Mirabilé: a short history


The Mirabilé Vocal Ensemble was established by the late Joy Nicol, and comprises experienced, auditioned singers, who all reside in the Nottinghamshire area.
Members of Mirabilé have varied musical backgrounds, with both choral and soloist experiences, including performances with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, English National Opera, Covent Garden Festival Opera, D'Oyly Carte (UK tour), Nottingham Festival Opera, Waterford International Festival of Light Opera, International Festival of Gilbert and Sullivan, the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and Cantamus. In 2011, Roselise Gentile took over the Musical Directorship of Mirabilé. Roselise is a renowned Italian choral and orchestral conductor and under her guidance Mirabilé covers a versatile range of repertoire, featuring solo to full ensemble. A distinctive characteristic of Mirabilé is to present in the first part of their concerts works from the vast, yet seldom performed, classical female choral repertoire from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries, and to focus the second part on more varied non-­‐classical repertoire. Mirabilé has an active concert diary and is often invited to perform in prestigious venues around England. Mirabilé has taken part in both national and international festivals. In addition, the ensemble has performed for the Royal Society of St George at the Albert Hall, Nottingham. In 2012, Mirabilé toured Italy, performing in the Basilica di San Lorenzo in Lucina in Rome, within the international festivals "Festival Terre di Scansano" in Scansano, "Musica in Aulis" in Bolzano, and "Corti, Chiese e Cortili Festival" in Bologna. Another feature of Mirabilé Vocal Ensemble is the love for new and exciting challenges. In June 2013 Mirabilé performed in Nottingham with the "Zaporozhian Cossacks" dancers, and earlier this year with Blake, during their UK tour “Blake in Harmony”. In 2014, Mirabilé performed concerts in some of the greatest of English cathedrals, including Manchester, Liverpool, Lincoln, Gloucester, and Durham, and, following the great success of a similar series of concerts in the summer of 2012, Mirabilé returned to Italy on another tour to participate in the "Morellino Classica 2014", "Civita Festival" and "Soli Deo Gloria" international festivals.
In July 2016 Mirabilé won in the Female Ensemble category at the international Eisteddfod competition in Llangollen.

Listen to Mirabilé





Mirabilé Vocal Ensemble


Our voices


Bernie Bracha

Bernie began singing as a teenager with Burnley Youth Choir before studying music and education at Leeds Trinity University. She taught music to advanced level in secondary schools in the North West and Nottingham for many years before becoming a freelance music consultant in 2012. Bernie recently completed a conducting diploma with the Association of British Choral Directors and is musical director of two community choirs in Nottingham.

"My Mirabilé highlight so far is performing in the beautiful Abbey of Monteveglio as part of our 2012 Mirabilé tour. Receiving a standing ovation from the Franciscan friars and nuns was a special moment which will stay with me for ever."

Lucy Collier

Lucy has been singing from a very early age and her first public performance was in Manchester, when she took the lead role in the musical Oliver! Following this, she joined the school choir and sang as a soloist in various concerts and competitions. Lucy continued to develop her singing as part of Viva Voce, an SATB choir at Nottingham University where she studied for her music degree. After graduating, Lucy decided to stay in Nottingham and, to continue singing music of a high standard, joined Mirabilé where she continues to enjoy the challenge that every new piece brings.

"I enjoy the range and complexity of repertoire we are able to bring to life with Mirabilé. Every concert proves to be a new and exciting challenge!"

Emily Cousins

Emily first discovered a love of singing at an early age when she was fortunate enough to become a girl chorister at Lincoln Cathedral. Since then, she has sung with many different groups - including choral societies and chamber choirs - and enjoys exploring a range of repertoire. Emily has also founded and conducted a local choir in Lincolnshire.

"Whether it's gospel, classical or musical theatre, I love a good melody and I am passionate about sharing the joy of singing with as many people as possible."

Rebecca Dewey

Rebecca has always been greatly involved in making music, reportedly since before she was born! Having sung almost continuously since the age of seven, she has performed in many groups of all shapes and sizes, from school choirs and the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain, through to the Manchester University Gilbert and Sullivan Society. Alongside being an active member of Mirabilé, Rebecca maintains a broad interest in all musical genres and sings in a rock band.

