We round out Women’s History month by meeting Eleanor and Liz, two sopranos who have been with the society for years
How long have you been singing with Fitz?
Eleanor: Since 2017.
Liz: I’ve been singing with Fitz since my second year of University in 2019.
How long have you been associated with choral music?
Eleanor: I sang in school as an alto in the chamber, chapel and school choir, but never really saw myself as a singer – just as something that I did because I was a music scholar (piano, organ and bassoon). When I came to university a friend recommended that I audition as a soprano choral scholar at Clifton Cathedral and it was like a switch had been flicked! That year I began to do much more choral singing and haven’t stopped yet!
Liz: I was lucky enough to be a chorister from the age of 7 at St Mary’s Parish Church, Horsham. If it weren’t for this experience, I wouldn’t be doing music as a career today!
What have been some of your personal choral highlights?
Eleanor: SO MANY! An absolute top one is the performance of Buxtehude’s Membra Jesu Nostri with The Fitzhardinge Consort – a staggering piece of music. Other highlights include the Martin Mass for Double Choir with Bristol University Singers, singing Howell’s Collegium Regale for Evensong at St Paul’s and for the opening of the Queen Elizabeth Music School by the Queen, as an alumni of King’s School Bruton.
Liz: The first time I ever sang the ‘Gloria’ from Howell’s Col reg. was a personal highlight – so exciting to be involved in that sort of music-making with other people.
What have been some of your personal Fitz highlights?
Eleanor: As above, the Buxtehude. Other highlights have been rehearsing the Macmillan Miserere, despite not yet having a chance to perform it, and singing Hail Gladdening Light at one of our first rehearsals back after lockdown – hearing all the different lines and being completely absorbed and enveloped by it was very emotional, especially after so many months of not singing.
Liz: Definitely singing Bach’s ‘Singet dem Herrn’ in my first ever concert with Fitz in 2019. A bit of a baptism of fire, but it was my first experience singing a Bach motet and I’ll never forget it.
What does choral music mean to you?
Eleanor: Choral music brings me so much joy. It is what makes me happy after a long day at work. It is so powerful and emotive and I feel very fortunate that it is a part of my life and that I can bring the joy of listening to other people. I became a music teacher because I think music is brilliant and I love music – it is so important to me that I keep that love and passion and choral music allows me to do that!
Liz: Choral music has been my longest musical love – whatever phases I’m going through in my listening and performing, I always come back to choral music!