Desert Island Discs comes to Hemel Hempstead

Dacorum Community Choir marked the end of the summer term with a special event

By Holly Patel
Monday, 10th August 2020, 1:27 pm
Updated Monday, 10th August 2020, 1:30 pm

Members of Grovehill based Dacorum Community Choir were treated to their own edition of Desert Island Discs.

The radio programme is broadcast on BBC Radio 4, each week a guest is asked to choose eight recordings, a book and a luxury item that they would take if they were to be cast away on a desert island, whilst discussing their lives and the reasons for their choices.

During lockdown, Rufus and the committee have done a number of things to keep in touch, including weekly singing sessions on You Tube. They decided to mark the end of the summer term with a special event.

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Caroline Lees, chair of the choir

The programme was presented by the choir's chair, Caroline Lees and starred musical director, Rufus Frowde.

Andrew Holder managed the technical challenge of creating a Zoom meeting and more than fifty of the singers had the pleasure of being part of the event, which lasted for over an hour and featured five pieces of music chosen by Rufus to mark significant moments in his life and career.

His opening choice was an arrangement of Veni Emmanuel, an early example of plain song which dates back to the 9th century.

While at university he discovered an arrangement by Anne Dudley, very much a turn of the 21st century composer, which he credited with giving him 'almost' perfect pitch

More discs ranged from Marillion, a teenage crush, and Gene Pitney, to Purcell.

The aria he chose from Dido and Aeneas was very special for his mother, a singer.

They made a recording of her performing it, Rufus accompanying on the organ, in St. John's church, Markyate, with his grandfather listening the pews.

The last piece of music is less well known, and completes the circle back to his time at university.

Rufus conducted the Oxford University Philharmonia in his final year, as student conductor, and says that it still gives him goose bumps. It is by Respighi and is called the Pines of Rome.

The movement Rufus chose was 'Pines of the Appian Way'.