Singers raise roof with 56th performance of Messiah at Uppermill Civic Hall

SINGERS raised the roof at the Civic Hall in Uppermill as a capacity audience enjoyed the 56thconsecutive performance of Handel’s Messiah, writes RHW.

The evening was put on by Saddleworth Male Voice Choir and an augmented Ladies Chorus accompanied by the Pennine Orchestra.

The concert started with the traditional singing of Christians Awake (The Christmas Hymn)) and the 75-strong chorus was an impressive sight on stage.

The chorus performed well throughout and the Hallelujah chorus was particularly worthy of mention as it was well controlled and impressive.

The four soloists performed to the high standards and added greatly to the musical success of the evening. April Grime (Soprano), whose background included studying at the University of Leeds for her Masters in Music Performance, gave a tuneful performance.

This was her first time singing the Soprano solo in Handel’s Messiah, although being a ‘local lass’, she has attended the event many times and was excited to be on stage.

Helen Ann Gregory (Mezzo-soprano) is a former student at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) and this was her second appearance and she settled well into this demanding solo part.

John Pierce (Tenor), also a graduate of the RNCM, has become a popular choice for this event, this being his fifth appearance and he did not disappoint with his rich tenor tones and his ability to put so much meaning to his interpretation of the words.

The bass soloist, Thomas D. Hopkinson (another postgraduate from the RNCM), also performing for the first time was outstanding. His sonorous voice filled the hall and his delivery of the notes in his lower range was precise and powerful.

The Pennine Orchestra accompanied the performance throughout to a high standard, and the inclusion of a harpsichord always impresses.

The orchestra also experienced a first in that they saw a change of leadership this year due to the retirement of Donald Clarke after 36 years. On this occasion they were led by Andrew Rostron.

The performance was both efficiently and thoughtfully controlled under the baton of Dorian Kelly, Saddleworth Male Voice Choir’s Musical Director.

Long may this tradition continue of combining the musical talents of Saddleworth into this one major performance, so appropriate to this time of year.

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