Congleton Choral Society with Congleton Children's Choir's concert Of Love and Music was dedicated to the society's late president Margaret Williamson MBE DL.
It was an absolutely spell-binding concert from beginning to end. The music director, Christopher Cromar, spoke for himself and for the whole Choral Society as he shared some personal memories of the huge contribution made to the Society in various ways by Mrs. Williamson.
This was very helpful to those of us not privileged to have met her. The concert which immediately followed was an outstanding and fitting tribute to a lady very sorely missed.
The first piece was On Angel's Wing by Cecilia McDowall. The atmosphere created by the clear words of the text was enhanced through very careful dynamics and beautiful but very sensitive percussion, at times literally ringing in our ears. Both individually and corporately the choir's response to the conductor was simultaneous and very confident. Soprano soloist Jennifer Rust and baritone Mark Saberton gave completely of themselves in this piece, and in their performances throughout the evening. There was more to come.
Congleton Children's Choir gave an outstanding performance of Captain Noah and his Floating Zoo by Joseph Horowitz (text by Michael Flanders). Although I was sitting right at the back of the Town Hall the children sang powerfully enough to bring me every word and they certainly enjoyed themselves. There was no sign of stage-fright or being distracted by a large audience, including plenty of other children looking over the gallery. A complete surprise after the interval was to hear their very enthusiastic contributions towards the end of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. A huge difference can be made to the lives of our children by encouraging them to perform in this way at a young age. The experience of singing alongside an adult choir with professional musicians builds good performance skills and an abundance of good memories with plenty of fun, right on the doorstep of Congleton residents.
I have only touched on the children's performance in Carmina. Christopher Cromar, every Choral Society member and all the professional musicians, including tenor Nicholas Sales as the Roasted Swan, together raised the standard of this performance of the work to the best I have heard and seen anywhere, sentiments echoed by others near to me. Comments included 'what a fabulous concert! CCS goes from strength to strength' '...loved the joy and enthusiasm of the children as they performed.' 'Carmina Burana - absolutely fabulous'.
At the end, the whole audience was brought to its feet giving tumultuous applause, and rightly so. It was tremendous.
The Choral Society calendar for Autumn 2015 is as follows. On Saturday 17th October Christopher Cromar will lead a public Singing Day of John Rutter's music, in celebration of the composer's seventieth birthday year. This will take place at Congleton United Reformed Church, Antrobus Street. On Saturday 14th November at Congleton Town Hall the Society will perform John Rutter's Gloria and Gabriel Fauré's Requiem and Cantique de Jean Racine.