Historic South Cheshire Choir Sings Out for Ukraine

One of South Cheshire’s oldest choirs is singing out to support Ukraine with a special day where fellow enthusiasts can help raise money for the Disasters Emergency Committee.

Society conductor John Naylor, President John Lea and chairman Graham Harbage

Nantwich Choral Society, founded 50 years ago, is staging a ‘Come and Sing’ event at the town’s St Mary’s Church on May 7 where all monies will go to support victims of the crisis.

Society President John Lea, chairman of Mornflake in Crewe, said: “The events in Ukraine have outraged the world and the Society would like to do its bit to add to the appeal funds.

“There is a tremendous camaraderie among singers and other choral societies who support each other’s concerts. Already there has been much interest and we expect a big turn-out.”

The Society stages regular ‘Come and Sing’ events where singers from across Cheshire and beyond combine voices to stage a concert in the St. Mary’s that evening.

John Naylor conducting the Society, 18th Century Sinfonia and soloists

This time it will be The Armed Man – a Mass for Peace by Karl Jenkins and they will be asked to make a suggested £15 donation to take part. The same will be asked of the audience on admission.

The concert follows on from another successful performance by the  Society – St John Passion by J S Bach.

In his opening address Society chairman Graham Harbage said the  concert was being dedicated to Dr. Elizabeth Lea.

Elizabeth was a popular long-standing member, covering a variety of roles within the choir including Chairman, Vice Chairman and Publicity Officer.

Anne Harwood, who has taken over the publicity role, said: “Elizabeth is sadly missed. However we are very pleased to have a strong link to Elizabeth still, in that her husband, John Lea, has become our President and attended the concert along with some of his family and friends.

“With Easter so close, Bach’s St John Passion with all its drama seemed very appropriate. The focus is on the trial of Jesus before Pilate, the baying of the mob for Jesus to be put to death and the Crucifixion itself. Translated into English so as to be accessible to as many as possible, this dramatic work loses none of its intensity as it progresses to its inevitable conclusion.

“Choir members thoroughly enjoyed the rehearsals leading up to the production under John Naylor’s enthusiastic coaching and exceptional leadership. The rousing choruses were such a pleasure to sing, followed by the lullaby effect of the ending.”

Orchestral accompaniment was by The 18th Century Sinfonia, a professional orchestra playing specialist period instruments creating a wonderful sound.

Soloists: Peter Edge (Christus), Jessica Conway (mezzo soprano), Philip O’Connor (Evangelist), John Naylor (conductor), Joseph Buckmaster (tenor) and Sarah Helsby-Hughes (soprano)

Six soloists added much to the performance, with Philip O’Connor as Evangelist, Peter Edge as Christus, James Hall as Pilate, Sarah Helsby-Hughes, soprano, Jessica Conway, mezzo soprano and Joseph Buckmaster, tenor.

Anne added: “May 7 will be another moving performance. We are hoping to have over 200 singers for the day of rehearsals.

“In the evening there will be a concert of The Armed Man, entry by donation. We would like to make as much money as possible in order to help with the terrible situation in Ukraine.”

All monies will be donated to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal for Ukraine.

For more information and to take part go to Nantwich Choral.