News

Chorus announces competition shortlist

27 January 2023

The Chorus is pleased to announce the five composers shortlisted for the Stella Jockel Young Composer Competition for young people aged 18 to 35 people with a connection to Sheffield.

The five shortlisted candidates are Mason Birch, Rachel Fright, Robin Morton, James Thomas and Reuben Tozer-Loft. 

Candidates were asked to submit a short choral work for a mixed choir to sing unaccompanied in at least four parts.  Fourteen young people submitted entries for scrutiny by the panel of judges, from whom five were selected to go forward the the final stage.

“We have been really impressed by the commitment shown by the young composers who submitted their work for the competition” said George Nicholson, Emeritus Professor of Composition at the University of Sheffield, who headed the four-strong panel, “We have enjoyed examining how they interpreted the beautiful text, and the imaginative and interesting variety of styles they have used. The five shortlisted pieces are very different but all show promise – choosing the winners is going to be a difficult task.”

The competition has been organised by Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus in association with Classical Sheffield, as part of the Classical Sheffield Weekend Festival to be held in March 2023, in memory of Stella Jockel, a Sheffield teacher and vicar’s wife who sang alto with the Chorus for over 50 years and whose generous legacy is being used to fund the competition.  The text was commissioned from award-winning poet Katharine Towers, who sings in the alto section of Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus; Kathy won the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for The Floating Man and was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize for The Remedies.

The winning work will be premiered at the Classical Sheffield Weekend Festival finale on Sunday 19 March 2023 in the City Hall, followed by a performance of Mahler’s magnificent 2nd symphony by the combined forces of Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra, Hallam Sinfonia, Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus and Hallam Choral Society, conducted by George Morton and bringing the 10th anniversary festival to a spectacular close. 

Read more about the competition and the shortlisted candidates

To hear the winning piece, buy tickets for the festival finale

Previous News Items

10 November 2022 CLASSICAL MUSIC: Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus Launches Competition

01 November 2022 CLASSICAL SHEFFIELD: Exciting Competition for Young Composers

31 October 2022 RMCMEDIA: Local Choir Launches New Competition For Young Composers

28 Oct 2022 Chorus launches new competition for young composers

11 June 2022 Belshazzar’s Feast a tremendous wall of sound – Review

22 April 2022 Chorus hosts French and German singers

20 April SHEFFIELD STAR: World famous Black Dyke Band and Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus to perform brass arrangement of Handel’s Messiah at City Hall

16 April 2022 BRITISH BANDSMAN: Black Dyke set for choral collaboration

02 April 4BARSREST: European links for Messiah

29 March 2022 Chorus welcome French and German visitors

14 March 2022 Chorus collect almost £2,000 for Ukraine Appeal

05 March 2022 Russian concert in aid of Ukraine

Tuesday 15 December 2020 ‘Tis the season…..

20 October 2020 Chorus CD tops the charts!

21 July 2020 Music Director gives on-line recital for Yorkshire Day

21 July 2020 SHEFFIELD TELEGRAPH: Lockdown performance of Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus music director’s new arrangement for Handel’s Messiah

6 July 2020 Music Director’s beautiful Messiah arrangement

28 June 2020 Chorus starts on-line rehearsals

18 June 2020 Music Director joins choral greats in highlighting challenges faced by choirs

16 June 2020 The Guardian – Covid-19 has silenced choirs

18 May 2020 Chorus supports its locked-down musicians

23 March 2020 Concerts postponed and rehearsals cancelled

2 February 2020 Chorus to sing Messiah with French and German visitors

2019

17 December 2019 REVIEW: Sheffield’s Christmas concert tradition

16 December 2019 Carol wins Classic FM competition

15 December 2019 Sheffield Telegraph – Chorus in finals of national carol competition

14 November 2019 REVIEW – ‘Beautifully and intricately rendered by the choir’

8 November 2019 Bring a Man Night

2 November 2019 Chorus to present Bochum gift to Lord Mayor

22 October 2019 Chorus feature on Black Dyke Band CD

28 September 2019 Chorus kicks off BBC Music Day

23 Sept 2019 Chorus kick off BBC Music Day on Fargate

12 June 2019 REVIEW Holy Face Sheffield Telegraph

 
 