"Being a member of Mirabilé is so motivating. I feel encouraged to constantly work on my voice and I am relishing the challenge of singing with a talented group of fellow vocalists performing at such a high standard."

Margaret-Anne Dickie

Margaret-Anne began singing as a teenager in church and in school productions. She then joined Kilmarnock Operatic society. After moving from Scotland, she always found a musical interest in each new location. She has sung in a wide variety of choirs including choral, madrigal, and ensemble singing, competing in numerous competitive music festivals.

"On first hearing Mirabilé, I was so impressed by their beautiful sound and was delighted to become part of something special. Rehearsals are hard work and challenging, however the final results are hugely rewarding."

Ruth Gangneux

Ruth has been involved with music all her life. She was a founder member of the Cantamus girls' training choir and went on to sing with the main choir for many years. She went on to achieve grade 8 of the ABRSM in piano and voice before studying for a degree in Music and French. She also enjoys singing with the recently formed ex-members choir Cantus Amici. She is a teacher of modern foreign languages in Nottingham by day, but her passion is music and she is delighted to be singing with Mirabilé.

"It's an absolute pleasure to sing with Mirabilé, the standard is extremely high and it’s great to be challenged musically once again"

Hilary Gaw

Hilary grew up in Wales where there is a long tradition of choral music and has been singing in choirs and eisteddfods for as long as she can remember. As a teenager she sang with the Welsh Youth Choir performing nationally in concerts, at garden parties, choral festivals and once enjoyed the privilege of singing to the Prime Minister on a state visit to Wales. She went on to enjoy musical theatre performing at the Bristol Hippodrome as both a soloist and as part of the chorus and has sung in numerous mixed choirs in England and Wales. Lately, her passion for singing led her to audition for Mirabilé where she is enjoying being part of a female ensemble and rising to the challenge that each new piece brings.

"I couldn’t imagine a life without song!"

Josie Lee

Josie discovered her love of singing at senior school, achieving her grade 8 and singing with a number of choirs, most notably the National Youth Choir of Great Britain with whom she performed in prestigious venues and took part in an incredible world tour. Continuing to sing whilst at Nottingham University with the chamber choir, Josie was delighted to be invited to be a founder member of Mirabilé and has relished the challenge it presents ever since.

"Performing with Mirabilé is a fantastic experience. There is nothing like the buzz of singing beautiful, challenging music at a really high standard. I always find it amazing how our different voices blend together to create such a wonderful sound."

Geraldine McElearney

Geraldine was born and raised in Nottingham. She developed an early love of choral singing through school, church, and the county music school, where she sang in girls' and mixed choirs, and the small, select madrigal group. She was also a member of the Newstead Abbey Singers, the adult choir of St Mary the Virgin (Lace Market), and the National Youth Choir of Great Britain. A Level years were spent in the celebrated music department of Clarendon College, from where Geraldine went on to study singing through degree and postgraduate levels at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, with regular solo and choral engagements. 
 
Having worked in London for many years in several marketing and communications roles, Geraldine returned to Nottingham in 2011. She resumed singing after a long break, and has since enthusiastically taken up work as a singing teacher, working both privately and in various local schools.

"Choral and ensemble work has always been my main passion as a singer, so it's such a joy to be part of a really excellent group like Mirabilé.
"

Lizzie O'Nions

Lizzie is a founder member of Mirabilé and was first inspired to start singing at the age of 14 when she joined a local operatic society in her home town of Liverpool. Since then she has performed with many groups across the North West and the East Midlands in a wide range of productions from Grand Opera to Gilbert and Sullivan to Sondheim, as well as taking part in festivals in both the UK and Ireland and more recently in Italy with Mirabilé.

"Being a member of Mirabilé has provided me with a unique experience to sing in a small, friendly ensemble and has opened up new horizons in terms of repertoire and standards."

Carolyn Owen

Carolyn has always enjoyed singing but was a relatively late starter to performing in public, joining her local operatic society in her early 20s. As she moved around the country she performed in a variety of concerts and popular musicals including Hello Dolly, Fiddler on the Roof and many Gilbert and Sullivan favourites. After settling in Nottingham, Carolyn joined the West Bridgford Operatic Society, where she met musical director Joy Nicol, who invited her to become an early member of Mirabilé.

"Singing with Mirabilé has given, and continues to give me one of the most challenging, enjoyable and rewarding experiences ever."

