At that time it was common for the rehearsals to last until 1h a.m. As the number of singers grew from day to day and reached the round 40 accompanied with two guitars and two flutes, the need for a conductor emerged. Among themselves singers chose Tomislav Čekolj for a conductor and the Reverend Mato Matić named the choir VIG „Barbara“ (vocal-instrumental group). Encouraged by the parish community, the choir's repertoire became more diverse and demanding since more classical programme took place of the spiritual songs. On the 11th of April 1996., the Choir performed in Zagreb at the XIX Meeting of music amateurs of Zagreb and for the first time under the name St. Barbara parish choir PANIS ANGELICUS. The comment of the concil of judges (S.
Rainis, D. Fio, B. Starc) was: „..all singers are of young age and good singing potential which resulted in nice and vivacious tone.. the choir and the conductor show nice result..“ Inspired by the success, the Choir realized many successful performances and guest appearances in the country (Požega,1998; Rab, 1999; Vukovar, 2003; Rijeka, Istra, 2004 and 2005; Split, 2002-2005; as well as abroad (Henglarn, Bűren, Germany, 1996; Sondrio, Parma Italy, 1997, 2001; Međugorje, BiH, 1997, 2000, 2005; Celje, Slovenia, 2002; Kirchdorf Switzerland, 2004.). In the last ten years the Choir has been performing regulary at the Meetings and competitions of the amateurs of Zagreb as well as different festivals: Festival of spiritual music „Cro patria“in Split, Naš kanat je lip in Poreč, Matetićevi dani in Rijeka and Stepinčeve note in Koprivnica.
In that period, the Choir have had over four hundred performances during the celebration of the Holy Masses and more than twenty concerts in its own parish. The repertoire of the Choir consists of more than one hundred and fifty spiritual and secular songs along with about ten Masses with equal representation of all musical epoches from the Renaissance till nowdays. All members of the Choir hold very special and dear memory from participating along with other church choirs of the Zagreb archbishopric at the great Eucharist celebration in Marija Bistrica during the visit of Holy Father John Paul II. in 1998. In 2003. the Choir recorded its first independent compact disc. ... The title „Alleluia“ (comp.
B. Starc op.) deserved an applause through textual simbolism and modern interpretation while still choral, full of composer's invention, reversals, rhythm and wide harmonic spectrum performed by the Mixed Choir of St. Barbara, „Panis Angelicus“ from Zagreb.. Igor Brešan, Slobodna Dalmacija, 9th of December 2003., 8th Days of Spiritual Music, Cro Patria, Split ... concert evening spiced with excellant first performance of the choir Panis Angelicus.. Sinježana Matejčić, Novi List, 5th of June 2004., Festival „Naš kanat je lip“, Poreč ...
Choir Panis Angelicus is beautiful, young singers are brilliantly prepared.. Marianna Jelicich Buić, La voce del populo, 8th of November 2004., Istra ... Panis Angelicus from Zagreb which cought the attention and refreshed a dominanting gloomy tone with vivacity on the scene .. Tatjana Alajbeg, Slobodna Dalmacija, 29th of November 2005., 10th Days of Spiritual Music, Cro Patria, Split Beside success achieved through dedication to the music, Mixed Choir of St. Barbara, „Panis Angelicus“ also takes pride in gathering of many young people who have been its members through the years and remain so. More than 180 singers that are noted in the Choir's records, have shared a part of their lives with others through song and association.
Some of them for the longer and some for the shorter period of time. Through the years of singing and associating a lot of friendships have been made as well as many relationships, seven of which ended up with marriage. We hope that the friuts of those marriages, ten little Panis children (for now), will become members of the Choir one day. Beside the countless rehearsals and many performances, it is impossible to forget all those „non-obligatory“ gatherings which reinforced our friendships and made us become more than just a handfull of people who love music – they made us become „Panis“. We express our gratitude to all the singers who are not with us any more but they wove a pieces of themselves into the Choir. Tomislav Čekolj (1972.)has been engaged in music since the primary school where he was a member of the school orchestra. He was first introduced to and fell in love with vocal music as a member of the Mixed Chatedral Choir in Zagreb.
He finished the Faculty of Geodesy. Since 1994. he has been acting as a conductor of the Mixed Choir of St. Barbara „Panis Angelicus“ from Zagreb.
He has been improving his knowledge with various conductors and is presently a student of the Vocal Academy (founder and mentor B. Starc.). He is also acts as a guest conductor in other choirs. Read more on Last.fm.
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