Our performance of Handel's Messiah to a packed St Mary's Church last Saturday (April 6th) was, coincidentally, 260 years to the day since the last performance that Handel himself attended, in Covent Garden in 1759. He had had to give up conducting the annual performance of his favourite composition, given in aid of the Foundling Hospital, because of his worsening blindness and ill health. Eight days later he died.
It was also 39 years since the Chorale sang it at its first-ever concert, also in St Mary's, when they performed under the name of the St Mary's Chorus.
The packed church heard four talented young soloists at the start of the careers, join with the English Arts Chorale and Orchestra to give a memorable performance.
A selecton of comments from the audience:
'I thought the whole performance was wonderful and totally professional. Fed my soul and soothed my spirit. The soloists (especially Hope Lavelle and Florence Pettet) were consummate performers, although I preferred the voice of Florence because she had a quality that was slightly different as a mezzo-soprano. Hope had a more typical operatic voice, 'top of the range'. How everyone is able to get together to rehearse en masse, I find incredible. Overall, the group sang faultlessly together; ditto for the playing of the orchestra, especially the violins (which, after the piano, is my favourite instrument). I thought Leslie Olive was in control of everything which is a double-star in itself.' Mr D V B, Hove
'Truly wonderful . . . at points, I felt shimmers and vibrations going right through me.' Mrs L S, Banstead
'Thanks again for the amazing evening!' Mr P J, Reigate
'Just lovely'. Ms R G, Chiswick
'Inspirational!'. Mrs E H
'Uplifting and beautifully performed - as usual'. Mrs M E, Reigate
At a reception for Friends and Sponsors before the concert, Patrick McIntosh of our new corporate sponsors, KMG, ceremonially presented a 'big' cheque to Leslie Olive, in the presence of the Mayor of Reigate, Councillor Dorothy Ross-Tomlin. We are most grateful for their support.