Celebrations for our 70th season got off to a wonderful start last September, heralding the publication of two volumes of ‘The Chipperfield Carols’ by our very own choir member and Patron, Alan Taylor, MBE. Over 100 choir members and friends raised a toast to Alan with a glass of Prosecco and a slice of celebratory cake! We are thrilled that Alan's carols are now available to the public and other choirs and we hope that everyone will enjoy them as much as we do. Our Christmas Concerts on 10th December were sold out followed by a packed charity concert in aid of Cancer Research on 15th December.
After an acclaimed sell out performance of Messiah on 1st April alongside our Patron, world renowned Soprano, Emma Bell, the choir will enjoy a short break for Easter. We will then prepare for our next concert on 10th June of music the choir members have enjoyed singing in the past. Please note the date in your diary, more information will be given as soon as possible.
Here is the review of the memorable and moving performance of Messiah:
What better way to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the formation of Chipperfield Choral Society than by a performance of one of the greatest and best loved Oratorios in the English Choral tradition – Handel’s Messiah.
Saturday 1st April found the Great Hall of The Royal Masonic School Rickmansworth ringing to a vibrant performance of this wonderful work, to a capacity audience of over 500, and with a distinguished quartet of soloists. The choir of over 100 members was joined by their patron, Emma Bell (soprano), Anna Huntley (mezzo-soprano), Tom Robinson (tenor), and Alex Ashworth (baritone), all under the unfailing and inspirational direction of their conductor, Delia Meehan. There was great energy, sustained focus and a real sense of direction in this performance: the long work progressed beautifully from section to section, with the changes between solo arias, recitative and choral movements given space and breadth, with an overall sense of the grandeur of the theme.
The choir showed an inspiring range of power and cohesion in the great choruses, and brought the audience to its feet in the famous Hallelujah movement, with many joining in to sing along with the choir – an exhilarating moment. The more thoughtful and devotional numbers were also given depth and expression : a moment of particular intensity came towards the end, in the dramatic changes during ‘Since by man came death’. There is no doubt that the four soloists gave added inspiration to the choir by their heartfelt and highly professional singing : Handel’s dramatic and devotional music equally expressed by each individual singer. The orchestra of twenty players gave real support and colour to the accompanying score, and particular mention must made be of the sensitive continuo work by the cello and keyboard players.
The whole performance was a fitting celebration of 70 years of this choir’s enduring commitment to producing great musical works to a high standard, within the community. From its earliest days under the direction of its founder, Joyce Herman Allen, CCS has been dedicated to bringing together those who just wish to sing. The extremely high standard achieved is even more impressive because there is no auditioning for membership, nor any previous requirement to read music. The last 26 years of the choir’s thriving life has been under the committed direction of Delia Meehan, where the numbers have consistently increased, and the great sense of community and friendship between choir members and director is clearly seen.
This was an occasion of real significance – the choir was very happy to welcome the daughter of Joyce Herman Allen, Jennifer Sandy, the Mayor of Dacorum, and two previous musical directors. May the choir continue to celebrate in this great tradition, with many more years of enthusiastic and uplifting music making.
J G Watkins
If you would like to join the choir, please come along any Thursday evening to Chipperfield Village Hall at 7 30pm where you will be assured of a warm welcome and some great singing.