As the end of this year approaches, singers and musicians from around Qatar are preparing for more than half a dozen concerts and events around town.
Two of Qatar’s largest amateur choirs, the Qatar Concert Choir (QCC) and Doha Singers, will each host three such events in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO) has five concerts scheduled, including its inaugural collaboration with the QCC.
The two groups will together perform Broadway Melodies on Dec. 9, singing numbers from well-known musicals including Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, A Chorus Line and Mamma Mia.
The event is part of a festival of music taking place at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC). Tickets are QR50 and can be bought online from the QPO.
QCC Conductor Giovanni Pasini, who is also principal viola at the QPO, said:
“We’re thrilled to be singing with QPO. It sets the bar higher for us and this show gives us the chance to sing great music by modern composers that’s loved by millions around the world.”
Earlier the same day, the choir will team up with the Doha Baroque Ensemble in Music For the Tempest, also at the QNCC.
Together, the groups will perform music written by different composers for William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. Tickets are QR50 and can bought via QPO’s website.
QCC used to be known as the Doha Bach Choir.
But it changed its name to reflect the wide repertoire of musical styles its singers perform, Pasini said. He added:
“We’re ambitious about where we want to perform, our range of music and the audiences we want to reach. We’re a choir, we’re in Qatar and we give concerts of all kinds, so the new name says exactly what’s in the tin.”
Pasini, who has played with QPO since he arrived in Qatar nearly three years ago and conducted the QCC choir for most of that time, said he was “very proud” of the new partnership with the orchestra.
One of the highlights of the QCC’s December schedule will be the return of its rendition of Handel’s seasonal choral work Messiah, following a successful event last year.
There will be two performances of this – at Doha English Speaking School (DESS) on Nov. 29, and the following day at the Anglican Center in the religious complex.
Tickets cost QR100 and are available through Q-tickets.
The choir meets weekly during most of the year, although rehearsal schedules get much busier in the run-up to concerts.
Potential new members audition to join, and existing members are also required to re-audition for their place each year, “just to make sure we’re still up to scratch,” tenor singer Andrew Whitman told Doha News.
Whitman, an Al Jazeera English producer who has been with the choir for the past 18 months, added:
“It’s been amazing. Most of us come to Doha to work but if all we do is work and no play, it can be a difficult existence.
It’s added another dimension to my life and its taken my singing to a completely different level.”
Another of Qatar’s choirs, Doha Singers, is also about to embark on its line-up of three seasonal concerts.
One of its biggest events will be Under the Mistletoe, which the choir will perform alongside the Doha Community Orchestra, Doha Community Wind Symphony and the Doha Youth & Junior Choir.
Around 250 singers and musicians will take part in what has become a popular annual event, which will be held this year on Dec. 10.
There will be two concerts – a matinée and an evening performance, and tickets are QR75 or QR60 if bought before Nov. 30 from Q-Tickets or a choir member. The venue of the event cannot be publicly announced for security reasons.
Two days prior, the choir will also perform festive songs during A Cold December Night at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
John Warren, chairman of the Doha Singers, described it as a “truly unique experience combining festive music with the relaxation of the beach and refreshments throughout.”
Tickets cost QR100 for the Dec. 8 event and can be bought from the hotel’s reception area.
Finally, a select group of around 18 singers will perform the free, public event A Capella on Dec. 2 by 51 East in Lagoona.
Meanwhile, the QPO has a number of other events on the calendar for next month.
One of the highlights’s of their season finale will be Classics from Film and Opera.
Some of the best-known themes from film and opera will be performed at the QNCC on Dec. 9, including music from Independence Day, The Godfather, Indiana Jones, Superman and The Magnificent Seven.
Tickets can be bought from the orchestra’s website and cost QR100.
Do you plan to attend any of the events? Thoughts?