Choral society celebrate 50 years of making music

A town's choral society has celebrated its golden anniversary with a live performance.

Market Drayton Choral Society have celebrated their 50th anniversary with a concert at St Mary's Church
Market Drayton Choral Society have celebrated their 50th anniversary with a concert at St Mary's Church

Market Drayton Choral Society was formed 52 years ago but has not performed since before the pandemic and leaders were pleased to be back.

Francis Peel, the choral society chairman, said Saturday evening's performance of Handel's Messiah had been well received with 150 people in the town's St Mary's Church.

"It was a very good turnout," said Mr Peel. "It has been a funny time for a couple of years during which we were in limbo."

Some 50 in the choir were joined by a 14-strong orchestra and young soloists

Rosa Sparks (soprano), Kanchana Jaishankar (contralto), Henry Strutt (tenor), and Fionn Ó hAlmhain (bass) for the auspicious deferred 50th anniversary celebration.

The society used to run two events every year but has nothing new in the calendar yet. "It is a bit up in the air," said Mr Peel.

Saturday's performance also marked the appointment of a new conductor, David Thomas.

The choir have been on hiatus since March 2020, when pandemic precautions three days before the first lockdown brought performances to a halt.

David Thomas, former Director of Music at Winchester College and with a jam-packed musical career spanning more than 35 years, has recently moved to Shropshire, and Saturday's performance marks his first time directing the choir.

The choir rehearse every Wednesday evening at the Alexandra Road Junior School in Market Drayton from 7.45pm to 9.30pm and new members are always welcome.

Market Drayton Choral Society is a mixed-voice non-auditioned choir which performs at least two concerts each year in and around North Shropshire.

The choir, sponsored by Whitebridge Wines, has established an excellent reputation for giving high-quality performances of works from across the choral repertoire.

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