Past Choral Society Music Events

Recent Concerts, Singing Days and Civic Services

Congleton Choral Society has a long and proud history. Since 1971 it has brought fine music to Congleton and has provided an unrivalled opportunity for local people to experience the thrill of singing to appreciative audiences.

Below is a record of our Concerts and Singing Days since December 2021; they give a flavour of what has been achieved in recent years. We have also included our involvement in the recent Civic Service. For events before 2021 we have

Songs of the Earth

Sat, 13 Jul 2024
The theme of our Summer Concert was Creation: the Natural World and its future, and our place as custodians who also celebrate the joys and pleasures we find there.
  1. Evening Hymn - Balfour Gardiner
  2. Creation Song - Bob Chilcott
  3. Dusk Falls (from The Gardener) - Lucy Armstrong
  4. Five Mystical Songs - Ralph Vaughan Williams
  5. Linden Lea - Ralph Vaughan Williams
  6. An Die Nachtigall - Johannes Brahms (Bass solo)
  7. Stridono Lassù - Ruggero Leoncallo (Soprano solo)
  8. Songs My Heart has Taught Me - Bob Chilcott
  9. Earthrise & The World Awakens (from Our Future in your Hands) - Laura Attridge

Conductor: Tom Newall
Pianist: Rachel Fright
Baritone: Graham McCusker
Soprano: Fiona Finsbury

For further information about the music, you can download the "Concert Article" and the "Concert Programme" below.

Concert Programme

Civic Service for Congleton Town Mayor, Cllr Kay Wesley

Sun, 2 Jun 2024
Music sung by the Choral Society
It's all I have to bring today - Jamie Cumming-Wesley
From a distance - Julie Gold [everyone invited to sing]
The Music Makers (excerpt) - Edward Elgar
Bridge over Troubled Waters - Simon & Garfunkel [everyone invited to sing]
Hometown - Kieran Wesley [Played by the Wesley Boys with the Choral Society backing]
Up where we belong - Nitzsche, Sainte-Marie & Jennings, arr. Jo Beesley {everyone invited to sing]
The National Anthem [everyone invited to sing]

Musical Director: Tom Newall
Pianist: Simon Russell

Cllr Kay Wesley 

Order of service

Elgar's Music Makers & Puccini's Messa di Gloria

Sat, 13 Apr 2024
Two vastly contrasting pieces:
The Music Makers - Elgar
Messa di Gloria - Puccini

Both Puccini and Elgar were famous in their lifetimes. Think of a great English composer with memorable tunes and Elgar comes to mind. Think of a great Italian composer with memorable tunes and Puccini presents himself.
Puccini composed the Messa di Gloria  as his graduation exercise with its first performance in Lucca on July 12, 1880 but was not performed until sixty years later. Elgar composedThe Music Makers  for the Birmingham Festival in 1912 and was his last major choral work. The piece is satisfyingly scattered with musical references to his other works: The Dream of Gerontius, Sea Pictures. his Symphonies, the Violin Concerto and "Nimrod" (from the Enigma Variations).

Orchestra: The National Festival Orchestra , leader: Sally Robinson
Conductor: Tom Newall
Mezzo-soprano: Emily Howard Cobley
Tenor: Seán Ruane
Bass: Miles Taylor

Comment from the audience:
"How lucky are we here in Congleton, to have such a wonderful Choral Society. The concert on Saturday was sublime, a wonderful night out; outstanding singing accompanied by a fabulous orchestra"

Concert Programme

Christmas Concert

Sun, 10 Dec 2023
We sang carols old and new - some for for choir and some for both choir and audience

The carols by the choir were
  • Sans Day Carol, a traditional Cornish carol arranged by John Rutter
  • Four carols from The Manchester Carols by Sasha Johnson Manning & Carol Ann Duffy (see note below**)
  • Sure on this shining night by Morten Lauridsen
  • On this silent night by Sarah Quartel
  • The crown of roses by Tchaikovsky
  • The truth sent from above, a traditional English tune arranged by Vaughan Williams
The Audience joined in with these carols (all arraned by David Willcocks unless otherwise stated)
  • Deck the hall with boughs of holly, a traditional Welsh carol
  • The first Nowell, a traditional English carol
  • Good King Wenceslas from Piae Cantiones
  • Hark! the herald-angels sing by Felix Mendelsshon
  • O come, all ye faithful by J F Wade
  • A Merry Christmas, traditional English arranged by Warrell
** Poet, Carol Ann Duffy, writes in the Foreword to The Manchester Carols: "Whether we have Christian faith or not, the Christmas story is a wonderfully powerful one...It celebrates the great joys of love, in all its forms, but the light of love is burning against the darkness of hatred and oppression...I wanted to write carols which reflected this but which were, above all, brimming with joy."

