Category Archives: Past Events

16th September 2017: Vocal Technique Workshop

Saturday 16th September 9.45am

The King’s School, Wrexham Road, Chester CH4 7QL

Our first event of the 2017-2018 season is a Vocal Technique Workshop on Saturday 16th September at The King’s School, Wrexham Road, Chester CH4 7QL

The format of the day will be as follows:

9.45 Arrival
10.00 – 10.30 Warm-up session with Joseph Judge
10.30 – 11.30 Group A Singing with the voice – Vocal techniques Joseph Judge
Group B Singing with the ears – Aural techniques Martin Bussey
11.30 – 11.45 Break
11.45 – 12.45 Group B Singing with the voice – Vocal techniques Joseph Judge
Group A Singing with the ears – Aural techniques Martin Bussey

A little more about the workshop:

Chester Bach singers launch their 2017-18 season with an opportunity to brush up and revitalise both voices and ears.

Joseph Judge is one of the most dynamic young choral conductors in the North, recently appointed director of the Leeds Guild of Singers following several years as Assistant Director of the St George’s Singers. Joe is a graduate of Manchester University and a Lay Clerk at Manchester Cathedral and was a National Youth Choir of Great Britain Fellow.

Martin Bussey is not so young but still, hopefully, dynamic. Director of Chester Bach Singers for the past 30 years, Martin has long emphasised the link between inner hearing and success in choral singing. He was Director of Choirs at Chetham’s School of Music for 25 years. He is a Vocal Tutor at Manchester University, regularly directs the BBC Daily Service Singers and, as a composer, has been performed in countries as far apart as New Zealand and the Faroe Islands.

Primarily this is a workshop for CBS members but we have a limited number of places available at only £10 per person. To book your place, please contact Margaret Newman to check availability. Tel: 01829 770104 or Email: margaretenewman@btconnect.com

21st January 2017: Come and Sing Brahms Requiem

Saturday 21 January 2017

All Saints Church, Hoole, Chester CH2 3HZ

Our annual choral workshop is an opportunity for all singers, to rehearse and perform Brahms’ Requiem (in English) with Chester Bach Singers.

TIMETABLE

12.30pm – 1.30pm Tea and coffee available. Singers to register, collect ordered music & be seated. Soup with bread will be served from 12.30 – 1.15 but must be pre-ordered and paid for in advance.
1.30pm – 4.15pm Rehearsal with Martin Bussey and piano duet (there will be a short “comfort” break during this session)
4.15pm – 5.00pm Break. Tea/coffee and cake in the church hall
5.00pm – 6.30pm Performance. Friends and family are welcome at no charge.

THE WORK

Brahms’ German Requiem is one of the great choral works of the nineteenth century. Brahms’ setting is unique. He combines the structural genius of a great symphony writer with his lesser-known but equally great powers as a melody writer. Brahms wrote songs throughout his life and was frequently involved in working with choirs, understanding the human voice with great insight. This is particularly apparent in the beautiful fifth movement for Soprano solo which he wrote after the first performance of the work, reflecting, like much of the work, the death of his mother. Brahms’ symphonic approach is much in evidence in the second movement, which takes on the form of a funeral march with voices of the top seemingly reciting the text ‘All flesh is as grass’. Its steady tread is then replaced by the dramatic announcement by the chorus that ‘the Word of the Lord endureth for ever.’ The fourth movement of the Requiem is probably the best known, its English translation ‘How lovely are thy dwellings fair’ indicating the lyrical beauty, which is its hallmark. At several points in the work Brahms’ German heritage is apparent in complex fugal writing, such as the sixth movement, where the influence of Bach and earlier composers is apparent. Brahms contrives to begin and end the work with similar music, emphasising the word ‘blessed’ in a serene and reflective atmosphere.

