Choristers Sing Out Loud with New President and Plans for February Event

Nantwich Choral Society ended 2021 on a high with its first Family Carol Service for two years and a new President at the helm.

Nantwich Choral Society’s new President John Lea (centre) with conductor John Naylor, Chairman Graham Harbage and Accompanist Simon Russell

The choristers joined with children from Nantwich Young Voices to perform a mixture of music old and new against the majestic backdrop of St Mary’s Church where the Society’s concerts have been enjoyed for nearly 50 years.

There was a warm welcome given to John Lea, a former High Sheriff of Cheshire and owner of breakfast firm Mornflake in Crewe, who takes over the role of President after a long association with the Society.

Mr Lea’s late wife Elizabeth had been a member for many years and served as chairman and publicity officer. A keen singer, she helped organise and promote many key performances down the decades including Handel’s Messiah.

Nantwich Choral Society in full voice

Society spokesman Anne said: “We were thrilled to stage our first Family Carol Concert in two years. So many plans made, amended, cancelled and then finally we were able to join with Nantwich Young Voices for a great evening.

“It was exciting also to welcome our newly-elected President. John’s late wife, Elizabeth, was a leading member of Nantwich Choral Society for many years. We are delighted he has agreed to become President.”

Gaudete (Rejoice!) Piae Cantiones complete with drum and jingle bells provided a rousing start to the evening.

There were traditional favourites including Once in Royal David’s City, While Shepherds Watched their Flocks by Night and O Little Town of Bethlehem.

Nantwich Choral performed various pieces including Rutter’s What Sweeter Music, the French traditional carol A Maiden Most Gentle and the much-loved O Holy Night.

An exciting addition was a newly-commissioned piece Angel’s Song by Andrew Mildenhall who is a composer and former accompanist for Nantwich Choral Society. The audience and Nantwich Young Voices were quick to pick up the chorus and join in.

Nantwich Young Voices had fun entertaining the audience at St Mary’s Church, Nantwich

Anne added: “It was well worth waiting nearly two years to be able to perform this work.”

Nantwich Young Voices, a children’s choir trained so well by Victoria Palethorpe, enthusiastically sang several songs including Hooray in a Manger, The Reindeer Rock and Shine. 

Simon Russell, the accompanist for Nantwich Choral, regularly dashed between the organ and the piano at great speed. His surge of speed did not detract from his brilliant accompaniment.

The Society is now gearing up for its Great Big Come and Sing event at St Mary’s Church on February 5 when the music will be Messiah by Handel with an orchestra and professional soloists.

For ticket information and details on how to become part of the Society go to Nantwich Choral.