Conductor: Tom Newall
Pianist: Rachel Fright

Comments from the audience
'The choir was great, as usual!'
'The content was refreshingly different from the usual carol concert.'
'The music was beautiful.'

Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle

Sun, 5 Nov 2023
The main work in our concert was Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle which is neither little nor solemn! On the contrary, it’s big, exuberant and joyful; a wonderful musical experience for performers and audience alike.

We began the concert with Palestrina’s unaccompanied Sicut Cervus. It is one of Palestrina’s most popular and beautiful motets, and expresses a gentle spiritual yearning and longing for God.

Conductor: Tom Newall
Pianist: Rachel Fright
Harmonium: Tomek Pieczora

Sarah Helsby Hughes
Contralto: Kathleen Wilkinson
Tenor: Philip Clieve
Bass: Miles Oliver Taylor

'Messa di Gloria' Singing Day

Sat, 16 Sep 2023
Messa Di Gloria Singing Day Banner

A fantastic day singing Puccini’s Messa di Gloria with Tom Newall, Conductor and Rachel Fright, Pianist.
A whirlwind of a day (and we just about sang every note!) Our season has got off to a flying start.

Comments from some participants

"what a fab fun filled day"
"Great day, thanks to all involved in organising"

Music to Make the Soul Sing

Sat, 15 Jul 2023
Programme CoverCongleton Choral Society’s Summer concert 2023 was dedicated to the memory of our late accompanist, Andrew Green. We sang some of Andrew's favourite music:
  1. I was glad -Parry, Charles Hubert
  2. The Bluebird - Stanford, Charles Villiers
  3. Requiem (excerpts) - Fauré, Gabriel
  4. Elijah (excerpts) - Mendelssohn, Felix
  5. Jubilate Deo - Britten, Benjamin
  6. Beatus Vir - Monteverdi, Claudio
  7. O magnum mysterium - Lauridsen, Morten
  8. Ave verum corpus - Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus
  9. Up where we belong - Nitzsche, Sainte-Marie & Jennings, arr. Beesley, Jo

Concert Programme

Beautifully Baroque!

Sat, 1 Apr 2023
Event bannerGeorge Frideric Handel: Dixit Dominus
George Frideric Handel: Zadok the Priest
Johann Sebastian Bach: Magnificat
  • Tom Newall — Conductor
  • Daniella Sicari — Soprano
  • Rachel Abbott — Soprano
  • Emily Howard — Mezzo-soprano
  • Alex Kirkland — Tenor
  • Jordan Harding — Baritone
  • Baroque in the North period-instrument orchestra, leader Amanda Babington
Comments from the audience
"Super concert!"
"Zadok the Priest was electrifying!"
"The concert was enthralling, you really got the genuine Baroque vibe."
"As soon as I heard that first note of Zadok the hairs on the back of my neck stood up!"
"Brilliant concert last night - really enjoyed it. Very professional. A credit to you all."

Concert Programme

Christmas Concert 2022

Sat, 17 Dec 2022
Christmas 2022 Concert bannerCarols old and new, including
Cecilia McDowall’s A Winter’s Night
and music from S J Manning’s Manchester Carols.

Carmina Burana

Sat, 19 Nov 2022
Banner for the Autumn ConcertCarl Orff: Carmina Burana
Lili Boulanger: Soleils de Septembre
Igor Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms
  • Tom Newall — Conductor
  • Daniella Sicari — Soprano
  • Joe Buckmaster — Tenor
  • Jordan Harding — Baritone
  • The Junior Choir of the King’s School Maccelsfield, Conductor Paul Vowles
  • Roderick Barrand and Lauryna Sablevicuite — Pianos
  • Percussion ensemble
Comments from the audience
‘Astonishing performance of a really challenging programme, congratulations!’
‘The last chorus from Carmina Burana was spine tingling!’
‘Very impressed with the volume and quality of sound from the choir.’
‘.One of the choir’s best performances … loved the Carmina. Percussion and soloists brilliant.’
‘The soloists were exemplary, especially Congleton’s own Jordan Harding, whose beautiful voice had the perfect sonority for the part.’
‘The programme was diverse and exciting; the performance standard incredibly high — it made me feel proud to come from Congleton. I’m looking forward to the Christmas Concert on the 17th December.’