These unique qualities have long made Brahms’ setting a popular one with singers and audiences. Although many people have an image of Brahms as an old man with a beard, early portraits reveal a vigorous and determined figure, a virtuoso concert pianist with a determination to be a worthy successor of his idol, Beethoven. This vigour informs many sections of the Requiem. The Requiem is best known as a work for large chorus and orchestra. However, for the workshop, we shall be accompanied on the organ by Graham Eccles, who is wellknown to Chester Audiences. Our soprano soloist for the workshop will be Léonie Maxwell, who will be remembered for her fine singing at last year’s Come and Sing Haydn Nelson Mass and also for her sensitive interpretations of Kenneth Leighton’s Crucifixus Pro Nobis and her wonderful performances of songs by C. Hubert Parry, Roger Quilter and Michael Head in October’s concert The Poet’s Voice. She will be joined by James Berry, baritone, for whom this is the first time singing with Chester Bach Singers. We welcome him warmly.

GETTING THERE

This year we are holding our workshop at All Saints Church, Hoole (CH2 3HZ). This is the church with the spire on Hoole Road, Chester. It has excellent facilities and is about 10 minutes walk from Chester railway station. There is limited parking at the church but we would like to save that for people with reduced mobility. There is also parking in the streets around the church as well as a number of small car parks. Unfortunately, this year we shall be unable to use the car park at the United Reformed Church in Hoole, as it is the induction of their new minister on that day.

FEES AND REFRESHMENTS

Workshop fee £15 (full-time students £10). This includes coffee/tea on arrival and tea/coffee and home-made cake in the interval before the performance.

We will be serving home-made Soup with bread from 12.30-1.15 but this must be pre-ordered and paid for in advance (£3.00).

We shall be using the Novello edition of the score with text in English by Ivor Atkins. Hire copies can be ordered in advance for £2.00, collected at registration, and must be returned after the performance.

Regrettably, no refunds after 9th January 2017.

14th September 2016: OPEN REHEARSAL

Why not join Chester Bach Singers for an open rehearsal at our rehearsal venue? Sing with us for the evening or just come along and watch. You will be very welcome. No need to book but if you would like more information, contact the choir or join us on facebook.

We welcome singers of all abilities to our open rehearsal on Wednesday, 14th September, 2016 at 7.30pm for a 7.45pm start at the Music Department, Kings School, Wrexham Road, Chester, CH4 7QL. Music will be provided on loan for the evening. The rehearsal will finish by 9.45pm.

We will be rehearsing music for our October concert.

10th July 2016 Garden Party at Hartsheath

This summer we will be holding a Summer Garden Party and Cream Tea very kindly hosted by Peter and Johanna Kaufmann at Hartsheath, nr. Pontblyddyn, as part of our fundraising activities.  Choir members, friends and family will be very welcome to join us between 2pm and 5pm on Sunday, 10th July 2016.

There will be something for everyone whether young or old!

  • Cream Tea
  • Bring and buy stall
  • Outdoor games
  • Quiz/treasure hunt
  • Summer bonnet competition (with prizes for the best child and best adult)
  • House tours (limited numbers, book on arrival, extra cost)

Please bring your own picnic chairs / blankets to sit on. There will be cover if the weather is inclement.

Tickets £10; £5 for children under 12; free for children under 5

Buy Tickets

For help, additional information or other queries, phone 01244 470 890.

Directions: (Sat Nav Postcode CH7 4HP) Hartsheath is only about 15 minutes from Chester. From the A55, leave at J35A (for Penyffordd) onto the A5104. After about 1 ½ miles, at the Penymynydd roundabout turn left onto the A550 towards Wrexham, then at the next roundabout rejoin A5104 towards Corwen and Pontblyddyn. At the Pontblyddyn crossroads, turn left towards Wrexham (A541), leave the village and after the 40mph sign, on a bend just before you go into the wood, fork left at the red brick lodge (before you reach the dual carriageway). Follow the drive to the top and park along the back road that leads left, away from the house.

The House

Hartsheath is a Georgian mansion house tucked away alongside the river Alyn just outside Pontblyddyn on the road to Wrexham from Mold. The present house was built in 1825 as a fitting home for the Director of the short-lived Welsh Iron and Coal Mining Company. The architect, Charles Mathews, worked for a while in John Nash’s London office and was a little-known pupil of A. C. Pugin. He created a grand and imposing house, using the remains of a previous building on the site. However, the extravagant demands of the Director contributed to the eventual bankruptcy of the company. The experience also put an end to Mathews’ architectural career: as you can see from his portrait in the drawing room, he went on to become a comic actor. Hartsheath was his first and only house: he later expressed regret that it was still standing as testament to his youthful folly!

