September 26th, 2016

Choir to mark golden birthday

Choir to mark golden birthday Choir to mark golden birthday
Updated: 10:14 am, May 07, 2015

A BOROUGH choir will be marking 50 years together with two special concerts.

Redditch Choral Society will celebrating the milestone by performing at St Stephen’s Church tomorrow (Saturday), as well as in June next year.

The events will be part funded by Redditch Borough Council, while the birthday also coincides with the 50th anniversary of Redditch’s New Town.

The group was set up in 1964 by Alma Bright Clarke after seeing an advert for the War on Want – a campaign to fight international poverty.

The aspiring musician wanted to do a performance of Handel’s Messiah but there was not a choir big enough in the borough at the time.

“I thought why not try and see if we could do it in Redditch? I put an advert in the paper and held a meeting at Redditch County High School, and that’s where it all began.” she said.

The group were recommended a new edition of the piece composed by Harold Watkins Shaw, and Shaw himself conducted it for the group.

Since then Mrs Bright Clarke has conducted the piece and will be doing so at tomorrow’s concert.

The 89-year-old has a wealth of experience, conducting since her early teens and also playing the piano and singing.

At just 13 she used to broadcast a program on the BBC radio show Children’s Hour, while also joining the BBC Midlands Singers as a soloist a few years after.

She said her defining moment over the past 50 years with the choir was when she was invited to join members of the Royal Academy of Music to perform Bach’s Mass in B Minor in 1985 – 300 years after the birth of Bach and Handel.

The Studley resident, who was born in Redditch and was the first person to receive the Mayor’s annual award, added the group now had at least 50 members and continued to go from strength to strength.

“We have a very loyal membership and are always open to new members.” she said.

“I love music so much, as do the musicians themselves. The choir are part of my life really now.”

The first show will take place at 7.30pm, with tickets costing £12 for adults while children are free.

It will include parts of Handel’s Messiah and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with soloists Katie Leaver, Kelly Forrester, Brett Elesmore and International Eisteddfod winner, Andrew Griffiths.

Tickets are available from the ticket secretary on 01527 546735 or from St Stephen’s Church.

A performance of Bach’s the St Matthew Passion, which he composed specifically for soloists with a double choir and orchestra, is planned for June 6.

Anyone interested in joining the group should contact the secretary on 07725 893744.