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  • Chris Anderson

The Realisation Of A Dream

Updated: Jan 8, 2023

Stand Sure Orchestra & Choir's inaugural concert of Mozart’s Requiem took place in November 2021 in the glorious St. John’s Church, Pewsey.

SSOCs perform Mozart Requiem at St. Johns Pewsey

Following the trying times of COVID and coupled with the Royal British Legion commemorating 100 years of service, Mozart’s Requiem felt a fitting piece to perform in memory of those who passed away throughout the pandemic, but also as a remembrance for our Armed Forces past and present. A retiring collection for the Royal British Legion was taken.

It had long been a dream of mine to have my own orchestra and choirs, in fact it’d been a dream for nearly thirty years! Much of my musical life had been spent playing for and directing other groups and orchestras, which is great, but as time went on my own dreams seemed to be getting further and further away from me.

When the COVID Pandemic hit the globe everything changed. Lives were hugely disrupted and everyone needed to adapt, adjust and abide by a new set of rules. Businesses were turned upside down and life as we knew it was never ever going to be the same again. Orchestras and choirs up and down the country suddenly found themselves not being able to rehearse or perform. I myself struggled as my teaching business had to move to being solely online, thus losing a huge percentage of clientele.

Lockdown empty street

In 2020 I participated in Gareth Malone’s Great British Home Chorus and had a ball rehearsing with him on YouTube. It got me thinking about how this would be an ideal opportunity to start planning my own project - at last! After all, while COVID isn’t going to just disappear, things will start opening up again…won’t they? I thought about what I could offer people who wanted to make music, once it was safe to do so.

In January 2021 I decided I’d just go for it. I dug out my old Requiem score and started analysing it and studying it. It'd been on my bucket list to conduct since I was about 15 or 16 but could I really do this? I sound really confident in the first bit of this paragraph, but the truth is I was actually really scared. I kept quiet about what I was doing, not even telling my parents. Then in March I decided that the answer had to be yes. Yes. Yes I could do this! Did I want to make a pitch to other groups? Well, it was an option but not one that really sat comfortably as there’d be a conflict of creative ideas and who was going to conduct etc.

That’s when the idea of SSOCs, actually started formulating. Rehearsal venues were scouted, insurances quoted, and a performance venue sourced. On 5th September 2021 we launched, bigger and better than I could ever have imagined.

The poster for Mozart's Requiem performed by Stand Sure Orchestra & Choir

We all worked incredibly hard to produce an evening of music we were proud to be a part of. It may not have been the exact Requiem you will have heard before - it had been tastefully and respectfully re-orchestrated to accommodate the players we had. The date of the concert was “Remembrance” Saturday and we started with a two minute silence which ended with the mournful strings and a single note of the bassoon.

It was performed with the same passion and feeling you’d hope to get from such a work. The audience responded positively and one little girl was heard to shout “That was amazing”. We then did an encore of “Ave Verum Corpus” and after the final note died away you could hear a pin drop. One lady on the front row whispered “wow”.

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