07 April 2019 Bach’s compendium; SPC /Royal Northern Sinfonia, City Hall

14 March 2019 Women centre stage – Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus /Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, City Hall

5 Feb 2019 Press release from Bochum, Germany: Mayor Erika Stahl receives Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus

1 Feb 2019 Chorus members sing Messiah in Germany

2018

28 Dec New Year’s Honour for local choir President

13 Dec 2018 Chorus Hat trick

6 Dec 2018 Excellent programme from the Chorus

26 Oct 2018 Composer thrilled with recording

28 July 2018 Yorkshire Post celebrates publication of 1911 World Tour Book

23 July 2018 Chorus members sing in France during World Cup

20 July 2018 Tour de France for Sheffield Choir

03 July 2018 Chorus prepares to deliver French mini tour

14 June 2018 Up Close and Personal

11 June 2018 Audience thrilled by Rossini and original Mustel harmonium

31 May 2018 Chorus and harmonium in perfect harmony

11 May 2018 ‘Outstanding’ – Chorus ends Mahler tour on high note

30 April 2018  Review: Bruckner Orchester Linz, Usher Hall, Edinburgh, four stars

30 April 2018 Chorus sing a ‘blazing’ Mahler 2 in Edinburgh

29 April 2018 ‘Assertive Mahler’ Simon Thompson, Seen and Heard International

12 Feb 2018 Chorus sings with Sheffield mezzo soprano

3 Feb 2018 World premiere ‘an emotive journey’

12 Jan 2018 Chorus on journey to Paradise

2017

11 Dec 2017 Calypso Carol on Classic FM

15 Oct 2017 Composer thrilled with premiere of his new work

3 July 2017 Chorus records new CD

6 April 2017 Stairs? No problem!

24 April 2017 Open Letter from the Chair: The relevance of classical music.

20 March 2017 It’s a fact – Singing is good for you!

pre-2016

16 May 2016 140th birthday celebrations

16 Feb 2016 What’s your ‘Fantasy Concert’?

18 Oct 2015 Sisters Steal Away

15 May 2015 Now on sale: ‘Awake, Arise! A Yorkshire Christmas Collection for Brass and Voices‘, our exciting CD of Christmas music

18 Feb 2013 Rachmaninov – will Chorus be reaching for the vodka?

8 Oct 2012 Free choral workshops and a welcome return for Handel’s Messiah

8 Aug 2012 Free choral workshops and a year full of singing

17 June 2012 Olympic Dreams – Will it be Singin’ in The Rain or Mr Blue Skies?

16 Apr 2012 Contemporary composers take centre stage

16 Apr 2012 New community links in Sheffield

3 April 2012 Bronte Mass ‘impressive’

12 Feb 2012 Alight: Eclectic music lines up to take centre stage as part of the Cultural Olympiad

13 Jan 2012 Scaling The Heights – Singclude Breaks Down Barriers For Disabled Singers

24 Feb 2011 Three-fold choral debut

22 Nov 2010 Songs of Praise – Chorus celebrate 75th Anniversary year with audience of over 2 million

28 Oct 2010 The Dream of Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus

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SHEFFIELD PHILHARMONIC CHORUS LAUNCHES COMPETITION

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2022

Florence Lockheart, Classical Music

The competition honours past choir member Stella Jockel, who bequeathed the funds which made the competition possible.

South Yorkshire choir, Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus, has launched the inaugural Stella Jockel Young Composer Competition. The choir invites Sheffield composers to submit a choral work to be premiered at the 10th anniversary Classical Sheffield Weekend Festival finale next year.