Feel the Spirit: Singing Day with Bob Chilcott

Sat, 1 Oct 2022
Banner for Singing Day with Bob ChilcottFeel the Spirit: A Singing Day with Bob Chilcott

Featuring Bob’s recent choral compositions, Creation Song and Songs my Heart has Taught Me.

Feel the Spirit: A Concert of African-American Spirituals

Sat, 16 Jul 2022
Concert web bannerFeel the Spirit: A concert of African-American spirituals
  1. Feel the Spirit: A Cycle of Spirituals - John Rutter
  2. Swing low sweet chariot -Arr. Andrew Pryce Jackman
  3. My Lord, what a mornin' - Arr. H T Burleigh
  4. Plenty good room - Kirkby Shaw
  5. I want Jesus to walk with me - Arr. Roderick Williams
  6. Five African-American Spirituals from A Child of our Time - Michael Tippett
  7. Joshual fit the battle of Jericho - Arr. Moses Hogan
  8. Didn't my Lord deliver Daniel - Arr. Carl Haywood
  9. Amazing Grace - Arr. Will Todd
  • Emily Howard Cobley — Mezzo-soprano
  • Tom Newall— Conductor
  • Andrew Green — Accompanist
 Comments from the audience
‘A lovely sound…some beautiful harmonies… I enjoyed Tom’s explanations of the music.’
‘Thank you so much for a delightful evening… The originality of [choice to perform] spirituals was very much appreciated and enjoyed.’
‘Very emotional, I felt close involvement with some of the songs… Liked the variety, not too heavy.’
‘I really enjoyed the programme, especially the Tippett.’
‘Very moving, I think Tom’s contribution helped to pull us in by talking about the history of the pieces and setting it in context. I found it very emotional at times.’
‘The performances were especially moving in the hushed items - I noted Rutter's “Sometimes I feel like a motherless child” and the Tippett “Nobody knows” and “Go down Moses” — these were deeply affecting.’
‘The choir were very relaxed and seemed really into the spirit of the music.’

Mendelssohn's Elijah

Sat, 2 Apr 2022
Elijah Web BannerMendelssohn's Elijah

Drought, famine, fire, flood, earthquake and a whirlwind, with a fiery chariot drawn by fiery horses; all were dramatized in Mendelssohn’s mighty Elijah, with some beautiful lyrical passages of music in between. With fantastic performances by our outstanding soloists, backed by the Congleton Synfonia, leader Adam Riding and conducted by our MD, Tom Newall.
  • Louis Hurst — Bass/baritone (Elijah)
  • Rachel Abbott — Soprano
  • Emily Howard Cobley — Mezzo-soprano
  • Philip Clieve — Tenor
  • Florrie Hulbert — The Youth
  • Congleton Synfonia, leader Adam Riding
  • Conductor — Tom Newall
Comments from the audience
'My first ever trip to watch Congleton Choral Society. Felix Mendelssohn’s Elijah was fantastic! What wonderful voices, with Congleton Sinfonia’s amazing musicians, in the lovely Town Hall.'
'A totally absorbing and outstanding performance.'
'The performance had great drama and moving moments of real beauty. Louis Hurst (Bass-Baritone, Elijah) was magnificent!'
'Last night was a wonderful experience for all who attended. The singing by the choir was beautiful and uplifting and the soloists put so much expression into the words they were singing. Congleton Sinfonia were superb and together it made for an exceptional concert of music making. Thank you to all the music makers.'

Concert Programme

Christmas Concert 2021

Thu, 16 Dec 2021
Picture of the choir at the recording of the 2021 Christmas ConcertChristmas Concert 2021
Carols and Christmas music — our 50th anniversary concert

Because of Covid19 we were unable to perform our Christmas Concert in public but we are delighted to present it to you as we filmed it at Trinity Church, Congleton on 16th December 2021. This recording is available on demand  There is no charge for watching, but if you enjoy it, we would welcome a donation.

Concerts and Singing Days before 2021 are listed on our Past Performances Archive page.
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