The St. George’s Cathedral Men’s Chorus along with the Cathedral Ensemble performs its golden jubilee concert on August 18.
The St. George’s Cathedral Men’s Chorus celebrates its 50th anniversary with a concert on August 18.The chorus has been performing for 50 years since its inception in 1963.
Conducted by Raj Samuel, it focussed mainly on classical music. In addition to regular concerts covering a range of classical works, the singers presented educational programmes such as ‘Festival of Handel’ and ‘History of Western Sacred Music’.
Over the years, they developed an extensive repertoire much of which was new to Chennai audiences. Some of these deserve mention —Schubert’s Lieder for male voices (sung in German), Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody (in German) with a guest artist, music from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (arranged for the TTBB choir), Handel’s Chandos Anthem and Coronation Anthems. The chorus has the distinction of being invited by the Max Mueller Bhavan, the British Council, the American Cultural Centre and the Alliance Francaise to give full concerts.
The chorus, augmented with female voices, known as The Cathedral Ensemble, rendered Oratorios such as Handel’s Messiah and Haydn’s Creation, besides Weber’s Mass in G, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Monteverdi’s Beatus Vir, William Byrd’s Mass for Four Voices and works by Stainer, Vaughan Williams, Gustav Holst, Benjamin Britten.
In 2000, for a Millennial concert, the Men’s Chorus performed Cherubini’s Requiem in D minor for male voices, a demanding work, in the Cathedral and at the Tchaikovsky Club in the Russian Centre.
Raj Samuel, the founder and visiting conductor, is an accomplished musician. In 1963 he founded the St. George’s Cathedral Men’s Chorus, Chennai, and conducted it till he relocated to the U.K.
Benny Samuel succeeded his brother Raj as the conductor of the Cathedral Men’s Chorus. Benny’s dedication and hard work have kept the Men’s Chorus and the Ensemble going. Under his directorship, the chorus performed in various places besides Chennai – Pondicherry, Nagercoil and Bangalore.