The winning composer will receive £1,500 and their submission will be premiered at Sheffield City Hall in March 2023. The competition also offers a second prize of £1,000 or third prize of £500. The event was made possible by funds left to the choir by Sheffield local and previous choir member, Stella Jockel.

Chorus chair Paul Henstridge said: ‘Stella Jockel was a Sheffield teacher and vicar’s wife who sang alto with the Chorus for many years. She bequeathed a generous legacy to the Chorus following her death in 2020, and we are delighted to be using part of it to fund this new competition.’

Applicants aged 18 to 35 and were born, lived or studied in Sheffield, are invited to submit a short unaccompanied work for a mixed choir in at least four parts. Submissions will be judged by University of Sheffield emeritus professor of composition, George Nicholson; who will lead a panel including music director of Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus, Darius Battiwall; music director of Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra, George Morton and music director of Hallam Choral Society, Clara Rundell.

Applicants will set Sheffield Nocturne, a text written by poet and chorus alto Katharine Towers, herself a previous winner of the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize who was also shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. Talking about her commission, Towers said: ‘I’m utterly thrilled to have been given this opportunity. I’ve greatly enjoyed the challenge, and it’s been such an interesting experience to write something in the knowledge that music would be coming its way.’

Entries must be submitted before 31 December. You can find more information, including details of how to apply, at the Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus website.

Read the article on the Classical Music website

Exciting competition for young composers

Classical Sheffield website

Chorus launches Stella Jockel Young Composer Competition

Generous prizes are on offer in an exciting new competition launched by Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus. Budding composers aged 18 to 35 are invited to submit a short choral work for a mixed choir to sing unaccompanied in at least four parts.

The competition is open to people who were born, lived or studied in Sheffield and is organised by Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus as part of the Classical Sheffield Weekend Festival 2023.

‘Stella Jockel was a Sheffield teacher and vicar’s wife who sang alto with the Chorus for many years.’ explained Chorus Chair Paul Henstridge. ‘She bequeathed a generous legacy to the Chorus following her death in 2020, and we are delighted to be using part of it to fund this new competition. It’s especially exciting that we’ll be singing the prize-winning work at the City Hall as part of Classical Sheffield’s three-day classical music festival’.

The text has been commissioned from award-winning poet Katharine Towers, who sings in the alto section of Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus. Kathy won the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for The Floating Man and was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize for The Remedies. ‘I’m utterly thrilled to have been given this opportunity’ she said. ‘I’ve greatly enjoyed the challenge, and it’s been such an interesting experience to write something in the knowledge that music would be coming its way.’

The winning composer will receive £1,500 and their work will be premiered at the Classical Sheffield Weekend Festival finale on Sunday 19 March 2023 in the City Hall. It will be followed by a performance of Mahler’s magnificent 2nd symphony by the combined forces of Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra, Hallam Sinfonia, Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus and Hallam Choral Society, conducted by George Morton and bringing the 10th anniversary festival to a spectacular close.

George Nicholson, Emeritus Professor of Composition at the University of Sheffield, will head a panel of judges that includes the Music Directors of the finale performers. The deadline for entries is 31 December 2022 and the shortlist will be announced early in the new year. For details see www.sheffieldphil.org/youngcomposer

Read the article on the Classical Sheffield website

Local Choir Launches New Competition For Young Composers

Posted by Sam Pegg 31 October 2022

RMCMEDIA Website, Movers and Makers

GENEROUS PRIZES ARE ON OFFER IN AN EXCITING NEW COMPETITION LAUNCHED BY SHEFFIELD PHILHARMONIC CHORUS.

Budding composers aged 18 to 35 are invited to submit a short choral work for a mixed choir to sing unaccompanied in at least four parts.

The competition is open to people who were born, lived or studied in Sheffield and is organised by Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus as part of the Classical Sheffield Weekend Festival 2023.

