The following review of the concert on 25th March 2012 appeared in the West Sussex County Times:
The annual Angus Ross Memorial Concert aims to involve as many girls and boys as possible, in conjunction with professionals, in some of the great, choral classics. This year 130 sang in the Chorus and 12 joined the orchestra in the exciting and powerful Verdi Requiem, performed under the baton of the new Director of Music, Andrew Cleary. To the 80 mature voices of the Choral Society, the sopranos and contraltos of the Chapel Choir added a pleasing brilliance. The youthful tone of their tenors and basses was most evident in the sensitive singing of the quiet passages.
The soloists were well matched. Claire Seaton soprano, had the power to dominate; beautiful tone and control as in the portando in the Offertorio; soared apparently effortlessly to the high C’s in Salva me and Libera me. Sussana Spicer mezzo, appeared very comfortable within her wide range, contrasting well in colour with the soprano. Andrew Mackenzie-Wicks tenor, mellifluous in Kyrie and Hostias. Michael R. Bundy bass, especially exciting and mysterious in Dies Irae.
Excellent balance between Chorus and Orchestra. They led us from hushed intimacy, with commendable diction, and fine and delicate strings, to blazing intensity, with the brass playing magnificently at full power. A truly memorable evening.
This review was published in the west Sussex County Times shortly after our summer concert performance of “The Gondoliers” at Shipley Church.
CHORUS IN FINE VOICE FOR A FUN EVENING AND MERRY ROMP
WHAT a performance! And a record, surely? 80 singers, 15 soloists, piano and a sizeable audience packed into a tiny, tiddly, church. We were in for a fun evening and a merry romp. The chorus was in fine voice with clear diction, matched by excellent soloists.
The Duke (John Hancorn) most impressive: bold and expressive but by no means alone. Marco (Nick Pritchard) and Guiseppe (Tristan Meares) worked together superbly as did Tessa (Victoria Rowcroft) and Gianetta (Sandra Janman). Lovely to welcome back Hannah O’Reilly (Casilda) in lively top form. Three splendid surprises in a secure Duchess (Katie Callas), a lovesick Luiz (Adrian Bawtree) and a very grand Inquisitor (Graham Brown).
The duets and quartets were a joy; so well balanced. Both chorus and soloists made the most of the lilting score and sparkling, tuneful music. Nick’s `Take a pair of sparklingeyes’, Victoria’s `When a merry maiden marries’, the foursome’s `In a contemplative fashion’ and the infectious tutti `Dance a cachucha’ were certainly among the highlights.
Top marks must go to Caroline Reid for her talented accompaniment on the piano.This will be the last appearance of Adrian and Victoria, leaving for pastures new, in Canterbury.
The new Director of Music at Christ’s Hospital School is to be Andrew Cleary, appointed from September 2011, and he has agreed to be Musical Director for Christ’s Hospital Choral Society.
Andrew began his musical training as a chorister at York Minster and later at St Albans’ Cathedral. In 1987 Andrew was appointed Organ Scholar at Norwich Cathedral and at the University of East Anglia, where he read Music, specialising in conducting and performance and where he founded the chamber choir Cathedral Consort.
After graduating in 1990 Andrew studied at the Royal College of Music in London. In 1991 he was appointed Assistant Organist at St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church, London. Whilst there he made several recordings with BBC Television and Radio and continued to develop his work as a choral conductor, as Musical Director of the early music ensemble Nuove Musiche and the St Martin’s Scholars.
He is currently Director of Music at The Portsmouth Grammar School, a post he has held since 2005. He is also Musical Director of Portsmouth Festival Choir.
Andrew has conducted the Portsmouth Grammar School Chamber Choir in performance with His Majesty’s Sagbutts & Cornetts, the Hanover Band and the London Mozart Players. In November 2005 Andrew conducted the PGS Choir live on BBC Television in the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall with soloists Bryn Terfel and Katherine Jenkins; and in 2008 at the Imperial War Museum for their Remembrance commemorations. He is President-elect of the national Music Masters & Mistresses Association.
When not making music Andrew also enjoys skiing, sailing and long distance running and has completed the London Marathon four times, his best time being under 3hrs.