On the cold, bright and sunny afternoon of April 2nd Stour Choral Society pulled off a magnificent performance of Handel’s Messiah at Mistley Church. The concert formed the long awaited 50th Anniversary celebration of the choir’s beginning in 1971 and had originally been planned for spring 2020. A global pandemic got in the way, causing it to be postponed on more than one occasion over the next two years. That is not to say that Covid didn’t interfere this time, turning up like a bad penny among choir members and soloists alike, threatening the concert until the 11th hour. But the show must, and did, go on, albeit with a last-minute soprano soloist substitution and a few chorus members down.
The concert was ably led and conducted by Susie Hyman, with musical accompaniment provided by Stephen Smith on the Organ, Jonathan Abbott and Glyn Sweeting on trumpets and Ben Steinitz on Timpani, which added wonderfully to the drama and triumphal spirit of the Hallelujah Chorus.
The soloists were Peter Grevatt, Bass, Mitesh khatri, Tenor, Joanna Arnold, Mezzo soprano and Anna Maria Hyman, Soprano. Special thanks go to Anna who stepped in for Lindsay Gowers who unfortunately became unwell only a few days before the concert. All four soloists sang superbly, weaving their magic with beautifully executed recits and arias. The choir, which was in enthusiastic voice, propelled the work forward with familiar uplifting choruses such as ‘And the Glory of the Lord, ‘Unto us a son is born’ and ‘Behold the Lamb of God’, delivering the emotional and impactful messages of Easter in a way which would have impressed Handel himself.
The ‘Hallelujah chorus’ saw the audience on their feet with appreciation. Comments ranged from ‘stunning performance’ to ‘superbly uplifting’ and ‘a truly wonderful preparation for Easter’
Congratulations to everyone involved in the preparation and performance of such a wonderful concert which provided a rousing and memorable afternoon for our community.