The John Rutter Singing Day was held in the beautiful and welcoming Macclesfield Parish Church, St Michael and All Angels, and attracted 403 singers mostly from the North West Midlands, but including carloads from Cumbria and a coach from Coventry. The church, located in the Market Place, was a splendid venue, its ancient Savage Chapel providing an inspiring entry point for registration, and its new glass three-storey narthex enabling refreshments to be enjoyed in comfort, while its spacious nave was given over to broad crescents of seats for the four hundred..
Choral Society members worked closely with the church to make the setting a success, one member making a cistern replacement to enable the in-house loo provision to be raised to four, while another persuaded the adjacent Town Hall to open its facilities, including plumbing, to the singing visitors.
John Rutter worked tirelessly and with infectious enthusiasm through the day to inspire the singers to new levels of confidence with new material, and yet to emphasise that this was an occasion to have fun and simply to enjoy singing together. It certainly succeeded in those respects. For many of the singers, it was the first experience of some of John Rutter’s newer compositions and arrangements, which he introduced with delightful anecdotes. The excellent accompanist was Andrew Donaldson, and the solo mezzo parts were sung by Judith Tinston, who sings regularly with Opera North as well as with Congleton Choral Society.
The church elders confirmed that the building had never resonated before with such as sound as four hundred singing in harmony and fortissimo. These were sounds to remember. It was also certainly a day to remember.