The formal rooms at Hartsheath were designed to entertain. The large dining room is lined with family portraits, almost as if the ancestors were joining you for dinner. The drawing room’s trompe l’oeil wallpaper dating from 1841 features the pineapple, a symbol of warmth, welcome and hospitality. This room, with Regency furniture, also boasts two grand pianos – sadly not as tuneful as they might be. Charles Mathews, in costume, gazes down on his creation. Marble chimney-pieces are a feature of the interior, with a further grand piano in the entrance hall and a staircase rising four flights to a glass cupola which lets the light pour in from above.

hartsheathThe grey stone building is set in a hundred acres of parkland, with many fine trees. There is an extensive garden, woodland by the river, and a sunken path which separates the grounds from the park. This was created so that servants could pass the house outside without being seen from within, but now purports to attempt to prevent sheep getting into the garden to graze!

Around 1830 the house was acquired by John Carstairs, formerly High Sheriff of Huntingdon, Fellow of the Royal Society and a London merchant, for his daughter, Cecil, who was married to Wilson Jones, the great great great grandfather of the present owner. Cecil was previously living at Gelli Gynan at Llanarmon-yn Ial, a day’s journey further into Wales, and felt that the delights of Chester and London were altogether too far away! Many of the family have been members of the armed services in various capacities from the Occupation of Paris in 1815 through the Crimean War and Indian Mutiny to both World Wars. During the Second World War the house was requisitioned and used as a drawing office by cartographers preparing for the Normandy Landings and also used as a hospital for venereal diseases! Hartsheath continues to be a much-loved family home and we hope you enjoy your visit.

Come and Sing Yeoman of the Guard

7th May 2016: Come and Sing Gilbert and Sullivan

Saturday 7 May 2016

St Mary’s Centre, St Mary’s Hill, Chester CH1 2DW

Chester Bach Singers invite you to join them for a fun afternoon of singing and a scratch performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Yeomen of the Guard.

The opera is set in the Tower of London, during the 16th century, and is the darkest, and perhaps most emotionally engaging, of the Savoy Operas, ending with a broken-hearted main character and two very reluctant engagements, rather than the usual numerous marriages. The libretto does contain considerable humour, including a lot of pun-laden one-liners, but Gilbert’s trademark satire and topsy-turvy plot complications are subdued in comparison with the other Gilbert and Sullivan operas. The dialogue, though in prose, is quasi-Shakespearian, or early modern English, in style (from ‘The Yeomen of the Guard’, https://en.wikipedia.org/ [last visited Apr. 6, 2016]).

Book here!To make a booking, please use our on-line booking system. You may pay online (credit or debit card) or on the door (cash or cheque only).

TIMETABLE

12.00 pm – 1.00 pm Lunch (optional).
Tea and coffee available.
1.00 pm – 1.15 pm Singers to register, collect hire copies & be seated.
1.15 pm – 3.00 pm Chorus rehearsal
3.00 pm – 3.30 pm Tea/coffee and home-made cake
3.30 pm – 5.30 pm Informal performance of Yeomen of the Guard.

VENUE AND PARKING

We are holding this event at St Mary’s Centre, St Mary’s Hill, Chester. To avoid any confusion that might arise, this is not the church in Handbridge where we hold one of our Christmas concerts each year but the former church behind the Crown Court (Chester Castle) opposite the ABODE Hotel on the ‘Grosvenor Roundabout’.

There are a number of paying car parks near to the venue, including the Crown Court car park, which is open to the public on Saturday. The Little Roodee Car Park is a short, 5-10 minute walk away and the Wrexham Road (number 33) Park and Ride service drops off close to the venue and provides a convenient alternative to parking in Chester.

FEES AND REFRESHMENTS

The fees for the date are:

Singers £10.00 (this includes tea/coffee and home-made cake)

Score Hire £2.00

Lunch £3.00 – between 12 noon and 1pm there will be the option to have a light lunch consisting of home-made soup and a breadroll. This must be pre-booked.

Audience £5.00 (friends and family who would like to come to the performance starting at 3.30pm should arrive between 3.00pm and 3.30pm and will be welcome to join us for tea/coffee and cake, which is included in the fee)

Book here!To make a booking, please use our on-line booking system. You may pay online (credit or debit card) or on the door (cash or cheque only).

