Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir
The Birmingham Conservatoire is the distinguished centre of professional training of musicians in the Midlands. It benefits greatly from being part of the Birmingham City University and from the huge resources which such an organization can offer.
Paul Spicer is the Principal Conductor of the Chamber Choir, a highly auditioned group of twenty-five student singers form an expert and flexible group. There is considerable competition to be part of this expert group who perform with sensitivity, energy and panache and who are gathering an ever growing reputation for their musicianship.
The choir's first CD To Music was released in 2007 to great acclaim. It was Recording of the Month in CD Review (MusicWeb International) where the critic wrote: "This is one of the finest discs to have come my way in a long time. Throughout the recital the singing is fresh and committed. Blending, tuning and ensemble are flawless., the balance and clarity is exemplary and the iction is splendid. I'm keen to hear more on disc from this fine choir." The choir’s most recent recording is of music by Kenneth Leighton and James MacMillan and includes many first recordings. MacMillan attended the sessions and heard his Song of the Lamb for the first time. Responding to the recording he remarked: ‘I think you have done a splendid job. It was a real thrill to hear all this.’ The recording is on Regent Records: REGCD348.
Choral Conducting Course
From September 2003 Paul Spicer introduced the new M.Mus choral conducting degree at the Conservatoire for which a second Chamber Choir was founded partly as a feeder for the first choir but principally for conducting students to have podium time. The choir rehearses for a two hour session each week. The course looks into stylistic matters, editing procedures, performance practice, singing lessons, choral training skills, one-to-one teaching for gesture, preparation, interpretation skills and repertoire. Involvement with the local community's choirs is encouraged. Advice on subjects like commissioning new music and fund raising is also given.