São Brás choir looking for new members

The Amigos Choir of São Brás de Alportel began a fresh season at the beginning of September. After a summer of reflection, the choir is focusing on transformation and growth. David Littlewood, the vice chair, talked about their history and the vision for the future.

He began by explaining how he became involved with the choir. “I used to sing traditional folk songs and my wife Dinah was in a choral group. We came to the Algarve 11 years ago and we joined the Amigos Choir a couple of years later. Singing keeps us healthy and our minds active.”

The well-loved Amigos choir was started over 10 years ago by the late Walter Sulzer who introduced the then fledgling group to Baroque and Renaissance songs. When Walter retired in 2013, Francisco Brazão led the choir for a short time.
Since 2016, under the direction of António Manuel Maria de Jesus, the choir performs classical and traditional songs in Portuguese, English, German and French. Having led the successful Faro Grupo Coral Ossónoba, António brings a depth of musical practice and discernment.

David said: “We are a choir made up of mostly German, British and Portuguese. We sing together once a week, starting in September through to June. We perform two to three times a year. This year, we want to invite more people who sing to join us.”

The Amigos Choir is divided up by bass, tenor, alto and soprano, and has built a reputation of high standards of excellence. Since the beginning, the repertoire has been ambitious and often stretches the members of the choir to discover new singing depths within themselves.

Recent performances have included Vivaldi’s “Gloria”. The Christmas performance at the Museum in São Brás is often a public favourite where the choir performs traditional carols in various languages.

David continued: “We are particularly looking for men who can sing bass or tenor. We are also looking for young people who want to be part of an international choir. But everyone is welcome. We want singers who enjoy learning but who also want to share their voice and experience. It is not necessary to read music or play a musical instrument, although many of our members do bring those skills.”

The choir meets in the New Gallery at the São Brás de Alportel Museum on Thursday evenings from 6.30pm until 9pm.

“We are aware that the timing can be problematic for some, because of cultural norms around eating and family life,” he said, adding that he hopes the desire to sing will overcome this potential barrier as the reward for singing with this unique group is invaluable.

The choir has organised a ‘welcome evening’ for singers wanting to know more on Thursday, September 21 at the museum’s New Gallery from 6.30pm. The evening will be an opportunity to listen and take part.

David concluded: “Over the years we have enjoyed many creative performances. As we begin this new season, we want to expand that joy, by developing an even healthier, enthusiastic and harmonious choir. One where each member adds to the whole and appreciates their contribution and one another’s efforts.”

For more information, email David Littlewood: [email protected]