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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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DECEMBER 2001: CHRISTMAS CONCERT "Joy to the World"

Congleton Choral Society's Christmas Concert, December 2001

The audience had been promised a feast of Christmas music and the packed Town Hall was treated to a musical banquet. Even though seasonal bugs had laid low a number of choir members, it is perhaps a testament to the quality of Congleton Choral society and the dedication of its Musical Director, David Johnson, that they were still able to put on such a polished performance at their Christmas concert.

Mozart's "Sparrow Mass" made a dramatic opening to the concert. There were accomplished solo performances from Kathy Jones (soprano), Mary Murphy (Alto), Stuart Keene (tenor) and James McVicar (Bass). This was followed by a varied programme of festive music with plenty of opportunity for the audience to enter into the spirit of the occasion, joining in with many of the traditional carols.

The Cantilena Orchestra never fails to excite and delight with their youthful but highly professional talent. This occasion was no exception. They brought us a breathtaking performance of Ralph Vaughn-Williams' Fantasia on Greensleeves, featuring harpist Lauren Scott and flautist Carolyn Jones.

Highlights of the second half were Cornelius' The Three Kings in which James McVicar set many a spine tingling against a beautiful background chorale sung by the choir. The lovely Lord's Prayer by Fanshawe was followed by a romping version of Jingle Bells and all too soon we were approaching the close of the evening.

The concert was entitled "Joy to the World" and it was a joy to the ear. We are privileged to have the opportunity to enjoy such musical talent right on our doorstep.

OCTOBER 2001: GALA CONCERT
To celebrate thirty years (1971-2001) presenting musical entertainment of an extremely high quality, the Choir presented a Gala Concert, with the second half presented after the manner of the Last Night of the Proms. On this auspicious occasion presentations were made to the founder of the Society, Mrs Gladys Worthington, now Honorary Vice President of the Congleton Choral Society.

MAY 2001: AFRICAN SANCTUS - Fanshawe
David Fanshawe's 'African Sanctus' is a setting of the Latin Mass which is a carefully balanced synthesis of orchestra voice and recordings. Performed all over the world, every weekend sees a production of this work somewhere. On the 19th May 2001 it was Congleton's turn to experience this dramatic and individual musical work. David Fanshawe himself joined the Choir for the afternoon rehearsal and performance. Prior to the performance he explained his thinking behind the creation of the work and illustrated the meaning behind particular sections of the Sanctus.

The Town Hall had been decked out with African artifacts and tropical plants to enhance the atmosphere of the occasion. The Choir was accompanied by Andy Donaldson on piano and by the shakers, scrapers, cymbals and drums of Percussion Royale.

This brilliantly imaginative interpretation of the Latin Mass incorporates recordings of Islamic and Traditional African religious music made during the cross-shaped pilgrimage through Africa in the late 1960s and early '70s by the British composer David Fanshawe. First performed in 1972 under the title "African Revelations", the work was subsequently revised by the composer after a further visit to Africa in 1973. He decided to rename it African Sanctus, in English, Holy Africa. It took eight years from its conception before the full score was finally composed.

Visit David Fanshawe's own web site and the African Sanctus site for more information.

MAY 2000: B MINOR MASS: Bach
This piece is a challenge to any choir. It was written by Bach in a Heavenly Music style without any thought that it might be sung by human voices.

The Choir was fortunate to have as soloists for the evening Carolyn Sampson (Soprano), who made a very welcome return to Congleton prior to a tour of London and Europe with the Kings Consort; also returning was alto soloist Marjorie Seddon, who is in much demand throughout the North-West. The tenor soloist was Benjamin Layfield, who has an impressive CV, including a performance at the Proms; and finally, but again most welcome, was the return of Jeremy Hagan (Bass) whose repertoire ranges from opera to oratorio.

Joined by singers from other choirs in the surrounding area, the choir was augmented to over 80 voices. Once again, the Cantilena Orchestra accompanied the choir, led by Jane Nossek.

MAY 1999: CARMINA BURANA: Carl Orff and CHICHESTER PSALMS: Bernstein
The Choral Society was joined by the Choir of Boston, Lincolnshire, to perform these two challenging and dramatic works. In a "return match", Congleton Choral Society journeyed to Boston to perform the concert with them again at Boston Stump, the well known landmark church in the centre of Boston.

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