo Sposalizio and Let the Bright Seraphim. With Henry’s Eight he recorded Gombert and Lassus and appeared in live Radio 3 broadcasts at Cadogan Hall and the Bath Festival. He has recently appeared with Alamire at the York Early Music Festival performing Tallis Songs of Reformation.

Olivia Hunt began her singing career as head chorister in the choir at Chester Cathedral and is now making a name for herself as a soloist with a growing reputation throughout the UK. As a member of the Cathedral Choir, she took part in numerous television and radio broadcasts, both as a soloist (notably the televised Christmas Day Eucharist from the Cathedral in 2009) and as part of the choir. In 2009, Olivia was a finalist at BBC Radio 2’s Young Chorister of the Year competition, singing at St. Paul’s Cathedral. In 2013 she made her solo debut in the North Wales International Music Festival, returning in 2015 to sing the soprano solos in the Mozart Requiem and 2016 to sing a variety of works on the Festival’s opening night. She opened the 2017 Conwy Festival, took the part of Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, sang the soprano solo parts in Haydn’s Nelson Mass and Handel’s Messiah, and gave a solo recital in the 2018 Beaumaris Festival. She has also performed solo recitals in Truro and Bristol Cathedrals.

Speaking about the concert, Choir Music Director Graham Jordan Ellis said “The word Requiem tends to conjure up images of death and funerals. This could not be further from the truth for these two works which we are performing. Both represent the restful and peaceful aspects of life on this earth – ‘Contemplation’ expresses the mood exactly.”

Tickets, priced from £10 to £25, are available in person from the Chester Cathedral Box office or online via the CMS website: at

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