Chris Allard and Colchester Chamber Choir: Modern Jazz meets Renaissance masterpieces

A remarkable evening of music fusion is happening on Sunday 19th March when Wivenhoe’s internationally-acclaimed jazz guitarist Chris Allard joins Colchester Chamber Choir for Song of Songs, a concert of 16th and 17th century choral masterpieces interwoven with modern jazz improvisations.

This imaginative and adventurous programme offers a unique opportunity for fans of both modern jazz and early music. The choir will perform extraordinary and wonderful vocal settings of that most sensual of biblical books, The Song of Songs, by Renaissance composers including Palestrina, Guerrero, Victoria, Lassus and others. Chris will interpret the music through his own jazz improvisations both separately and interwoven with the singing.

 ‘I’m thrilled to be performing with this marvellous choir. It’s a really interesting programme, and this concept is a first for me. To improvise within and around these beautiful and complex Renaissance choral works will be an exciting challenge, aiming to play in a way that is both relevant to the original composition as well as providing a contemporary counterpoint to it. I am really looking forward to it and I’m sure it will make a fascinating evening for classical and jazz fans alike.’

The concert on Sunday 19th March 2017 at 7pm is at St Peter ad Vincula Church, Coggeshall. More information and tickets at £16, under 30s £10 or full time students £5 are available at or email .


  • Just back from a long rehearsal with Chris Allard in Coggeshall.  It is sounding fantastic.  The church is a beautiful space for music and we are using it in a variety of imaginative ways.  We also have another Wivenhoe connection in young local tenor Chris Huggon who is singing Monteverdi's motet Nigra Sum (from the 1610 Vespers). Chris has the distinction of singing with Genesis 16, the training group for the prestigious Sixteen, directed by Harry Christophers and we are delighted to have him with us for this programme.
  • A final bump for this lovely concert tonight.  I know some folks from Wivenhoe are coming and it would be lovely to see some more in the audience.

    "For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;

    The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, 

    and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

    The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.

     Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.’  

    Song of Songs

  • It was a sublime, wonderful experience. Many thanks to all those who gave of their time and energy to make this available for our pleasure. 
  • It was the first time I had been to a concert with Colchester Chamber Choir. I thought it was very good indeed. It was definitely enhanced by being in such a wonderful setting but really those voices combine to make an amazing sound. Wondering what's the link to Wivenhoe? Well one of our illustrious councillors said on the way out: 'half of Wivenhoe seems to be here' so who knows,  but recommend you join them at the next opportunity. 
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