Debra Sansom

Debra began her singing career performing in school assemblies. She then progressed to performing with the Ruddington and District Choral Society before spending many happy years with the Nottingham Arts Theatre and The Nottingham Operatic Society which allowed her to grace such stages as The Nottingham Playhouse and The Theatre Royal. Debra had principal roles in the musicals The Pyjama Game and as Queenie in Showboat. In more recent years Debra has performed in a 60s band called The Dansettes and she can still be seen doing the occasional gig when asked. Debra also enjoys singing with her husband Mark who is an accomplished guitarist. They enjoy recording songs together and have made several CDs. Joining Mirabilé has led Debra in a completely different direction.

"The challenge is immense and I'm loving it!"

Alison Smith

Alison started singing as a young child and progressed onto Grade 8 in her teenage years. She has performed in many vocal groups ranging from madrigal groups, chamber choirs, barber shop quartets and now Mirabilé.

"I really enjoy the blend of sound and harmonies that we make in Mirabilé and feel that we really communicate our pieces well as we perform all pieces without reading."

Associated members


Sarah Burgess

Sarah has been involved in various forms of music from a young age, but only really got into singing when she sang first as an exhibitioner then as a choral scholar with her college choir at Cambridge University. She has since sang in various choirs from chamber-size upwards in a variety of different genres.

"I was delighted to be offered the opportunity to sing with such a skilled, versatile and friendly group, and am very grateful for the welcome I received when I first visited!"

Liz Leigh

Liz has enjoyed singing and playing music from a very early age. After studying Music at Lancaster University and then Education at Durham University, she taught music in a secondary school for several years. She has sung with various choirs and played in a number of orchestras. She directs a local church choir and sings with Preston Orpheus Choir as well as Mirabilé.

"Singing with Mirabilé is a real privilege. The standard achieved on our recent tour to Italy was so rewarding."

Hannah McDonald

Hannah is a young soprano who read Music at the University of Nottingham, graduating in 2012. During her study she performed operatic roles including The Queen of the Night in Mozart's The Magic Flute, Geraldine in Barber's A Hand of Bridge and light Gilbert and Sullivan roles. She is building upon a lifetime's love of music, turning her focus to the study of languages for singing while undergoing further vocal training. Hannah now resides locally in the Nottingham area and is very happy to be a part of Mirabilé.

"Ensemble work is full of very rewarding challenges. To explore them with such a close knit group like Mirabilé is a truly special experience."

Laura Parton

Laura began singing at school, taking lead roles in the school's productions of Les Miserables, Guys and Dolls and West Side Story. She went on to read music at Lancaster University where she majored in performance on the flute. During this time she was an active member of the music society, co-coordinating the society's choir and taking the role of principal flautist in the wind band and the orchestra. Laura now works as a music and performing arts lecturer at a college for adults with special educational needs. When not singing with Mirabilé she also sings with Preston Orpheus Choir and plays in Preston Concert Band.

"I enjoy singing with like-minded people in Mirabilé and expanding my choral repertoire."

Friends that work with us


Susan Foster

Susan has been playing the piano since she was 7 years old. In her younger years, she won many prizes at various music festivals in the West Midlands, notably Birmingham.
For the last 25 years she has been playing Chamber Music (piano trios, quartets and quintets) and is currently in 8 separate groups!
She was invited to accompany Mirabilé in early 2013 which has been a great challenge. This resulted in a concert with Cossack dancers at the Nottingham Arts Theatre and a tour of 6 cathedrals during 2014.



Mirabilé's agenda


Mirabilé "Best Female Choir" at Eisteddfod 2016

2014 UK Cathedral Tour

2014 Tour to Italy

2012 Tour to Italy

VIAGGIO ITALIANO - ITALY JUNE 2012

In June 2012 Mirabilé travelled to the home of Opera to take part in a number of International Festivals allowing us our first taste of European recognition!

A number of our concerts were part of renowned Italian festivals, including the "Festival Terre di Scansano" in Tuscany; the "International Festival Musica in Aulis" in Appiano (Bolzano) and the "Corti, Chiese e Cortili Festival" in Monteveglio (Bologna). We were hoping to perform in the "Soli Deo Gloria International Season" in Reggio Emilia but unfortunately our concert was cancelled due to a natural disaster in the form of an earthquake!