‘Stella Jockel was a Sheffield teacher and vicar’s wife who sang alto with the Chorus for many years.’ explained Chorus Chair Paul Henstridge. ‘She bequeathed a generous legacy to the Chorus following her death in 2020, and we are delighted to be using part of it to fund this new competition. It’s especially exciting that we’ll be singing the prize-winning work at the City Hall as part of Classical Sheffield’s three-day classical music festival’.

The text has been commissioned from award-winning poet Katharine Towers, who sings in the alto section of Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus. Kathy won the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for The Floating Man and was shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize for The Remedies. ‘I’m utterly thrilled to have been given this opportunity’ she said. ‘I’ve greatly enjoyed the challenge, and it’s been such an interesting experience to write something in the knowledge that music would be coming its way.’

The winning composer will receive £1,500 and their work will be premiered at the Classical Sheffield Weekend Festival finale on Sunday 19 March 2023 in the City Hall. It will be followed by a performance of Mahler’s magnificent 2nd symphony by the combined forces of Sheffield Philharmonic Orchestra, Hallam Sinfonia, Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus and Hallam Choral Society, conducted by George Morton and bringing the 10th anniversary festival to a spectacular close.

George Nicholson, Emeritus Professor of Composition at the University of Sheffield, will head a panel of judges that includes the Music Directors of the finale performers. The deadline for entries is 31 December 2022 and the shortlist will be announced early in the new year. For details see www.sheffieldphil.org/youngcomposer

Read the article on the rmcmedia website

Belshazzar’s Feast ‘a tremendous wall of sound’ – Review

Saturday 11 June 2022

Covid and the absence of Russian musicians after the invasion of Ukraine made this another difficult year for the Sheffield International Concert season, yet it ended not with a whimper but a magnificent bang.

In fact, it was more of a tremendous wall of sound created by an orchestra nearly a hundred strong, augmented by trumpeters in the wings, and the combined forces of two of Yorkshires’ finest choirs, totalling 150 singers.

The occasion was a performance of William Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, set to words from the Bible chosen by Osbert Sitwell of Renishaw Hall, just outside Sheffield and, to steal a line from this dramatic cantata, when it was weighed in the balance it was not found wanting.

The young conductor Finnegan Downie Dear extracted supercharged performances of the powerful and sometimes jazz-inflected score from both the band and the combined choirs, the Sheffield Philharmonic and Leeds Festival choruses.

The choir was particularly impressive after having sat patiently through the first half of the evening waiting for their moment, and the Sheffield Phil’s choirmaster Darius Battiwalla rightly appeared to share in the enthusiastic applause.

That was the highlight of an all-British evening which began with the atmospheric Sea Interludes, from Benjamin Britten’s opera Peter Grimes, with the Halle sensitively catching the changing moods of the four sections, from still dawn to noisy storm.

The evening’s other offering was another piece of programme music, the young British composer Thomas Ades’ Inferno, written for a ballet version of Dante’s Divine Comedy.

Being able to see dancers interpreting this piece would have helped the audience follow the musical storyline here, but overall this concert was an impressive climax to a problematic season.

Philip Andrews, Sheffield Telegraph

European links for Messiah

Saturday 02 April 2022 4BARSREST

Black Dyke Band will join forces with the Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus and choirs from France and Germany for a special performance of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ later this month. The band will be joined by three choirs for the special performance. Yorkshire Champions Black Dyke and the Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus will welcome choirs from France and Germany on their mini-tour in April, culminating in a joint performance of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ on St George’s Day.

“This long-awaited trip was planned two years ago, but we had to postpone it when the pandemic struck” explained Matthew Morgan, who sings with both French and Sheffield choirs and organised the visit. “Fingers crossed that nothing stands in the way of it happening this time!”

The three choirs will join Black Dyke at Sheffield City Hall on Saturday 23rd April for the performance of Handel’s famous oratorio. “We are thrilled to be working with Black Dyke on this multi-national project’ said Chorus Chair Paul Henstridge. “This version isn’t performed very often, and it’s such a privilege to be able to sing it with one of the best bands in the world with our friends from France and Germany.”

The concert will feature some of its arias being performed for the first time in this realisation, including ‘How Beautiful are the Feet’ arranged by Chorus Music Director Darius Battiwalla. “Darius created this brass arrangement during the coronavirus lock down and recorded it with Black Dyke and soprano Catrin Pryce-Jones’ explained Chorus president Rachel Copley,

The joint concert echoes a visit made by the Sheffield choir a few years ago, when they joined the Philharmonischer Chor Bochum in a performance of ‘Messiah’ to celebrate the opening of Bochum’s brand new concert hall. The visit includes a tour of Sheffield Town Hall, hosted by the Lord Mayor, as well as trips to York and Haddon Hall.

Tickets for the event on Saturday 23rd April (7.00pm), are available from the City Hall.

For details see www.sheffieldphil.org or www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk

and https://ensemblevocalperigueux.fr/tduk2022

Read the article in online brass publication 4BARSREST

Chorus welcome French and German visitors

29 March 2022

Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus are looking forward to welcoming choirs from France and Germany for a mini-tour of Yorkshire in April, culminating in a joint performance of Handel’s Messiah with the world-famous Black Dyke Band on St George’s Day, in the presence of the Lord Mayor.

‘This long-awaited trip was planned two years ago, but we had to postpone it when the pandemic struck’ explained bass Matthew Morgan, who sings with both French and Sheffield choirs and organised the visit. ‘Fingers crossed that nothing stands in the way of it happening this time!’

The three choirs will come together at the City Hall on Saturday 23 April for this very special performance of the brass version of Handel’s Messiah. ‘We are thrilled to be working with Black Dyke on this multi-national project’ said Chorus Chair Paul Henstridge, ‘The brass Messiah isn’t often performed, and it’s such a privilege to be able to sing it with one of the best bands in the world, fresh from their recent win at the Yorkshire Championships, and with our friends from France and Germany’.

The joint concert echoes a similar visit made by the Sheffield choir a few years ago, when they joined the Philharmonischer Chor Bochum in a performance of Messiah to celebrate the opening of Bochum’s brand new concert hall. ‘The sister city partnership with Sheffield is our oldest’ said  Mayor Erica Stahl, ‘It was founded just five years after the end of the war and … many friends have been formed thanks to it’.

Members of the French choir, with whom the Chorus enjoyed a mini-tour of France in 2018, are driving to Sheffield ‘Just in case Covid messes up air travel’ explained Matthew. ‘We’re looking forward to bringing a mostly French programme, including choral and organ works by Faure, Gounod and Charpentier, to Malton in Yorkshire and Buxton in Derbyshire’.

The visit includes a tour of Sheffield Town Hall, hosted by the Lord Mayor, as well as trips to York and Haddon Hall. Visiting choristers will stay with members of the Sheffield Chorus, who are looking forward to returning the superb hospitality enjoyed during their trips to France and Germany.

Tickets for this very special Messiah on Saturday 23 April at 7pm, are available from the City Hall. Catch the French Choir, Musical Director Patrick Hilliard and organist Christopher Hainsworth, at St Michael’s Church, Malton, Yorkshire on Friday 22nd April, and St John The Baptist Church, Buxton, Derbyshire, on Sunday 24th, both at 7pm, paying at the door.

For details see www.sheffieldphil.org or https://www.sheffieldcityhall.co.uk/event/messiah-23April2022  and https://ensemblevocalperigueux.fr/tduk2022

Chorus collect almost £2,000 for Ukraine Appeal

Monday  14 March 2022

At last Saturday’s Rachmaninov concert almost £2,000 was collected for the Ukraine Appeal. The concert, featuring Rachmaninov’s All Night Vigil, in St Mark’s Church Broomhill, was dedicated to the memory of Margaret Staniforth, a much-missed second soprano who had been a member for many years until her death in 2019, and to the people of Ukraine.

