On Saturday 13 October, I was lucky enough to be invited to attend a Come and Sing with John Rutter Day, as part of the Ipswich School Festival of Music. John Rutter is one of Britain’s premier choral composers and conductors, having written a wide variety of choral music which you may have heard the Ipswich School Chapel Choir perform, such as The Lord Bless You and Keep You and For the Beauty of the Earth.
During the day, we performed a wide variety of music, including some of John Rutter’s own compositions, including A Flower Remembered (written in commemoration of the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami) and extracts from his iconic Requiem Mass, and some music by other composers, such as the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah and Bogoroditse Devo by Rachmaninoff.
I would say that the experience of performing these pieces was enhanced by having a composer conducting us, particularly in the pieces that he himself had composed, as John was able to provide valuable insight and advice about the feeling and style that the massed choir of over 200 people were aiming to create. As well as this, John was happy to share the wealth of stories and anecdotes that he has amassed over his years of conducting and composing, which amused and entertained in equal manner.
All in all, the Come and Sing Day was very enjoyable, not only as it provided valuable experience and insight into the mind of the composer, but I also found it brilliant to perform with a large group of people who all shared similar interests, under the baton of a superb conductor.
Ben Althen, The Occasional Student Journalist
You can see photos of the Festival of Music 2018 here.