If you require further information, please contact Cath Glazzard by email to cath.glazzard[at]gmail.com or ring Cath Glazzard 01244 383746 or Margaret Newman 01829 770104.

Come and Sing Hadyn Nelson Mass advert

30th January 2016: Come and Sing Haydn’s Nelson Mass

Saturday 30 January 2016

All Saints Church, Hoole, Chester CH2 3HZ

Calling all singers! Join Chester’s finest chamber choir to rehearse and perform Haydn’s Nelson Mass, described by Haydn’s chief biographer, H. C. Robbins Landon, as “arguably Haydn’s greatest single composition”.

TIMETABLE

1.00 pm – 2.00 pm Tea and coffee available.
Singers to register, collect ordered hire music & be seated.
2.00 pm – 4.15 pm Rehearsal with Martin Bussey
and Graham Eccles
4.15 pm – 5.00 pm Break.
Tea/coffee and cake in the church hall
5.00 pm – 6.30 pm Performance.
Friends and family are welcome at no charge.

THE WORK – HAYDN’S NELSON MASS

We don’t know for sure how Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis, which can be translated “Mass in times of trouble and fear”, came to be known as Nelson Mass but, in 1798, when Haydn wrote it, Europe was embroiled in the Napoleonic wars and times were certainly troubled. The news that Napoleon had been defeated in the Battle of the Nile by British Forces led by Admiral Horatio Nelson came just at the time of the first performance of this work and, in the mood of the time, it became known popularly as the Nelson Mass. In 1800 Nelson and Lady Hamilton visited the Esterházy palace and may even have heard the work performed. Haydn’s biographer H. C. Robbins Landon writes that this mass is “arguably Haydn’s greatest single composition”.

GETTING THERE

This year we are holding our workshop at All Saints Church, Hoole (CH2 3HZ). This is the church with the spire on Hoole Road, Chester. It has excellent facilities and is less than 10 minutes walk from Chester railway station. There is very limited parking at the church which we would like to save that for people with reduced mobility – please pre-book a place, if needed. There is also parking in the streets around the church as well as a number of small car parks.

We are very grateful to Hoole United Reformed Church (CH2 3NT) for giving us permission to use its large car park for this event. The United Reformed Church is on your right as you drive towards Chester from the M53/A55. It is then only a 5-minute walk to All Saints. If you do use this car park, we would ask that you make a donation of £2 towards the United Reformed Church’s programme of modernisation.

FEES AND REFRESHMENTS

Workshop fee £15.00 (full-time students £10). This includes coffee/tea on arrival and tea/coffee and a selection of homemade cake in the interval before the performance.

Hire copies of the score can be ordered in advance for £2.00, collected at registration, and must be returned after the performance.

Regrettably, no refunds after 16 January 2016.

If you require further information, please contact Cath Glazzard by email to cath.glazzard[at]gmail.com or ring Cath Glazzard 01244 383746 or Margaret Newman 01829 770104.

HOW TO BOOK:

  1. Download a booking form and send with a cheque by post – Haydn Nelson Mass Booking Form (Event over, booking form no longer available)

 

25th April 2015: Brazilian Adventure Workshop

A choral workshop with Jeffrey Skidmore (Ex Cathedra).

All Saints Church, Hoole, Chester CH2 3HZ

Discover a lost civilisation of great choral music – sophisticated, passionate and intensely spiritual.

Having been at the forefront of bringing South American Baroque music to the attention of European audiences, Ex Cathedra is now leading the way in exploring and championing the little known musical heritage of Brazil. Jeffrey Skidmore Director of Ex Cathedra, who will be leading our Brazilian Adventure writes, “I have made three trips in search of the voice of Brazil  – Amerindian, African and Portuguese – the musical soul of this vast, powerful and mysterious country. The music is sophisticated, profoundly spiritual and passionate and this workshop will introduce the extraordinary repertoire from Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Brazil’s ravishingly beautiful baroque mining town – Ouro Preto – in the mineral-rich mountains of Minas Gerais.”

