Helena's passion for music is equal to her love of chocolate. Hours of practice have been fuelled by chocolate and major life decisions have been made with both in mind. She chose to read music at King's College Cambridge where Bach's Chocolate Cantata was given its first and only performance in 1731. Tragically the score was destroyed when it fell into a large vat of steaming hot chocolate during interval refreshments. (Bach took a great deal more care when he composed and performed the Coffee Cantata). Helena's musical career has been diverse and exciting - from performance to research. She is now the devoted accompanist and musical coach at Queen Elizabeth School and in her free time, she may be found gently cycling around the countryside, a keen member of The National Cyclists' Organisation 'CTC' - Cycle to Chocolate.
Lancaster Singers is delighted to announce the appointment of Helena Morwood as our Accompanist-in-Residence. Helena is an old friend of Lancaster Singers, having sung Alto with us some years ago, and we’re thrilled that she has decided to join us once more.
Lancaster Singers alto Hermione Roff wins the NEW SONG Christmas Carol Writing Competition with ‘The Virgin’s Song’
This prestigious award was made at the final of the competition in Edinburgh by renowned composers James MacMillan, Bob Chilcott & Simon Woods Ch. Exec. of The Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
The Lancaster Singers are proud to have included Hermione’s composition in their annual Carol Concerts programme on Tues 14th & Frid 17th December but additionally delighted that it was also sung by the BBC Singers and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 20th Dec – on the ‘Carol a Day’ series and published in the new Carols for Choirs – 50th Anniversary Edition (OUP).
Marco Fanti, 34, has taken the post of director and conductor of the historic Preston Cecilian Choral Society.
The only sticking point is that it comes with a 1,800 round trip from his hometown of Bologna, where he lives with his wife Cristina.
It costs the Italian-born musician approximately £100 a week and takes seven hours, two train journeys, a cross-continent flight and a car ride just to get to weekly rehearsals every Monday night at St Augustine's Primary School in Avenham.
Despite spending most of his pay for the part-time post on the long-distance commute, he says he is loving the pace of his new job because the classical music scene in Preston is more vibrant than in his hometown.
He said: "For me the travel is a pleasure. I wouldn't want to do it forever but for now I am enjoying it. I get to listen to music, read and things like that.
"I am happy to do it just to be here. The opportunities for me here are very good. There aren't many opportunities in Italy, especially in choral music. Here people see music as important for life and the scene is very exciting and well organised with lots of events and concerts."
Mr Fanti, who is also musical director of Lancaster Singers, has conducted the Romanian State Orchestra, the Orchestra Sinfonica del Lario and the Coro and Orchestra Athena. He is also a professor of music at the University of Bologna and teaches literature at public high school.
He plans to move to Preston if he can find full-time work as a teacher.
John Bird, media officer for the Preston Cecilians', said the appointment represented one of the most "exciting" periods in the choir's 83-year history.
He said: "It is great news for us. We've never had an Italian conductor before and he is certainly very vibrant, emotive and lively. He's breathing new life into the choir and hopefully will help us branch out and attract new people.
"It must be a tough commute though. It is a very big undertaking for him."