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Rutter : Mass of the Children, Russell Hepplewhite

Saturday, 14 June 2025,
Wimbledon High School, Mansel Road, Wimbledon, London SW19 4AB

Sir John Rutter is a prolific British composer, conductor, editor and arranger.   There can be very few choral Christmas concerts that do not feature an item either written or arranged by him.   Born in London in 1945, he was educated at Highgate School and then went on to Clare College, Cambridge, where he later became Director of Music.

Mass of the Children is scored for a mixed adult choir, two soloists, orchestra and a children's chorus.  The role of the latter is (according to the composer) "to add a further dimension to the traditional Latin Mass sung by the adult choir, sometimes commenting, sometimes amplifying the meaning and mood."   Using a mix of Latin and English, the work is essentially a Missa Brevis, i.e. a Mass without the Credo.   Wimbledon Choral last performed it in March 2008 in Guildford Cathedral with Farnham Youth Choir.

Russell Hepplewhite studied at Chethams's School of Music in Manchester, followed by the Royal College of Music in London.   He is known equally for both his choral works and as a successful leading music theatre composer, notably in the area of operas aimed at younger audiences.   Recordings of his choral compositions have been made by professional choirs such as Sonoro.

Russell is working on an, as yet, untitled project in which twelve living poets have been commissioned to write a poem, each one of which will be set to music by Russell, with twelve choirs spread across the country premiering one of the poems each in concert during the summer of 2025.  Subsequently, all of the poems and music will be published by Stainer & Bell.   Wimbledon Choral is delighted to be selected as one of the choirs to participate in this project.           

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