Wed | Jun 3, 2020

Campion Chapel Choir celebrates Mozart’s Coronation Mass

Published:Friday | December 14, 2018 | 12:00 AMMarcia Rowe/Gleaner Writer
Tenor soloist Carl Bliss
June Thompson-Lawson
The Campion College Chapel Choir

Wolfgang Mozart composed one of his most popular musical pieces, Ordinary of the Mass, in 1779. But as early as the 19th century, it was widely referred to as Coronation Mass, "after becoming the preferred music for royal and imperial coronations".

Campion College Chapel Choir 2018 concert was indeed a 'coronation' of sorts. In 2014, their inaugural performance was witnessed by a very small audience. Four years later, the turnout at the Sts Peter and Paul Catholic Church was worthy to be celebrated. Aptly, the Old Hope Road-based institution titled the 2018 show Mozart's 'Coronation Mass'.

Some items later they performed four of the six movements from the piece: Kyrie, Gloria, Credo and Agnus Dei. They were supported by professional soloists June Thompson-Lawson, Dawn Fuller Phillips, Carl Bliss and Michael Sutherland, as well as accompanists Ann Trouth and Audley Davidson, to deliver a successful Coronation Mass in C major.

However, the choristers began their programme with a prayerful tone with Charles H. Parry's Dear Lord and Father, and they followed up with Ave Verdum Corpus, also composed by Mozart.

The reflective musical style continued with the four guest soloists performing individually. All sang well. But it was Bliss' rendition that brought the congregation to life.

The celebration continued in two parts, but this time it was in celebration of the birth of Jesus.

In the first segment, the host got the musical feast going. Among their selections were Once in Royal David's City, Away in a Manger, and the relatively unknown In The Bleak Midwinter.

When the experienced soloists took over the stage, it was Bliss again who sang his way into the hearts of the congregation with Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Not to be outdone, Sutherland found much favour with his rendition of a Chinese Christmas carol - The Saviour's Birth. And to conclude the delightful evening of classical music, the choir and their guests returned to sing Carol of the Bells, Jingle Bells and Joy to the World.

The Gleaner caught up with member of the choir and conductor Randall Campbell. Campbell, whose favourite composer is Mozart, formed the choir four years ago, explaining that most of the members are students in his French class. He believed that Chapel Choir is "an art form that requires discipline".

"You cannot attend rehearsal just when you feel like." He is, however, "grateful for the ones who come and the ones who actually stick it out".

One such member is Osereme Ehikhametalor, who started as a pianist before becoming a bass singer. He is at present in 'gap year', and plans to continue with the choir if he remains in Jamaica. For him, being a member of the choir has reawakened his love for classical music.