Flourishing under the expertise and enthusiasm of musical director Christopher Cromar, Congleton Choral Society recently performed a carol concert that, although traditional, was infused with some beautiful new Christmas music.
Two carols arranged by Bob Chilcott, Mid-winter and Lully, lulla, thou little tiny child, allowed the choir to show their singing strength and sensitivity, with the latter being exquisitely beautiful.
Local musician Sally Drage arranged two lively eighteenth-century carols, Christmas and Hark! What Mean Those Holy Voices?, especially for the choir.
Between the carols, W. Terry Fox (Cheshire's longest-serving Poet Laureate) entertained the audience with atmospheric readings of poems both humorous and poignant. Pieces included Talking Turkeys by Benjamin Zephaniah and The Oxen by Thomas Hardy, concluding with an all-time favourite, John Betjeman's Christmas.
Elin Rees raised the rafters of our grand Town Hall with her accomplished organ playing and rightly received rapturous applause. Pieces included Bach's In Dulci Jubilo and Dubois' Toccata.
Under Christopher Cromar's direction, the choir impressed the audience with their versatility, singing dramatically in John Joubert's Torches, and finally blending harmoniously to wish the audience farewell with We wish you a Merry Christmas.
Many members of the audience commented on their enjoyment of the concert, saying that it had been a privilege to be there and they would be back for more! One seasoned concert-goer reported that he had never heard the choir sing so well. People thought it had been a great idea to include the children in the singing of Away in a manger at the front of the hall. Visitors from London summed up the whole concert as 'absolutely excellent'.
So, as the choir goes from strength to strength, rehearsals have already begun for the Spring concert on April 28th 2012, where they will be performing The Sprig of Thyme by John Rutter and Brahms' Liebeslieder waltzes. If you love music I recommend you be there; I will!