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Congleton Choral Society, Congleton, Cheshire, UK

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Making Music Congleton Choral Society is a member of Making Music, The National Federation of Music Societies.

Congleton Choral Society is a Registered Charity
No: 515851

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A Truly Memorable Occasion

The Town Hall was a sell-out for David Johnson’s last concert with the Choral Society on May 2nd, with extra chairs needed to seat the audience. The opening bars of Handel’s ‘Zadok the Priest’ burst into this expectant atmosphere, like a mighty wall of sound, making the hairs on the backs of the audience’s necks stand up.  What a start!!  It would be fair to say that the other Handel Anthem, ‘Let Thy Hand be Strengthened’ despite being lovely to listen to, was a little pedestrian and would have benefited from more finesse in places.

Haydn’s Toy Symphony was a lot of fun with the VIPs suitably embarrassed and both audience and participants loved it enough for an encore.  Aided and abetted by members of the Cantilena Orchestra, our dignitaries on stage were  Ann Winterton MP, Margaret Williamson MBE, Rajan Jedudason, and Gerald Stevens. New Musical Director Nick Hodges and choir members Russell Bromley and Betty Evans completed the musical  line-up.

Then Sir Bernard Lovell gave a wonderfully erudite vote of thanks to David in a loud clear voice.  Gladys Worthington, frail yet determined, followed and Margaret Williamson finished with a measured but glowing tribute, on behalf of the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, thanking David for all his musical contributions to both CCS & Congleton and informing him that he has an invitation in July to a garden party at Buckingham Palace. Russell Bromley, Chairman, gave a vote of thanks from the Choir, and presented David with a thank-you cheque and a parchment appointing him an Honorary Vice President. Russell said this did not entitle him to drive his sheep through our rehearsals but he would get free tickets to our concerts for life.

David read out a poem composed by another choir member, Lorna Stirling, as his thank you speech, which he felt summed up everything he wanted to say  just perfectly.

In the second half the Mozart was worth the wait as the Choir rose to David’s final demands for a fast dramatic performance of the  Requiem and sang lustily, earning a standing ovation for the first time ever.  Perhaps the performance lacked some tenderness in the’ Lacrimosa’ for example and would have benefited from a wider spectrum of feeling, delivering a little too much of the ‘Dies Irae’ mode in other movements.   However the Requiem, sung at full pelt, is a big sing and it went on for nearly an hour leaving the choir quite shattered at the end.  The soloists were superb. There was a stunned silence and then rapturous applause which went on and on.  The orchestra played well, the balance was good and David handled them skillfully. He ended the evening by handing over his baton, literally, to Nick Concannon Hodges, new Musical Director.

So, well-sung, well-balanced, well-received, all came together to make this concert a truly memorable occasion and an evening to remember.

As the Choir enters a new era, if you enjoy singing and have some basic sight–reading ability, why not come along to our open rehearsals on May 11 and 18, and June 1 and 8.

and try us out. We rehearse at Trinity Church, Wagg Street from 7.45 – 9.45 pm.