We peformed a mixture of both classical sacred music and lighter pieces ranging from Pergolese's beautiful "Stabat Mater" to traditional English folk music finishing off with the frenetic Mexican "Las Amarillas". Mirabilé were fortunate enough to receive standing ovations wherever we went from our appreciative Italian audiences!

The tour was a fantastic experience for everyone both musically and socially. The Italians were fabulous hosts and we made the most of the delicious Italian cuisine. It was a wrench to leave the beauty and warmth of Italy but we returned revitalised and enthusiastic for the upcoming year, ready for new repertoire and exciting concerts.

UK CATHEDRAL TOUR 2014

In 2014 Mirabilé undertook a musical tour performing lunchtime concerts in some of England’s finest cathedrals. Over the course of three months we covered many miles, from our first concert at Durham Cathedral to our last concert at Gloucester Cathedral. Luckily our second concert of the tour did not require as much travel as we were fortunate to be able to perform an intimate concert in the Chapter House at Lincoln Cathedral. We performed twice in the north west of England, firstly in the world’s 5th largest Cathedral in Liverpool and we returned one month later to perform at the smaller Manchester Cathedral. Our final concert was in April, at Gloucester Cathedral. Each venue was very different and unique and we were warmly welcomed in every single place.

Photos to follow. Visit this page again soon!

ITALIAN TOUR 2014

After such a successful tour in 2012, Mirabilé returned to Italy in July of this year, performing a whistle-stop tour of four concerts in four days, across three festivals! As with all our concerts we performed a mixture of both classical and more contemporary repertoire ranging from Debussy, Fauré, and Duruflé to Karl Jenkins “Adiemus” and “The Rhythm of Life” from the musical “Sweet Charity”! All were very well received by the audiences.
Our first concert was in the church of San Bartolomeo a Monte Oliveto, in the picturesque city of Florence. However, we did not get any time to look around Florence as we had to depart early the next morning for our next destination of Civita Castellana, near Rome. Here we took part in the “Civita Festival Series” and performed our first outdoor concert in the beautiful surroundings of the Cortile della Curia Vescovile (Courtyard of the Bishop). Fortunately in Civita Castellana we had more time to relax and took the opportunity to indulge in in some sightseeing!
For our third concert we returned to Tuscany to participate, for the second time, in the Morellino Classica International Festival. However, this time round we performed outdoors in the picturesque surroundings of the Teatre sull’Acqua (Theatre Next to the Water) at the Sasseta Alta in Scansano. It was for this concert that we learnt the Tuscan folksong “Maremma Maremma” which was much appreciated by the audience!
The final concert in our whistle stop tour entailed a 300 km trip north to Rubiera in Reggio Emilia to perform in the “Soli Deo Gloria” concert series. Last time we came to Italy we had to cancel our concert in Reggio Emilia due to an earthquake, but fortunately there were no such disasters this time!
Yet again we had an amazing experience and were fortunate enough to perform in some amazing venues with very appreciative audiences. Hopefully we will be returning very soon!

Photos to follow. Visit this page again soon!

Mirabilé Vocal Ensemble wins best female choir in the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod

On Saturday 9th July 2016, Mirabilé Vocal Ensemble travelled to Wales to compete in the prestigious Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod festival. Four thousand performers from countries around the world came to sing and dance at the renowned festival, which is a unique combination of competition and performance.
Mirabilé performed a programme of four contrasting pieces, singing music in Latin and English, which varied in style between sacred, secular, spiritual and folk. They beat established choirs from Canada, the Czech Republic and the UK to win the title of best female choir at the festival. This was Mirabilé’s first appearance at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.
As winners of the female choir category, Mirabilé were then invited to perform in the prestigious ‘Choir of the World’ gala performance later that evening, competing against the festival’s other winning choirs for the famous Pavarotti trophy. This took place in the Pavilion, in front of an audience of thousands. The ‘Choir of the World’ finale was also broadcast live on television. Mirabilé were delighted to be awarded third place.

For more information on Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, visit:
http://international-eisteddfod.co.uk/

Televised performances can be viewed on:
www.llangollen.tv





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Rehearsals

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Auditions:

we are looking for trained voices (especially first sopranos) to reach our ideal number of singers.
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