The music to be studied is late Baroque, early Classical and Early Romantic.  Composers include:

António Marques Lésbio (1639 – 1709)
André da Silva Gomes (1754 – 1844)
José Joachim Enerico Lobo de Mesquita (1746 – 1805)
José Maurício Nunes Garcia (1767 – 1830)

TIMETABLE

09.30 am Registration and coffee
10.00 am Warm up and session 1
11.15 am Break
11.45 am Session 2
1.00 pm Lunch
2.15 pm Session 3
3.45 pm Break
4.15 pm Informal performance

Friends/family are welcome to listen to the free informal performance.  Tea and coffee (small charge) will be available in the church hall from 3.45pm.

This is your opportunity to spend a day with one of Europe’s most exciting Choral Directors.  He is no stranger to Chester.  In 2002 he conducted a large mixed choir of adults and children in an exciting performance of David Fanshawe’s African Sanctus in Chester Cathedral.  In 2004 he ran a very successful Chester Bach Singers workshop on Spanish American Baroque. 11 years later, we are delighted Jeffrey has agreed to direct a workshop to share his latest research in Brazil.

FEES AND REFRESHMENTS

Workshop fee £28 (£20 under 19 or a full time student).

This fee includes hire of all music, which will be issued at registration, and returned at the end of the day. The fee also includes tea / coffee / squash on arrival and during the morning and afternoon breaks.

A two-course lunch consisting of vegetarian soup, bread and dessert is available at an additional cost of £5.  This must be ordered and paid for in advance.

Regrettably, no refunds after 12 April 2015, but we advise early application as numbers are restricted.

To make a booking, please download the Brazilian Adventure Workshop booking form and send, together with a cheque made payable to Chester Bach Singers, to:

Chester Bach Singers
The Firs
Wervin
CHESTER
CH2 4BP

GETTING THERE

This year we are holding our workshop at All Saints Church, Hoole (CH2 3HZ).  This is the church with the spire on Hoole Road, Chester.  It has excellent facilities and is less than 10 minutes walk from Chester railway station.  There is very limited parking at the church but we would like to save that for people with reduced mobility.  Parking in the streets of Hoole is also possible but can be difficult at the weekend.

We are very grateful to Hoole United Reformed Church (CH2 3NT) for giving us permission to use its large car park for this event.  The car park is on your right as you drive towards Chester.  It is then only a 5-minute walk to All Saints.  There will be car-parking attendants on duty and we ask that you make a donation of £2 towards the church’s programme of modernisation.

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24th January 2015: Come and Sing – Elgar’s The Music Makers

All Saints Church, Hoole, Chester CH2 3HZ

Join Chester Bach Singers with their conductor Martin Bussey, pianist Graham Eccles and mezzo-soprano Catherine Backhouse.

This is an opportunity for all singers, including members of church choirs, to rehearse and perform Elgar’s The Music Makers with Chester Bach Singers.

TIMETABLE

1.00 pm – 2.00 pm Singers to register, collect ordered music & be seated.
Tea and coffee available.
2.00 pm – 4.15 pm Rehearsal.
With Martin Bussey and Graham Eccles.
4.15 pm – 5.00pm Break.
Tea/coffee and cake in the church hall.
5.00 pm – 6.00 pm Performance.
Friends and family are welcome at no charge.

THE WORK – ELGAR’s THE MUSIC MAKERS

The Music Makers op. 69 is a cantata for contralto, choir and orchestra based on a poem by Arthur O’Shaughnessy. It was commissioned for, and first performed at, the Birmingham Triennial Music Festival, 1912.

Elgar had been working on a setting of O’Shaughnessy’s Ode for some years already before the commission so it is reasonable to suppose that the poem really appealed to his nature.

We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams…

Later in his life Elgar was to write “I am still at heart that dreamy child who used to be found in the reeds by the Severn side with a sheet of paper trying to fix the sounds and longing for something very great. I am still looking for this.” In Elgar’s own words “the atmosphere of the music is mainly sad” yet, “there are moments of enthusiasm and bursts of joy occasionally approaching frenzy: moods which the creative artist suffers in creating or in contemplation of the unending influence of his creation. Yes suffers – this is the only word I dare use for even the highest ecstasy of ‘making’ is mixed with the consciousness of the sombre dignity of the eternity of the artist’s responsibility.” Much has been made of his use of quotations from his other works – Sea Pictures, Gerontius and Enigma Variations – but Elgar wrote in his original programme notes, “Please do not insist on the extent of the quotations…they form a very small part of the work. These musical quotations form, however, a significant part of the tapestry of The Music Makers.

