War Requiem (Benjamin Britten)

Since the beginning of October, 32 students from the SMUS Middle School have thoroughly rehearsed Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem for the children’s choir. It involved singing in Latin, having weird time signatures, having to keep our eyes on the conductor at all times, having to behave ourselves in concert for 2 hours each night, but we did it.

Singing the War Requiem was a great experience. We got to watch the Victoria Symphony rehearse (AMAZING), and we got to meet the conductor (Tania Miller), and got to be congratulated by the musicians in the Symphony. I felt very special when the first violinist came up to my friends and I after the performance and said “Great job you guys, it sounded amazing.”. I have seen the Victoria Symphony play before, but I never have once imagined that I would ever be performing with them.

The rehearsals were very intense. We had to pronounce vowels very differently and have perfect pronunciation and say ends of words (D’s, T’s, C/K’s…). We had to memorize our parts because looking up at our choir conductor (Mr. Frater) was crucial. I am glad that we have Mr. Frater as our music conductor because he makes everything fun, and enjoyable even when we have to rehearse something ten times (and he brought food at the rehearsals ). Having long rehearsals and late nights has been worth it this past week, because nothing feels better than getting standing ovations and tons of compliments.

I have learned so much from this amazing experience such as appreciating music more than I already do, keeping my eyes on the conductor at all times, understanding the pronunciation of Latin vowels, standing for long periods of time, and what it is like to sing with famous musicians. I will always remember this amazing experience. I am thankful that I am able to experience things like this. Thank you to the Victoria Symphony and to you Mr. Frater!

12 thoughts on “War Requiem (Benjamin Britten)

  1. Wow Claire, I wish I could have been there. Congrats on the whole experience. As you point out so well, diligent and hard work leads to success and recognition. You are indeed fortunate to have the opportunities you have but you do the work. Always love the experiences.

  2. What an awesome experience! Such a lucky girl, but most importantly, a lucky girl who knows she’s lucky and who is totally enjoying everything that comes her way! Amazing! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi Claire. This is such a coincidence! Yesterday afternoon for Remembrance Sunday your Granddad and I travelled to London for the annual commemoration and in the afternoon listened to the War Requiem at the Royal Albert Hall. We were really impressed with the children’s choir so I can now understand what you had to learn and how you must have got so involved with the whole piece. Wow! It was incredibly moving and powerful and so it must have been for you. Is this going to inspire you to learn some Latin or has it put you off for ever? I’ve found it to be a pretty useful tool for learning French and understanding the origins of English. Love Jane x

    1. Hi Jane,
      That is a strange coincidence! I think that I am just going to stick to singing in Latin and learning those words. I am learning Mandarin and French at school so maybe I will wait a little while to learn Latin.

  4. Great blog, Claire.
    You and the rest of your friends did an outstanding job. Your pitch was excellent, your diction was fantastic, and from all accounts, your voices found every seat in the theatre. I received countless compliments on the choir’s behalf.
    It was truly an honour to be invited to sing with the Victoria Symphony and to be a part of two superb performances.
    I’m glad you enjoyed the experience. Not many children can say they sang the “War Requiem” with a symphony orchestra, but you can! 🙂
    Thanks, too, for appreciating the food. It’s hard to stick to the strict “healthy” food rules of the school, so…. I didn’t. Don’t tell anyone.
    Duncan Frater

  5. How wonderful Claire! You are very musically talented so I could see how you would have loved choir. It sure sounds like you worked hard and your hard work paid off. What is your next musical endeavour?
    Miss you tremendously so! 🙂
    Love allexa

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