News FromThe Choir

80th anniversary celebrations cancelled

80th anniversary celebrations cancelled

Thursday 20th August 2020

The choir was well into preparations for a very special event when coronavirus struck and rehearsals had to be cancelled. Our inaugural concert, under the baton of our founder Dr Stanley Vann, was a performance of Bach's St Matthew Passion in April 1940, in the difficult conditions of wartime. Eighty years later, almost to the day, we were to have given a performance of Bob Chilcott's St John Passion and J S Bach's motet Jesu, meine Freude (BWV 227), in celebration of this milestone in the history of our choir.

Unfortunately it was not to be... Rehearsals were going well, the special guests had been invited, the programmes were ready to go to print, but then lockdown began, and it soon became obvious that we had no choice but to cancel the concert. At that stage, we still hoped we might be able to salvage what was to be the climax of our 80th anniversary season, a performance of Sir Edward Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius in Coventry Cathedral in July. However, as the pandemic crisis deepened, we realised that this concert too could not go ahead.

For the Elgar performance, we were going to be joined by Congleton Choral Society, the Coventry Cathedral Singers and the English Symphony Orchestra. It would have been our final appearance with our previous Director of Music, Christopher Cromar, who has since taken up the post of Director of Music at St Andrew's Cathedral, Aberdeen. We wish Chris all the very best in his new role.

It has been disappointing, to say the least, to have to deny our singers the opportunity to rehearse and perform The Dream of Gerontius, and for the work we did in the spring term to be cut short. Although we are uncertain at present when we will be able to start putting on concerts again, there is plenty of planning going on behind the scenes. Even if we were unable to celebrate our 80th anniversary as we intended, we can still look forward hopefully to the next milestone!

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