Choral society prepares for Messiah concert

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If you could travel back in time, you might well attend a charity performance of Handel’s Messiah at London’s Foundling Hospital.

Instead of the one hundred or so singers that make up Wetherby Choral Society, you would, in 1754, be faced with 19.

Six boy trebles and t13 male singers, singing all the three remaining voices.

Now fast forward yourself to Crystal Palace. The date is 1857. Performances of Handel’s masterpiece have become ever more grandiose.

In this Handel festival you will listen to two thousand singers, accompanied by a correspondingly large orchestra.Nowadays we are used to a version that mirrors the Baroque.

John Dunford, musical director of Wetherby Choral Society, has as a player, singer or conductor, notched up 80-plus performances of Messiah. It is the shifting trends that allow him to find fresh nuances to his approach to this masterpiece that encompasses both the joy of Christ’s coming and his Passion.

The choral society will be joined by soloists: Alexis Cooling, soprano, Claire Filer, alto, Matthew Palfreyman, tenor, Jack Holton, bass. The orchestra: Wetherby Pro Musica.

The concert is at St James’ Parish Church, Wetherby, on Saturday at 7.30pm. Tickets on the door.