The St Paul Choral Society Newsletter
View this email in your browser

The St Paul Choral Society Newsletter

October 2016

Music is in the air as the Autumn /Winter season for the St Paul Choral Society gets under way.  The choir only had a very short summer break in August after which preparations continued in earnest for the many events coming up starting from mid-October (see Forthcoming Events).  Of course, this year is the year of the choir’s biennial ‘big’ concert which has been an established practice since the choir’s inception in 1998;  this year, as we have already announced, the Mozart Requiem and other sacred works will be performed at St John’s Co-Cathedral in November.  Fourteen of the SPCS choristers were in Vienna in July where they performed this celebrated, universally-loved piece together with some 170 international choristers under the baton of the Vienna Boys’ Choir Music Director, Gerald Wirth.  But the SPCS choral season starts off before that, with a sung Mass at Mdina Cathedral in mid-October to celebrate the 1050th Anniversary of the Baptism of Poland. Shortly after the November concert, the long-awaited celebration of the Consecration of the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy will take place, another event where the choir will participate.  And this brings us hard on the heels of the Christmas season which will see, not only the two traditional carol services of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, but also participation in the Christmas Concert at St Mark’s Church, Rabat and the Christmas Choral Festival at Ta’ Giezu Church, also in Rabat.  However, the choristers’ voices are not the only musical sounds reverberating in the air as we see in an enlightening article on the wonderful project at Kew Gardens where bees have been recorded and  accompanied with  music as they hum in the pitch of C!

On another note, the SPCS Committee welcomed a new member on its team:  Anne-Marie Agius, who sings in the soprano section as well as being a soloist in the choir, joined the committee this summer.

We hope to see our patrons at all our concerts in the very near future.

Anna Stivala


Forthcoming Events
Mozart Requiem in Vienna - Margot Cunningham
Mozart 250: Classical Opera’s 27-year celebration
Andrea Gabrieli - Italian composer and organist of the late Renaissance
1050th Anniversary 
of Poland's Baptism
The new SPCS website

Meet the chorister:  Esme Channer 
Bees hum in the key of C - feel the buzz
Birthday Greetings
Forthcoming Events

Saturday 22nd October, 11.00am
Sung Mass at Mdina Cathedral (celebration of the 1050th Anniversary of the Baptism of Poland)

Friday 11th November, 7.30pm
Mozart Requiem and other sacred works - Concert at St John’s Co-Cathedral

Saturday 19th November, 6.00pm
Consecration of the Divine Mercy Sanctuary

Wednesday 7th December, pm
Christmas Concert (St Mark’s Church, Rabat)

Saturday 10th December, pm
Participation in Christmas Choral Festival (Ta’ Giezu Church, Rabat)

Sunday 18th December, 6.30pm
Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols (St Paul’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral)

Monday 19th December, 6.30pm
Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols (Holy Trinity Church, Sliema)

Mozart Requiem in Vienna
Margot Cunningham

 (The group of choristers from the SPCS after the concert with Music Director Gerald Wirth)

Vienna! City of Dreams! Or so it was for the fourteen of us from St Paul Choral Society who went to sing the Mozart Requiem in St Stefan's Cathedral. We went as part of the Sing Mit music festival which Kunst und Kultur Ohne Grenzen (Art and culture without borders) arranges every year. For the past two years, I've gone alone and been the sole Maltese/Scottish representative. In 2014 it was the Mozart "Spatzenmesse" plus Ramirez' Misa Criolla.

In 2015 we sang Haydn's "Creation" in English. I have raved about it since the first time and I must admit to being a bit nervous when so many of us went this year - what if nobody felt the same way I did and they all hated it? However, not to worry - from the first workshop on the Thursday afternoon with the lovely Gerald Wirth (his day job is Musical Director of the Vienna Boys' Choir) till the final concert on the Saturday night, everybody was completely hooked!

It's exciting and a wonderful experience to sing such a monumentally important work in such a historic setting and even I felt quite emotional at the end.
Roll on next year! We have two choices in 2017 - on July 8th it is Schubert's E Flat Major Mass, and on July 15th it is Handel's Messiah. I personally favour the Schubert, especially since we would be singing it in the composer's home town. But whichever work we choose to take part in, believe me it will be the most uplifting experience!
Mozart 250: Classical Opera’s 27-year celebration
This project will track the composer’s life and works year by year from age eight, when he wrote his first symphony

By any standards, it is an extraordinarily long and ambitious arts project. “A few people have pointed out that I might be dead before we finish,” said conductor Ian Page, contemplating the 27-year exploration of Mozart’s life and work that he is planning.

