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Ben Cunningham talks about his excitement at joining the Festival Chorus

Newbury Spring Festival Q&A

Trish Lee

Trish Lee


01635 886663

Ben Cunningham talks about his excitement at joining the Festival Chorus

Ben Cunningham

So, you’re looking forward to working with the Festival Chorus?

Yes, I am very excited and can’t wait. Although I have worked with choirs before, this will be my first large chamber choir.
While I am used to intense rehearsal schedules, it will be interesting to work on a large-scale piece over a longer time because you can achieve so much more.

What will your approach be?

I want to continue working towards making the music come off the page, make it alive.
This year I will be involved in the auditions for any new members, but over the next few years I would like to re-audition everybody so that I can get a view on the mix of voices that are in the choir.

The Mozart Mass is one of the greatest choral pieces ever written, what challenges do you anticipate?

The Mass has some tricky corners and is complicated musically. But two of the main challenges will be getting it right stylistically and getting the chorus to project their sound over modern instruments.

You are also appearing at the festival in another role, as music director of Sansara, who sing at St Martin’s Church, East Woodhay

Yes, I am very much looking forward to bringing Sansara (above) to the festival.
They are a group I put together with two friends from school, consisting of 16 professional musicians who sing a cappella.
We have been going for four years and since winning the 2015 London International A Cappella Choir Competition we are being asked to perform all over the UK and Europe.
For the festival we will perform a programme of English music which will reflect on the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

Are you the only one who conducts the group?

No, there is no single conductor. Instead there are several who conduct – all of whom sing in the group.
They will direct the choir according to their particular musical taste.
We feel this makes the choir versatile and gives it a greater sense of collaboration.

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