Two big birthdays will align on Saturday 4 June – Julie Smethurst, former Chair of Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus, will celebrate her 60th and the Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus itself will celebrate their 80th birthday “Making a grand 140th year bash!” grinned Julie. And, for their years, both Julie and the Chorus look pretty spritely.
Julie is well known in Sheffield, and further afield, as a Trustee Director of Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind, as a governor of New College Worcester, for her championship of disabled people’s access to transport and local facilities and services, and for her contribution to music both as a singer and as Chair of the
Chorus. “For my 50th birthday I organised a rock gig, so as a small concession to my age – and that of my friends! – I thought a more reflective, sit down affair was in order” Julie added wryly.
That’s not to say she has been taking it easy – far from it. Julie is currently living her dream of creating a large-scale choral concert at the City Hall on 4 June to celebrate the joint birthday years. “I’d always dreamed of being able to sponsor a classical concert to the extent of being able to say what I wanted on the programme. Vaughan Williams became my favourite English composer in my teens, so his wonderful and varied music makes up the whole programme, including the mesmerising The Lark Ascending. The Chorus’s City Hall ‘home venue’ means I don’t have to pick and choose who can share in the celebration – everyone is welcome!”
The concert is part of a recent initiative by Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus to create Fantasy Concerts. Recognising that fantasy football league is played up and down the land and has become part of popular culture, they have created a similar version for music lovers, but with a fabulous twist – it doesn’t stay a fantasy. The format is simple – pick the music you’d really like to hear, pick some excellent players, find a venue, and make it happen.
If you’d like to join Julie and the Chorus for their big birthdays visit http://www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk/events/Celebration-Concert for ticket details. And if you’d fancy devising your own Fantasy Concert see http://www.sheffieldphil.org/fantasy.php and email Media@Sheffieldphil.org who will be pleased to help you make your dreams come true.