Alnwick & District Choral Society

President, Her Grace, Elizabeth, Duchess of Northumberland


Spring Concert ~ Haydn - Little Organ Mass/Stabat Mater, 29th March 2009

Northumberland Gazette, 2nd April 2009
The Choir ready for their performance

Last Sunday’s concert by Alnwick & District Choral Society had a special poignancy for Colin Start, the conductor, and the members of the choir. The concert was dedicated to Colin’s father who had sadly died earlier in the week.

Not only was it a tribute to the life of Colin’s father but it also celebrated the anniversaries of Henry Purcell, Charles Avison, Felix Mendelssohn, Franz Joseph Haydn and George Frederic Handel.

The choir was supported by a small orchestra together with Scott Grey, their resident pianist, who played a Chamber Organ.

Charles Avison’s “Hast not thou forsaken me” was a tour de force. Three choir members, Margaret Watchorn, Soibhan Stevenson and Peter Brown gave faultless solo performances producing, with the choir, a truly spine-tingling experience.

One of the highlight of Haydn’s “Little Organ Mass” was the Benedictus sung by the soprano, Claire McKenna, from Lesbury, who is studying for her Mmus at Trinity College. Her voice has the richness of a fine wine combined with the smoothness of silk. She is certainly a star to look out for in the future. She and Michael Allsop, were the soloists in Handel’s Messiah. The unique quality of Michael’s excellent counter-tenor voice gave an unusual but vibrant dimension to this well known work.

Throughout the entire concert the choir was in tremendous form giving a performance of which Colin’s father would have been proud. The final piece was the “Hallelujah Chorus” for which the audience, in true tradition, stood. It can be said, therefore, without fear of contradiction, that the concert ended with a standing ovation. The choir, soloists and musicians certainly deserved one.

The Society’s next concert will be “The Merry Widow” to be performed at The Playhouse, Alnwick on Saturday 11 July. Claire McKenna will be giving a solo concert in aid of the organ fund at St Paul’s Church, Alnwick on Sunday 19 July.

The choir and soloists after their triumphant performance