Conductor Ian Page and his company, Classical Opera, have embarked on the Mozart 250 project, marking the anniversary of the composer’s visit to London during which, aged eight, he wrote his first symphony. The idea is to follow Mozart’s life and work year by year until his death in 1791, to be marked in 2041.

Over the years, all of Mozart’s major works will be performed by the company: they will be performed 250 years after their composition or premiere.  Page hopes the project will allow people to see Mozart’s highs and lows: when he was doing well and when he was struggling, when he was working on dance music to make money, rather than on the operas he really wanted to write.

Events in 2015 saw the project exploring a chapter of Mozart’s life that few people know.  Mozart’s proud and possibly overbearing father brought his to London to show him off… Mozart Sr became ill and Mozart couldn’t play his ‘noisy instruments’ so he composed music instead.  Mozart’s Symphony No 1 was one of the highlights of 2015, a piece of music that would be remarkable for anyone but is dumbfounding for an eight-year-old.

Ian Page hopes Mozart 250 will lead people to a lifelong pleasure and interest in composer’s life,
works and contemporaries. 

Taken from an article by Mark Brown, arts correspondent, The Guardian

Andrea Gabrieli (1532/1533 - 1585)

Italian composer and organist of the late Renaissance, the first internationally renowned member of the Venetian School of composers influential in spreading the Venetian style in Italy as well as in Germany

A native of Venice, Gabrieli went to Germany in 1562, and met and became friends with Orlande de Lassus, one of the most wide-ranging and influential composers of the entire Renaissance. Their musical relationship proved immensely fruitful for both composers: while Lassus learned from the Venetian, Gabrieli took back to Venice numerous ideas he learned while visiting Lassus.

In 1566 Gabrieli was chosen for the post of organist at St. Mark's, one of the most prestigious musical posts in northern Italy; he retained this position for the rest of his life.He acquired, and maintained, a reputation as one of the finest current composers. Working in the unique acoustical space of St. Mark's, he was able to develop his unique, grand ceremonial style, which was enormously influential in the development of the polychoral style and the concertato idiom, which partially defined the beginning of the Baroque era in music.

Late in his 
career he became famous as a teacher. Prominent among his students were his nephew Giovanni Gabrieli; the music theorist Lodovico Zacconi;Hans Leo Hassler, who carried the concertato style to Germany; and many others.


1050th Anniversary of Poland's Baptism

Beginning from March 2016, many religious, cultural and social projects have been organised in connection with this anniversary across Poland. For the participants of the celebrations, there will be conferences and exhibitions devoted to the beginnings of the Polish state.  The national cerebrations will continue until November 2016.

The date 14 April, 966, the day the first, historic ruler of Poland, Mieszko I, was baptised, marks the beginning of Polish statehood. By embracing Christianity, Mieszko I became equal with other European rulers. As a result of the process of Christianisation, the clergy began arriving in Poland to build a cradle of Christian culture. Mieszko I was baptised through the mediation of Bohemia, which was christian at the time and from where his wife Princess Dobrava came.

The Polish Community in Malta will be celebrating this anniversary at The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Paul, Mdina with the celebration of a Mass during which, at the invitation came from the Polish embassy, the SPCS will be singing, among other pieces, the Andrea Gabrieli Missa Brevis. The chief celebrant will be the Archbishop of Malta, Mons. C. J, Scicluna, and the President of Malta will be in attendance, together with the Polish Ambassador to Malta.
The New SPCS Website

The St Paul Choral Society officially launched its new website on 1st October.  Please visit it at the address  The website was designed and built by George Gauci and its content will be managed by Anne-Marie Agius.  Anne-Marie, who is a dentist by profession, sings in the soprano section of the choir as well as being a soprano soloist.  She was recently co-opted to the SPCS Committee.

