Leonora Pitt has long been connected with Oxford, where, some years after attending boarding school there, she later moved with her husband and young family, in 1977. Since then she has sung with a variety of choirs and choral societies and was at one time Chairman of Summertown Choral Society.
In 2006 she was asked to organise a “Come and Sing” Messiah in aid of local charity The Art Room and this she undertook, drawing on her experience gained while participating over several years in the Dartington Summer School. There a large choral piece is prepared in the space of a week with no more than five or six hours of intensive rehearsal, culminating in a concert performance. Her aim was to forge the same intensity and excitement into one day of music making.
This first undertaking proved a baptism of fire but due to the indispensable and inspirational partnership with Robert Dean, totally addictive. No-one can overestimate the excitement (and at times, nerve-wracking anxiety) of bringing more than two hundred singers together with accomplished soloists and an orchestra, enabling them to perform great choral works to the best of their ability and with great joy. Messiah was followed over the next five years by Haydn’s The Creation, Verdi’s Requiem, Haydn’s Nelson Mass Mozart’s Requiem and Handel’s Coronation Anthem Zadok the Priest, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle. In October 2011 these concerts were followed by a one day workshop on Bach’s Mass in B Minor.
She believes that singing is hugely beneficial, both on a personal level but also as a means of communication, both within the choir, one to another and also to the listening public. On these occasions the response of the singers and indeed of the orchestral musicians, not to mention the audience, more than confirms this.