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Congleton Choral Society, Congleton, Cheshire, UK

Congleton Choral Society logo
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Congleton, Cheshire
25 miles south of Manchester

New members welcome

For information email us:
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01260 276957

Registered Charity No: 515851

Paul Spicer added zest at the Town Hall on Saturday

Singing is good for you, which is why more than 100 singers came to Congleton Town Hall to sing in a workshop organised by the Congleton Choral Society. Guest conductor was Paul Spicer, a Professor of Choral Conducting at the Royal College of Music and one of the leading choir trainers in the UK. 

Singing well is hard work and the workshop began with a series of warm-up exercises, designed to prepare both the body and voice for the day ahead. (see photo).

 For the first part of the day, Paul had chosen movements from Haydn’s Imperial Nelson Mass, of 1798, which is typical choral music and within the comfort zone of most of the singers.

Then the singers, including members of CCS and others who had travelled from all over the North West, were introduced to more reflective music.  ‘The Evening Primrose’ comes from ‘Five Flower Songs’ by Benjamin Britten, written in 1950 and therefore quite different in style to the Hayden.  Paul reminded everyone that the most important thing for both singers and conductors is the words, which help with the direction and style of the music.

A further challenge was issued, with choruses from ‘An Easter Oratorio’, a work Paul had written himself for the millennium at Litchfield Cathedral.  ‘It is always good to move out of your comfort zone and try to sight-sing music unfamiliar to you’, explained Paul as we began to work on ‘The price of peace’ and ‘Come, Lord Jesus’.

We finished the workshop on familiar choral ground with a return to the ‘Nelson Mass’

Comments were made on the especially good sound from the tenor section during the day.  Sopranos were coached through some especially high notes, producing an effervescent sound.

When asked how they had found the workshop, singers used descriptions such as ‘ challenging, exhilarating, hard work, difficult to go outside my comfort zone, an inspiring conductor, stimulating, good fun, wonderful to sing together’.

At 5pm, Russ Bromley, Chairman, thanked both Paul Spicer and Andy Donaldson, the Choral Society’s accompanist for an excellent day making music, adding ‘everyone has worked incredibly hard and we are all exhausted!’  He reminded the singers that CCS will be performing their own autumn concert ‘A Love for all Seasons’ on Saturday  10th Oct in Congleton Town Hall and all were welcome.