LEADING East Hampshire choir Luminosa has celebrated a show-stopping ten years – albeit two years late because of Covid – with a première-packed anniversary concert at the atmospheric All Saints Church in Odiham.
The 10 Year Anniversary Celebration Concert, on April 2, was originally programmed to celebrate the choir’s first decade in 2020, and featured performances of two pieces of music never heard before in East Hampshire.
To mark its significant milestone, the choir commissioned and superbly performed an entirely new and original work – Easter Cantata, Salve Deus, Rex Judaeorum by Alison Willis – supported by soprano Sarah Dacey and baritone Stuart Orme.
Herself a former Luminosa chorister, composer Alison now lives in the Fens in eastern England, and is a celebrated musician in her own right, having previously composed pieces for the BBC Singers and London Concert Choir.
Her work uniquely told the story of the Passion of Christ from a female perspective, with text taken from a poem published by Aemilia Lanyer in 1611. It was written to be performed alongside the Five Mystical Songs by Vaughan Williams, and Luminosa did just that to open the concert.
Alison’s première was followed by only the second ever public performance of another renowned composer, Cecilia McDowall’s new work, Da Vinci Requiem, a large and complex piece that challenged the choir from start to end but was performed with aplomb.
Both composers were present at All Saints to enjoy their works being performed, and as a special treat for audience members, Cecilia also spoke after the interval about how she was inspired by her father’s affinity for Leonardo Da Vinci to write the requiem , marking the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death in 2019.
Luminosa was launched in Holybourne in 2010 with just five members – but under the leadership of artistic director and conductor Rebekah Abbott, now has four choirs, including two youth choirs, involving more than 150 singers across its ensembles.
Its next concert will be a performance of Alexander L’Estrange’s Zimbe at St Peter’s Church, Petersfield, at 7.30pm on Saturday, July 2 – complete with African band.