Final rehearsals for Israel in Egypt at Birmingham Town Hall

7-12 August 2018



The main study work for our 2018 Summer School was Handel’s Israel in Egypt – not an oratorio that is performed often, but full of wonderful musical representations of the plagues of Egypt!  Hardly any of our 140 singers had sung this before, but it gradually took shape with the help of our familiar musical partnership of Brian Kay and Chris Finch, the week ending in a confident and exhilarating performance in the grand setting of Birmingham Town Hall.  Our soloists were Sarah Power (soprano), Nick Pritchard (tenor) and James Neville (counter-tenor), and the orchestra was one of the UK’s finest baroque orchestras, The St Cecilia Players, led by Susie Carpenter-Jacobs.

Singers stayed in comfortable accommodation at Warwick University, and when we weren’t rehearsing or taking part in afternoon choral technique workshops with Chris Finch, there was Shakespeare Country to explore with a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon to see the RSC’s production of The Merry Wives of Windsor, and an evening with Brian in conversation with internationally famous countertenor James Bowman, who gave us a refreshing insight into the demanding world of the professional singer.

What our singers said:

What a fabulous, uplifting, exhilarating, euphoric, scintillating and memorable week that was – the best yet ! I’m still up in the clouds, and don’t expect to come down for another week at least! (Jim M)

What an amazing administration, I really enjoyed every harmonious moment. Thank you so very much for all your hard work ensuring that everything ran seamlessly throughout the whole of this unique experience. (Christine S)

Your events are ideal for ‘singles’ because the participants are always so friendly at mealtimes and coffee breaks that subsequent events turn into re-unions! (Eileen W)

Each year I am in awe of you and your team’s efficiency, patience, good humour and thoughtfulness in organising these events. Together with Brian’s inspirational conducting, a fine orchestra and soloists and the friendly atmosphere the week was yet again a joyous and very memorable musical experience. (Kate F)

The transformation of a motley crew of singers, hardly any of whom had sung a concert performance of the work before, into the harmonious ensemble of Saturday night was truly miraculous. The evening entertainments were excellent and the time flew past. (Jackie C-S)