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1456 Charity of the Year

Stowmarket Chorale

Children from Rougham Primary School, Great Finborough Primary School, and South Lee School, Bury St Edmunds will be giving hearty voice to vibrant African rhythms accompanied by jazz quintet and the adult singers of Stowmarket Chorale at The Apex on the afternoon of Sunday 18th March.

Alexander l’Estrange’s “ZIMBE!” takes songs from many African countries and welds them into a fascinating story. The concert celebrates Conductor Leslie Olive’s 17 years with Stowmarket Chorale, as he moves on to spending more time on his ever-growing programme as a conductor.

Leslie Olive’s busy programme recently included conducting a commercial recording of a new “Stabat Mater” by the composer Paul Carr due for release in May. On 20th May he returns to the Apex to conduct Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra’s Bury Festival concert with music including Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto played by the winner of the Liszt International Piano Competition, and on 30th June, again at The Apex, he conducts Bury’s “Last Night of the Proms” concert for Armed Forces Day.

Olive’s other upcoming concerts include two performances of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem in Winchester Cathedral and Tewkesbury Abbey, Reigate in Surrey to conduct The English Arts Chorale in a concert to celebrate the restoration of the outstanding 3,000-pipe organ at St Mary’s Church, and conducting three concerts in Siena, Italy.

The Stowmarket Chorale meet on Wednesday nights at Chilton Primary School, Stowmarket. The Chorale’s Chairman, Ruth Crocket says “We are really going to miss Leslie as he moves on after 17 years. His leadership, vision and musicality have given dozens of amateur singers opportunities to sing at a level they could never have imagined, and we know that audiences have been thrilled by some wonderful performances”.

Leslie Olive became the Chorale’s Music Director in September 2000, and has conducted well over 60 concerts for them. As well as performing frequently in Stowmarket, the Chorale under Leslie’s baton has sung carols on television for Look East, provided the choral music at John Peel’s memorial service in St Edmundsbury Cathedral, and taken Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius to the prestigious Town Hall in Prague with the young orchestra of Prague Conservatoire. In a return visit, Ely and Rochester cathedrals welcomed the Prague orchestra and Stowmarket Chorale to give two more joint performances. In 2010, the Chorale gave a joint concert of Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony at Snape Maltings, with two of Leslie’s other choirs, Eye Bach Choir and the English Arts Chorale.

Leslie comments: “I’m delighted that my celebration concert features children singing alongside the adults. It is so important that young singers see and hear adults singing because it demonstrates that singing is a delight for the whole of life.”

As well as “ZIMBE!”, the concert includes John Rutter’s tuneful Mass of the Children. The concert is at 4pm. This will be a special concert, with a ticket price deliberately set below cost to make it accessible to all.

Tickets are £15 Adults and £6 Concessions, available on or 01284 758000.