Bees hum in the key of C – Feel the buzz in the album recorded by 40,000 bees


If you visited the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, you could have reconnected with nature this summer as you experienced the world of the British bee, which insects are responsible for 30% of the food we eat, yet threatened by pesticides and a lack of biodiversity,  come alive within Wolfgang Buttress’ award-winning installation, The Hive. Conceived as the centrepiece of the UK Pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo and designed in collaboration with BDP and Simmonds Studio, The Hive is the first ever British Pavilion to be reused and brought back home, and was unveiled within the stunning landscape of Kew Gardens last June.

Towering 17 metres high and twisting out of the ground in a shape suggestive of a swarm of bees this magnificent, ever changing space stands as a visual symbol of the pollinators’ role in feeding humanity and the challenges facing bees today. Illuminating talks, tours, activities and films fill the Gardens, showing visitors how they too can make a difference.

Visitors are drawn into The Hive via a lush and vibrant wild flower meadow as though they are bees returning to the hive. Once inside, thousands of flickering LED lights bring this 40,000 kg lattice structure to life, while an orchestral arrangement sets the mood. After discovering that bees hum in the key of C, a beautiful, complementary symphony of vocals and cello was composed and recorded (and released as an album), to create a calming, meditative soundscape within The Hive, inspired by the deep visceral hum of bees. Triggered by real-time activity within a living beehive located nearby in the Gardens, the sound and light intensity within the space change as the energy levels in the real hive fluctuate, giving visitors an experiential insight into the life of a bee colony.

The story of pollination continues to come alive for visitors throughout Kew, from enjoying the seasonal array of sumptuous fruit and vegetables in Kew’s Kitchen Garden, to basking in the British summer on a Pollination Trail across the Gardens, revealing how Kew is exploring and nurturing the special relationship between bees and plants.

Listen and watch here:
Bees humming Be One
'Into' from the album 'One' by Be.
Film footage: Dr. Martin Bencsik, Sebastian Bencsik and Ethan Buttress
Edited by Stef Hrycyk at Spool Films.
Meet the Chorister - Esme Channer (Alto)

I was introduced to the Choir by Mike Calascione in January 2001, shortly after returning here to live. 

I have sung in school choirs from an early age. 
Unfortunately I never had the chance to sing Soprano as no one wanted to be an Alto.  I was just told," You are an Alto!"

I was married here in Malta. (Naval daughter).  Then followed a succession of homes in Germany, England, Scotland, Belgium, Singapore and Colombia as an Army wife. (Also 5 children)! In 
Germany we sang Mozart's Requiem and Patience (Gilbert and Sullivan). 
Otherwise it was mainly helping out in Church Choirs and sometimes having to play the keyboard as accompaniment. My last big choir was in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, where we lived for 10 years.  Shrewsbury Public School has a wonderful music department, with an amateur adult choir.  We sang a major work twice a  year accompanied by the School Orchestra.  The choir was 200 strong!  It was a great experience!  We were expected to learn our parts by ourselves. You really needed to be able to sight-read!  Choir Practice was just for putting it all together!

I have loved my time with this choir.  I have always found everyone very friendly and helpful. The concerts in St John's are very special, and I feel we are very privileged to be allowed to sing there.  The tours have been a wonderful experience and provide an excellent opportunity for everyone to get to know each other. Thank you St Paul's Choral Society!


Birthday Wishes

Chiara Felice (Alto) - 5-Oct 
Anna Murray Curtis (Soprano) - 15-Oct
Dora Salazar (Soprano) - 22 Oct
Ray Mangion (Tenor) - 24-Oct
Stephen Mangion (Bass) - 29-Nov
Stephanie Abela (Soprano) - 3-Dec
Emanuel Chetcuti (Tenor) - 8-Dec
Maria Brincat (Soprano) - 14-Dec
Esme Channer (Alto) - 17-Dec
Maria Agius Muscat (Alto) - 21-Dec
Lynne Fenech (Soprano) - 24-Dec
Gunilla Bernhus (Soprano) - 28-Dec

SPCS Committee 2015-2017


Chairman: Maurice Tabone
Music Director: Hugo Agius Muscat
Secretary: Cecilia Agius Muscat 
Treasurer: Stephen Mangion (Bass Section Leader)
Members: Anne-Marie Agius (Member), Joseph Farrugia (Tenor Section Leader), Josette Farrugia (Alto Section Leader), Anna Stivala (Soprano Section Leader)
For more information about the choir please go to and
If you are interested in joining the choir please write to
Copyright © 2016 SPCS, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp