FAREWELL TO ALBION

We are sorry to announce disappointing, upsetting news. After 4 ½ years of ambitious, adventurous music-making, Albion is coming to an end. It’s been tremendously hard to contemplate this as a way forward, and equally so to decide on it.  

In our journey of adventure, taking us through caves, real ales, festivals, bicycles, and much else, we have tried to innovate, imagine, and dream. But we find ourselves now in a position where we can’t realistically sustain that level of ambition – and so we really want to go out on a high.  

We would like to THANK all our friends and supporters, for everything that they have done to encourage and nourish us. We are fortunate to have made hundreds of friends since 2012. This decision has been so difficult partly because we know that our friends and supporters will feel as bereft as we are now.

But the music and the spirit of Albion will live on, through our shared memories and through whatever our singers might go on to do next (and, with the amount of spark and energy amongst them, you can be sure there will be things!).

There will be one final Albion performance, which will celebrate what we’ve achieved together.  This will be on SATURDAY 13 AUGUST at 7PM at HOLY TRINITY CHURCH in Millhouses, Sheffield. Tickets are now available from THIS PAGE. 

In the meantime, we would really love to hear from you if there’s any reaction or comments you want to share. If you would like to contact the whole choir you can email choir @ albionchoir.org.uk, and if you would like to email Fraser directly, it’s fraser @ albionchoir.org.uk.   (You have to remove the spaces from both these addresses.)

With warmest and deeply felt wishes - Fraser and Albion

Recording Albion - thanks

Our new record, In Cloudless Sunshine, is now with us - the product of many months' fun and hard work!

Those of you who attend our Christmas concerts this December will have the chance to get your hands on it first, before we launch it more widely in 2016.

We'd like to say a sincere thank-you to everyone who contributed to the Recording Albion Fund this autumn. Your generosity enabled us to create this record in the first place!

Bryan & Rose Besford, Carol & Ian Bowns, Ed Back, George & Helen Catchpole, Katie Gaine, The Revd. Atalie Gaines, Paul & Kathy Grant, Hazel Johnson, Jos & Alex, Nanna Lay, Merlyn Lowther, Barbara & David Mangles, Rebecca Phillips, Sean & Sue Roberts, Peggy Sleeman, Janet Smith, Steve & Ange Toye, Steve Terry, Wendy Throssell, James Timbrell, Jane Wilson, and a number of donors who preferred to remain anonymous

Our Classical Sheffield Festival concert

What a night!

Our programme was: 

Barkers Pool: Wishes; God be in my head

On the move: Jerusalem; Gaudete; Alleluia Psallite

In the church: The Lovesick Maiden; The Lord's my shepherd; Scarborough Fair; Oliver Cromwell; Vidi aquam; Linden Lea; Greensleeves; The drunken sailor; The blue bird; Auld Lang Syne; A Gaelic Blessing

(Goodness knows how we ever hoped to fit all that into half an hour)

We warmly invite you to support:

We warmly invite friends old and new, groups and individuals, to make a lasting contribution to Albion’s development by donating to the Recording Albion Fund, helping to support the production and distribution of future Albion recordings.

Excitingly, our second full-length album is in production! Yet to be titled, it will be released in late autumn 2015. Your support will help to make it a reality.

THESE ISLANDS was released early last year and travelled the world. Since then, many new and varied songs have entered Albion’s repertoire, and the new record is perfectly timed to capture the group’s maturing musical style and flourishing creativity.

It will bring together many of the group’s favourite songs of the first four years with some of the very special pieces which have been composed more recently, including in 2015.

Highlights will include The Salley GardensWhat shall we do with the drunken sailor?, and the stunning and memorable Invocation, the centrepiece of the record, inspired by the Quaker text Peace, love, tenderness and especially composed for our first performance of this year in Barlow.

As well as the satisfaction of helping to nurture and develop something of which we are all very proud, contributors to the Fund this autumn will receive a number of other exclusive benefits relating to the new record.

<<< Follow this link for full details of the Fund, and to make your donation. >>> (the link downloads a Word document to your computer)

To all Fund donors we say thank-you so much for your invaluable support!

27 June programmes

Here are our programmes from the weekend's lovely performances. 

 

ROTHERHAM CHAPEL ON THE BRIDGE

The Skye Boat Song

Early one morning

The Month of Maying

Wishes

My bonny boy

Oliver Cromwell

The Lord’s my shepherd

What shall we do with the drunken sailor?

The Miller of Dee

Alleluia Psallite

Jerusalem

 

CLAXBY

The Month of Maying

Jerusalem

The Skye Boat Song

Scarborough Fair

Wishes

Oliver Cromwell

The Salley Gardens

Linden Lea

Come live with me

The Deil’s Awa

What shall we do with the drunken sailor

The Lord’s my shepherd

Alleluia psallite

I heard the voice

My bonny boy

Invocation

A Gaelic Blessing

Greensleeves 

Programmes for our first tour

Here are the pieces we sang in our two tour concerts last weekend: 

NORTHAMPTON 23 MAY

New Jerusalem, The Skye Boat Song, Wishes, The Deil’s Awa, In the beginning, Bonny boy, Drunken sailor, Lord’s my shepherd, Danny Boy
interval
My love is like a red rose, The water is wide, Early one morning, Oliver Cromwell, Linden Lea, Come live with me, Scarborough Fair, I heard the voice, Jerusalem

ENGLISH MUSIC FESTIVAL 24 MAY

New Jerusalem, Scarborough Fair, The month of Maying, Wishes, Early one morning, In the beginning, Oliver Cromwell, The Lord’s my shepherd, The Miller of Dee, Danny Boy
interval
My love is like a red rose, The water is wide, The Skye Boat Song, Drunken sailor, My bonny boy, Loch Lomond, Linden Lea, I heard the voice, Greensleeves, A Gaelic Blessing, Jerusalem

Yet another Sheffield concert SOLD OUT

SOLD OUT. We're delighted AND very sorry to say that tomorrow's "Cakes and a Concert" is sold out. We look forward to sharing the afternoon with a couple of hundred lovely people, but will miss others who would have liked to come. 
Returned tickets on the day are very unlikely, I'm afraid.

Instead, why not go to Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus' lovely concert the same evening at the Cathedral? Details at www.sheffieldphil.org.

And do book SOON for ALBION AND ALES at the Buxton Fringe: details here. www.albionchoir.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&id=182

COMPANY

COMPANY is:

…the developing assembly of people who, inspired by the music and mindset of the choral group Albion and sharing its musical philosophy of openness and exploration, wish to spend some time on musical development and discovery, bringing their own diverse experiences and personalities to something that will be shaped by them and become of them…

This spring, they will spend time exploring ideas and techniques from Albion’s starting point, helping to clarify and develop them, over a series of 4 workshops. They then make their public debut in the special event CAKES AND A CONCERT on 2 May.  

Workshops begin on Saturday 7 March. A couple of spaces remain. CLICK HERE for course & booking details

And CLICK HERE to buy your concert tickets to see their debut!

 

Albion goes mobile...

We now have a mobile number, which you can text or ring to reserve concert tickets. 

It's 07751 760473. Make sure to include critical information like name, number & type of tickets needed, and date of performance... 

As 2015 begins...

... we look back on a memorable end to 2014 and ahead to some of the treats that 2015 promises.

Above all, 2014 felt like the year that Albion came of age. For the first time, we had a group of people who had all bought into the same idea, were heading in the same direction, and who liked and respected each other - and that really came across to the people we sang for. It was a great honour for us to sing at the start of the Yorkshire Festival - with 80 other singers from across the city - in Sheffield's first Choral Celebration - and we were privileged to perform on the first night of the first-ever Tideswell Arts Festival. We continued to build innovative audience participation into our programmes, and staged a Come and Sing in May with 20 devoted singers who joined us for a genre-defying workshop and concert. Of course back in March we launched These Islands, our first full-length album which has been a valuable calling-card for us since, and has enabled people to take a bit of us home. The Abbeydale Brewery launched Albion Ales in the autumn and we sang for a special launch event in the Devonshire Cat. In October, Albion Underground again stretched the boundaries of what we thought we could achieve, with a stunning choral installation a quarter of a mile into the hillside. And our Carols With Albion performances in December felt like a real watershed for the group, when everything came together and some magic was made, alongside our "home crowd" in Sheffield and a fabulously generous audience in Buxton. 

All of which leads to 2015, and a packed year that I think will take us further. Plans for the Spring are advanced. We will form a workshop-led spin-off choir, Company, that will give its first performance at Holy Trinity on 2 May in a teatime concert that will also feature cakes and Albion treats. In April, Albion visit Wirksworth and Barlow and will make a documentary. Before then, we will record some tracks for a very exciting purpose - to be revealed... And we'll make our first appearance on national radio as BBC Radio 3 highlight what we do. May sees us appearing at the English Music Festival in Oxfordshire, and in July we'll be at the Buxton Fringe Festival. Into the autumn and there will be more caves action, the Classical Sheffield Festival, and something big for Christmas. And we look forward to collaborating with more artists who share our love of communicating and innovating, and to sharing what we do with many more people far and wide. 

Rotherham programme and singers

On 25 October we gave a concert at the beautiful Whiston Parish Church, Rotherham, in aid of the church's heating and lighting funds. 

Singers: Chloe, Martha, Jenny, Caroline, Philippa, Becky, Matthew, Tom, Andy, Ben, Rob, Fraser

Programme: 
New Jerusalem
Scarborough Fair
Gaudete
Wishes 
The Miller of Dee
Oliver Cromwell
The Salley Gardens
The water is wide
The Skye Boat Song
Loch Lomond
Danny Boy
Jamie
In the beginning
God be in my head
Jesus Christ the apple tree
One star
A
lleluia Psallite
Red rose
G
reensleeves
Auld Lang Syne
The Lord’s my shepherd
Jerusalem

How Albion Ale became a real actual thing

In our two years so far, we’ve been fortunate to enjoy some really fulfilling creative partnerships with people with whom we feel a real sense of shared purpose and identity. Doing something we love and coming into contact with others who love what they do can lead to unexpected and startling outcomes. Our collaboration with street dancers and beatboxers, for instance, or our dalliance with live animals, or the stirring music we’ve shared with our friends the Tideswell Singers.

