Eleanor Cully Boehringer wins Kantos Carol Competition 2023
Former HCS member Eleanor Cully Boehringer has won the Kantos Carol Competition 2023! Her newly-composed Carol Perennial Ephemeral will be performed by Kantos Chamber Choir in their upcoming festive concert at the Stoller Hall this coming weekend. Eleanor was kind enough to provide us with her thoughts and inspiration for the piece, and also caught us up on her post-Choral life since moving to Newcastle in 2021…
I am delighted that Kantos chamber choir will be performing my new piece Perennial Ephemeral at their concert on 9th December at The Stoller Hall in Manchester. As an emerging composer, it means a lot to me to have the opportunity to hear my music performed live in concert, especially by such a forward-thinking and inspiring chamber group. When HCS asked me to write a few words for ‘Choral Notes’, I thought I’d start with the back story of my new piece:
In winter last year I was preparing to sing at a friend’s wedding just before Christmas. I had suggested The Holly and the Ivy as a congregational carol to accompany the evergreens and berries she had in the church, and from there I started to imagine a new arrangement. Scored for 12 independent parts, my piece contains the original melody in a soprano solo, accompanied by an ascending tenor line. Fragments of the tune pass across the other parts, which are organised into two choirs: choir 2 sustaining the word ‘holly’ beneath the word ‘ivy’ in choir 1. As the arrangement evolves, so do the accompanying flora in the carol; blossoming into berries, lilies, roses, and then turning to thorns. I love the juxtaposition, at the heart of my arrangement, between the evergreens in the carol and the ephemerality of the blossom flower, and indeed the ephemerality of a wedding day.
Since moving from Huddersfield to Newcastle in 2021, I regularly sing with Chorus of Royal Northern Sinfonia and a local chamber choir called Fenham Ensemble. I absolutely love life here in the North East. My most recent endeavour has been to learn to conduct my choral music, originally inspired by no other than director of Kantos and HCS associate conductor Ellie Slorach when she first stepped onto the HCS podium. I look back on my time at HCS with fond memories, and am proud to have learned so much about choral singing during my time as a member. I will be attending the Kantos concert on Saturday 9th December to hear my piece and it would be lovely to see some familiar faces. Wishing all at HCS a Merry Christmas and sending my best wishes for 2024!