The work is dedicated to one of Elgar’s dearest friends, Nicholas Kilburn, who exhorted performers to “Sing and play as though you were in dreamland and all will be well”.

GETTING THERE

This year we are holding our workshop at All Saints Church, Hoole (CH4 7HL). This is the church with the spire on Hoole Road, Chester. It has excellent facilities and is less than 10 minutes walk from Chester railway station. There is very limited parking at the church but we would like to save that for people with reduced mobility. Parking in the streets of Hoole is also possible but can be difficult at the weekend.

We are very grateful to Hoole United Reformed Church (CH2 3NT) for giving us permission to use its large car park for this event. The car park is on your right as you drive towards Chester. It is then only a 5-minute walk to All Saints. There will be car-parking attendants on duty and we ask that you make a donation of £2 towards the church’s programme of modernisation.

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FEES AND REFRESHMENTS

Workshop fee £18.00 (full-time students £10). This includes coffee/tea on arrival and tea/coffee and cake in the interval before the performance.

Hire copies of the Novello edition of Elgar’s The Music Makers can be ordered in advance for £2.00, collected at registration, and must be returned after the performance.

Regrettably, no refunds after 12 January 2015.

If you require further information, please contact Cath Glazzard by email to cath.glazzard[at]gmail.com or ring Cath Glazzard 01244 383746, Margaret Newman 01829 770104 or Maire Gibson 01829 720283

To make a booking, please download the Elgar Music Makers booking form and send, together with a cheque made payable to Chester Bach Singers, to:

Chester Bach Singers
The Firs
Wervin
CHESTER
CH2 4BP

10th September 2014: OPEN REHEARSAL

Why not join Chester Bach Singers for an open rehearsal at our rehearsal venue? Sing with us for the evening or just come along and watch. You will be very welcome. No need to book but if you would like more information, contact the choir or join us on facebook.

We welcome singers of all abilities to our open rehearsal on Wednesday, 10th September, 2014 at 7.30pm for a 7.45pm start at the Music Department, Kings School, Wrexham Road, Chester, CH4 7QL. Music will be provided on loan for the evening. The rehearsal will finish by 9.45pm.

We will be focussing on Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb plus other pieces that will feature in our November concert.

17th May 2014 : Here be Pirates!

Saturday, 17th May 2014 (all day, 11am to 5pm)

Welsh Presbytarian Church, St John Street, Chester, CH1 1DA

An all-day celebration of Pirates in music and words with Martin Bussey and the Chester Bach Singers, including an opportunity to rehearse and perform Gilbert and Sullivan’s ‘The Pirates of Penzance’

Chester Bach Singers invite you to join them in an all day celebration of Pirates in words and music. They begin the day with a coffee concert of music and readings, including the CBS Glee club. After lunch join the Chester Bach Singers to sing choruses from Gilbert and Sullivan’s rollicking comic opera, The Pirates of Penzance.

We need a chorus (that’s YOU and choir members) of pirates, policemen and Major General’s daughters who can keep up with the patter of ‘I Am the Very Model of A Modern Major General’ and can lift the roof off with a rousing ‘With Catlike Tread’. Previous experience of choral singing is not essential and everyone is welcome, although the ability to read music score is desirable.

Tickets:
£12 – Adults (all day)
£5 – Children and full-time students (all day)
£2 – Hire of score
£5 – Performance of Pirates Penzance only

Ticket price includes tea and coffee all day. Please ring to reserve a hire copy or to purchase tickets in advance. Tel: 01244 383746 or 01244 538586. Alternatively, please complete the enquiry form at the bottom of this page.

Timetable for the day:

11.00 – 12.00 Coffee Concert
12.15 – 1.00 Lunch break (Bring your own or use one of the many local
cafés in the town centre)
1.00 Collect scores for Pirates of Penzance
1.15 – 2.30 Chorus rehearsal of Pirates of Penzance
2.30 – 2.45 Break
2.45 – 3.40 Performance Act 1
2.45 – 3.40 Interval (Home-made cake will be available to buy)
4.10 – 5.00 Performance Act 2