It was the evening we had all been waiting for as we rehearsed Messiah every Monday, sure that it would be wonderful on the night. And it was
indeed as wonderful as anyone could have wished!
The concert was dedicated to the memory of our late President, Sir Bernard Lovell, so it was an especially meaningful occasion for us. We were happy to
welcome as our guests Sir Bernard's granddaughter, Lucy Driver, with several members of the Lovell family.
The Town Hall was a sell-out, so the atmosphere was already buzzing as people took their seats. The choir members had already heard the orchestra at the
afternoon rehearsal, whereas the audience were still unaware of the treat which awaited them.
The Choir and Orchestra Perform Messiah
Before the performance began, Lucy Driver spoke movingly to the choir and the audience about her grandfather's love of music and his long association and strong bond with the Choral Society.
The opening bars of music left no one in any doubt that the musicians, the Philharmonic Ensemble led by Andrew Orton, were going to deliver a full-bodied performance. And it seemed to go on just getting better, as the rich tones of the tenor soloist's first aria Comfort Ye settled over the audience and the magic of Handel's majestic recounting of the Christmas story took hold.
Our young soloists thrilled the audience with both their expertise and artistry; the trumpeter came as a revelation, with every note seeming effortless; the harpsichord provided that beautiful authentic period sound; the orchestra was polished and hugely professional. The choir reached their best standard yet, achieving the notes, the entrances and the interpretation which Messiah deserves. The moment when everybody stood for the Hallelujah Chorus was a moment to remember in an evening full of memorable moments.
And our Musical Director, Christopher Cromar, was the one who pulled it all out of the hat, with his commitment, raw energy and knowledge. He has helped the choir to be their best yet.
Applause from the Audience
There have been numerous plaudits from the people who packed the Town Hall:
'tears came to my eyes'; 'the enthusiasm and enjoyment of the music by the choir was inspiring'; 'the diction was brilliant'; 'each section of the choir was as one voice'; 'the music filled the hall'; 'timing excellent, the music made me feel alive'; 'if the spirit of Handel was looking down on us, he must have been smiling!'; 'you all seemed supercharged with ambition and desire to do your utmost to rise to the occasion and from this side of the stage, you certainly lifted yourselves into the higher echelons of musical ambition'; 'under Christopher Cromar's masterly direction the choir, orchestra and soloists gave a performance which came from the heart and lifted the spirit of everyone in the hall'.
We have now put Messiah away and on Monday evenings are rehearsing for our Christmas Carols for Choir and Audience, which takes place in Congleton Town Hall on Saturday 22nd December 2012. We will be singing carols old and new, with lusty audience participation required! We have already been reserving tickets, so do get yours early to avoid disappointment.