‘We are thrilled with the generosity of our audience’ said Chorus Chair Paul Henstridge, ‘We were very keen to present Rachmaninov’s beautiful work as a symbol of our solidarity and friendship with the Ukrainian people. Margaret’s widower Kim attended the concert as an honoured guest, and was very pleased that the concert was also be offered in friendship with the Ukrainian people.’

The Chorus started working on Rachmaninov’s haunting All Night Vigil during the lock-down, rehearsing online from their own homes following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, for a performance that was scheduled to take place last year but which had to be postponed. The programme began with beautiful but rarely-heard songs by Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, sung by Plymouth-born mezzo-soprano Charlotte Badham accompanied by Chorus pianist Rachel Fright.

The retiring collection will be donated to the Red Cross Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Appeal.

Music Director gives on-line recital for Yorkshire Day

Friday 31 July 2020

To celebrate Yorkshire Day 2020, East Leeds FM radio / Chapel FM Arts Centre will broadcast a special programme live from Leeds Town Hall on Saturday 1 August from 12 noon.

The programme will include a special concert by Chorus Music Director and Leeds City Organist Darius Battiwalla, on the Town Hall’s magnificent organ.

This will be the first live performance at the Town Hall since the Coronavirus Lock-down – though obviously with no live audience. 

Darius’s Yorkshire Day programme features music which has been written by composers with a direct link to Yorkshire and will include an interview with composer Philip Wilby, whose oratorio The Holy Face was performed by the Chorus a few years ago.

Darius will introduce the pieces as he would normally do in his much-loved Monday lunchtime organ concerts at Leeds Town Hall.

Click here to read more and to listen to the broadcast.

Complaints Policy

Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus (the Chorus) is committed to working in an open and accountable way that builds trust and respect. We view complaints as an opportunity to learn and improve, as well as a chance to put things right for the person or organisation that made the complaint. Therefore we aim to ensure that:

  • making a complaint is as easy as possible;
  • we deal with complaints promptly, politely and, when appropriate, confidentially;
  • we respond in the right way – for example, with an explanation, or an apology where we have got things wrong, and information on any action taken;
  • we learn from complaints, use them to improve, and review annually our complaints policy and procedures.

We recognise that a complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction that relates to the Chorus and that requires a formal response.

All complaint information will be handled sensitively, telling only those who need to know and following any relevant data protection requirements.

However the circumstances may be such that it may not be possible to maintain confidentiality, in which case the situation will be explained to the complainant.

We are not able to respond to anonymous complaints, and we are unable to deal with matters for which we are not directly responsible. In such instances we will refer you to the appropriate person or organisation.

Informal Procedure

  • Many concerns will be raised informally and can be made verbally, by telephone, by email or in writing.
  • We aim to resolve informal concerns quickly, keeping matters low-key while addressing the issue.

Formal Complaints Procedure

If concerns cannot be satisfactorily resolved informally, then the formal complaints procedure should be followed. This is intended to ensure that all complaints are handled fairly, consistently and wherever possible resolved to the complainant’s satisfaction.

How to make the complaint

How Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus will respond

  • The Chorus will acknowledge the complaint in writing within 2 weeks.
  • Our aim is to resolve all matters as quickly as possible, so you should get a response and an explanation within 4 weeks.
  • However, some issues will be more complex and therefore may require longer to be fully investigated. If a matter requires more detailed investigation, you will receive an interim response describing what is being done to deal with the matter, and when a full reply can be expected and from whom.
  • Whether the complaint is justified or not, our final reply will outline the action we took to investigate the complaint, our conclusions, and any action we will take to resolve the problem and to make sure it doesn’t happen again

What to do if you are not satisfied

If you are not satisfied with our response, you can refer the matter to one of the following regulators:

  • The Fundraising Regulator – for complaints about fundraising methods.
  • The Advertising Standards Authority – for complaints about misleading or offensive advertising.
  • The Charity Commission – for complaints about Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus losing lots of money, harming people, using funds for personal profit or being involved in illegal activity.

This policy was updated and approved by Trustees in February 2021