Songs and Choral Music

Ella Fontaine (mezzo), Lauren Hibberd (piano) and the Aurora Choir

Saturday 8 March 2014 • 7.30pm
Stewart's Hall, Huntly (map)

Tickets £10.00, £6.00 (concession), free (schoolchildren)
available from Deveron Arts, Orb's Bookshop, Rizza's shop, or at the door

The recital by Ella Fontaine (mezzo) with Lauren Hibberd (piano) will include art songs by Ronald Center (1913–1973) who lived in Huntly from 1943 until his death, a selection of songs by Gluck, Mozart, Donizetti and Purcell, and a setting by Aberchirder-based composer David Ward of three sonnets by Rilke. The Aurora Choir will sing varied items, including some of Center's choral pieces, amongst which will be the final Agnus Dei from his choral cantata and heartfelt prayer for peace Dona Nobis Pacem.



Ronald Center (1913–1973)
There is no Rose

Trad. arr. Bob Chilcott
Irish Blessing

Morricone & Ferrau arr. Audrey Snyder
Nella Fantasia

Ronald Center
God be in my Head

Ella and Lauren

Ronald Center
Four Songs in Praise of Spring

Gaetano Donizetti (1797–1848)
All'afflito e dolce il pianto

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1792)
Smanie implacabilli

Henry Purcell (1659–1695)
Dido's Lament

Ronald Center

Interval (15 minutes)

Ella and Lauren

Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714–1787)
Che faro senza Euridice

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Voi che sapete

David Ward (b. 1941)
Three Sonnets to Orpheus (Rilke)

Ronald Center
The Angel and the Child


Jan Garrett
I Dreamed of Rain

Ronald Center
A Hymn to the Virgin

Howard Goodall (b. 1958)
The Lord is my Shepherd

Trad. arr. Ken Johnston
The Piper o Dundee

Ella and Lauren with the Choir

Ronald Center
Agnus Dei

Texts and Translations (PDF)

Manx-born Ella Fontaine is a mezzo-soprano, singing teacher and choral conductor based in Manchester. From an early age she played a range of instruments and performed in many local concerts and shows. At age 16 she was cast in the chorus of L'elisir d'amore directed by Ryland Davies for the Manx Opera Festival. Ella left the island aged 18 to study International Development and Politics at the University of Leeds. Upon graduating she moved to Manchester and began vocal studies with Tony Norton of the Three Irish Tenors.

Ella currently studies singing with Andrew Heggie and is studying for a postgraduate diploma in performance. She works as a freelance singing teacher and teaches and conducts in secondary schools for the Bolton Music Service around her busy performing career. Past engagements include singing the role of Alissa in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor at the Royal Northern College of Music in October 2013 and singing in Opera Seria's Anna Bolena in July 2012. She regularly performs in recitals, galas and charity concerts across North-West England and was invited to sing for the Didsbury Arts Festival in summer 2013. In 2012 Ella sang in a semi-chorus in Elgar's Apostles with the Hallé Choir at the Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms.

Upcoming engagements include singing Mercedes in Opera 74's Carmen in July 2014.

Ella Fontaine

Lauren Hibberd

Lauren Hibberd completed her undergraduate and postgraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music where she studied solo piano and piano accompaniment with John Gough. A former pupil of Chetham's School of Music, Lauren now performs regularly throughout the country as a soloist, accompanist and chamber musician for such organisations as the Leeds International Concert Season, the Chester Town Hall concert series and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Concerts Society. Lauren has also appeared as a concerto soloist with the Shrewsbury Symphony Orchestra, the Shropshire Sinfonia and the Liverpool University Orchestra.

As part of the Sterling Trio (flute, clarinet and piano), Lauren was a finalist in the Tunnell Trust Music Club Awards Scheme 2011–12 and 2012–13 and with UK Young Artists 2010. The Trio was also a finalist in the Park Lane Group Young Artists Concert New Year Series 2012 and, as part of this, gave a recital at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London. Recent performances have included recitals at St James's Piccadilly, London and for the Leeds International Concert Season. Committed to expanding the repertoire for their instrumental combination, the Trio has collaborated with distinguished British composer Howard Blake OBE, to create and premiere a selection of new works at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, as artists with the Concordia Foundation.

In 2009, Lauren was invited to perform in a musical production entitled And Music Perhaps..., which portrayed the marriage and life of Charles Darwin. She played the part of the accomplished pianist Emma Darwin, alongside Andrew Bannerman (narrator) and Richard Frewer (tenor). The company was then invited to take the programme to Hong Kong and China as the culmination of the British Council's Darwin bi-centenary celebration Darwin Now.

As well as piano performance and private teaching, Lauren is also committed to musical education in the community through such organisations as Youth Music, where she works as part of a team of professional freelance musicians to deliver music-making workshops.

Aurora Choir was formed in May 2011, under the direction of Hugh Johnstone and Hannah McGinlay in response to a community choir project. They say: "We were selected as the main choir to perform with the RSNO in the Music Hall, Aberdeen in October 2011 at the premiere of Cecilia McDowall's Northlight.

"Since this auspicious beginning we have given concerts in St Machar's Cathedral, Fyvie Kirk and various venues around Huntly. We have performed some mighty choral works including Goodall's Requiem: Eternal Light, Karl Jenkins' The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace and Fauré's Requiem, as well as pieces by Whitacre, McDowall and Lauridsen and some spirited arrangements of Scottish songs.

"Huntly is, and always has been, a place of creativity. It is important that the music of Huntly's greatest composer becomes more widely known within the community and is performed. As Huntly's choir we are very keen to perform some of the choral works by Ronald Center and it is especially fitting that we do this in his centenary year. We are delighted to be collaborating with Music Centeral for this concert."


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