Singers Flock to St Mary’s to Support Ukraine 

Singers from across Cheshire and beyond combined their voices to raise a sum ‘far beyond expectations’ for the people of Ukraine.

A cheque for £6000 for the DEC appeal for Ukraine, held by Graham Harbage- Chairman of Nantwich Choral Society, John Naylor – Music Director, Carol Seed – organiser of the day, John Lea – President of NCS and Frances Durkin – Treasurer.

Nantwich Choral Society raised £6000 for the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal with a ‘Come and Sing’ event at St Mary’s Church Nantwich where more than 200 singers turned up to perform The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace.

The Society stages regular events where they invite enthusiasts from across the country to join in rehearsals before presenting an evening concert and this was one of their biggest crowds.

Just some of the two hundred singers in St Mary’s Church, Nantwich

Society publicity officer Anne Harwood said: “Singers came from all local areas and from Mid Wales up to Lancaster and Yorkshire, down to Staffordshire and Shropshire. 

“The afternoon was devoted to rehearsals, with a performance with soloist and instrumentalists in the evening. What an atmosphere there was in the church. The sheer emotion of the work brought many to tears.

“We thought we might raise around £2000 but the final figure went far beyond our expectations, thanks to the turn-out and so many people making music together.”

John Naylor, music director of Nantwich Choral Society conducting the evening performance of The Armed Man – A Mass for Peace.

The Armed Man, by Karl Jenkins, tells of the horror of war – the death, the suffering, the flames, the anger. It also tells of the bravery and the sacrifices made and finishes with a hope for an end to war and a future of peace. Better is peace than always war … Ring out the old, ring in the new 

The work was first dedicated to the victims of the Kosovo War but is equally relevant to the present war in Ukraine. 

There was the haunting cello solo in the famous ‘Benedictus’, the trumpeter playing the ‘Last Post’ from the back of the church and rousing choruses. 

John Naylor, the Society’s music director, orchestrated the day and conducted with skill and panache. 

Professional players from the Nantwich Sinfonia, mezzo soprano soloist Susan Marrs and organist Jonathan Layfield contributed to a memorable performance.

All gave their time without usual charges and St Mary’s was given free of hire fees. Entry was by donation by the singers and audience with all net proceeds going to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal.

Society President John Lea, chairman of Mornflake in Crewe, said: “There was a concerted effort by all involved to make this day a big success. Our heartfelt thanks go to everyone who made it just that and gave so generously to the appeal.”

Next for the Society is Petite Messe Solonnelle by Rossini – a jaunty piece not performed in his lifetime because he could not get permission to use female singers.  

This will be performed at St Mary’s Church in Nantwich at 7.30pm on Saturday, July 2 with both male and female singers!

For more information go to or listen to PJ talking to John Naylor from Nantwich Choral Society about the event.