But our newest one has come completely out of the blue and, for all that it’s unexpected, it’s also very exciting and has been perfectly formed almost from the off.  I made a chance comment to my friends Sue and Pat, who own and run the Abbeydale Brewery – along the lines of “lots of our song titles would make excellent beer names”. I was thinking of Greensleeves, Green And Pleasant Land, and things like that.

Off they went to ruminate, and – though I couldn’t resist firing off a few more possible names that the Albion guys and I had come up with in the meantime – I thought nothing more of it until a short while ago when Sue rang to say that the first Albion Ale was about to be brewed…!!! It turns out that English hops sit really well with the idea of English songs and, as devoted and passionate music-lovers and very creative people themselves, a lightbulb had clicked for Sue and Pat.

And here's a little video explaining a bit more about it!

Sue has written really interestingly about the process in more detail on the Brewery’s blog – but suffice to say, last week we had an official choir tasting session after dark in the brewery, whereat This Sceptr’d Ale was pronounced fabulous by all and sundry.

Of their 18-year history in the city, Sue said “we’ve always felt that quality is important, and we’ve strived to ensure that our beers are of good quality” – and, as well as being well able to testify to the realising of that ambition, also feel an empathy with it. The notion of quality being something that you achieve when you put care into creating or nurturing it is a fascinating one, beautifully written about in one of my favourite books here. I get a true sense of that in Sue and Pat’s work, and am deeply gratified when people detect a nuance of the same trait in Albion’s activity.

This Sceptr’d Ale is now on sale in the Devonshire Cat and the Rising Sun, and will be a part of the Abbeydale range along with the other beers still to be added to the Albion Brit-Hop Ales series. And here’s a little video of Sue and me in intellectual discussion about how we came up with it all and quite how much I’m looking forward to sinking several hundred more pints of it in the coming months, or weeks, or in fact few minutes.

Christmas Concerts 2014

For the third year, we are delighted to present our special festive concerts, CAROLS WITH ALBION. As last year, we give just TWO performances of this captivating show: one in our home town of Sheffield, the other in the stunning setting of St John’s Church, Buxton.

Both performances take place in very special churches, with wonderful acoustics which enable the voices to soar and resonate, and with beautiful decoration and architecture that heighten the stunning musical experience.

SHEFFIELD: Holy Trinity Church, Millhouses: Friday 19 December at 8.00pm - Information and tickets HERE

BUXTON: St John's Church: Saturday 20 December at 7.30pm - Information and tickets HERE

We hope that this year’s event will build on the magical experience that everyone enjoyed in 2013. We will sing all around you with magical voices, and you will hear music from the last 1000 years (including some yet to be written) sung in beautiful arrangements.

Wirksworth, 29 March 2014

We had a wonderful time in the beautiful church in Wirksworth, Derbyshire, at the kind invitation of Martin Cruttenden and Rotary and with special guest Christopher Dixon, organist.  The concert was in aid of Rainbows Children's Hospice. Our full programme was:

The Skye Boat Song
Early one morning
Wishes
Scarborough Fair
ORGAN
In the beginning
Jerusalem
The Month of Maying
Danny Boy

INTERVAL

Gaudete
Loch Lomond
The Salley Gardens
One star, made infinite
ORGAN
My love is like a red rose
Come live with me
Jamie
A Gaelic Blessing
Greensleeves

Sheffield's Choral Celebration

The opening weekend of the 100 Days Yorkshire Festival, which celebrates the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire, sees a very special celebration of music and culture take place in the heart of Sheffield.

We will lead a unique performance that celebrates both the strength and colour of singing in the region and the rich musical tradition of ‘these islands’. Through Albion's own arrangements of traditional tunes such as Scarborough Fair and Jerusalem, the concert will bring to life Britain’s great musical heritage – and show it off to the world.
 
We'll be joined in concert by a massed choir made up of singers from across the city, representing many of its umpteen choral groups including the Philharmonic Chorus, theOratorio ChorusVivacity, and many others, brought together for the first time for this special event. This will create a wonderful live atmosphere, surrounding the audience with song, bringing to life Shakespeare’s “the isle is full of noises”.
 
The Tour coming to Yorkshire gives us a wonderful opportunity for Sheffield to show off our thriving cultural life to the nation and the world. Music is part of who we are - it gives us our identity - and there’s such a great buzz in bringing people together. It’s a very sociable activity as well as a cultural one. Singing is good for you and music brings life and meaning to the world.
 
Millennium Gallery next Sunday evening, 30 March at 6.30pm. 

Get TWO FREE TICKETS FOR THIS CONCERT from www.sheffieldchoralcelebration.eventbrite.co.uk