REVIEW: Come and Sing Messiah

YOU may not have heard of a Come and Sing concert, but it is a wellestablished format and one which gives much pleasure.

The Messiah, on March 1 at St Peter’s Church in Stockbridge, was typical.

It began with rehearsals for a large chorus of enthusiasts at 2pm, with the concert itself at 7.30pm.

Making it happen in a church has its problems.

Tim Lowden, the conductor, had the organist, Richard McVeigh, behind him as he looked down the body of the church, with soloists just in front and the chorus in the central pews, some quite far away.

Nonetheless, he controlled these forces admirably.

Equally impressive was the fact that although the alto soloist was ill, this was overcome by the bass, Jack Butterworth, sight-reading those parts as he sang them.

At the same time the choir, largely local singers who love the Messiah, gave heart and soul and sounded great – a fine performance, much appreciated.

This is one of the ‘fun’ aspects of a ‘come and sing’ event – that the chorus is also a part of the audience and that they were enjoying it as much as the ‘official’ audience did. This concert was in aid of church funds, and we understand that the results were as satisfactory financially as musically.

Altogether in March in Stockbridge we have a rich selection of music.

Stockbridge Music begins its 2014 series on Saturday, March 15, with a wind quintet from The Royal Academy of Music followed two weeks later by the eagerly awaited Sansara Choral Scholars on March 29.

Both of these concerts feature young musicians and thoroughly deserve your support.

HUGH SAXTON

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