The Spring Concert 2019 was held on Saturday 6th April at Trinity Church, Shifnal under the direction of Alex Woodrow and beautifully accompanied by Michael Davey on organ, harpsichord and piano, in the absence of our regular accompanists.
The church was nearly full and the appreciative audience treated to a collection of British songs and music. The programme got under way with 'Summer is icumen in' sung as a round, which warmed up our voices for what was to follow - three madrigals set to music by Thomas Morley. 'It Was a lover and His Lass', 'April is in My Mistress' Face' and 'Now is the Month of Maying'.
Alex Woodrow then played the 'Miniature Suite for Organ' by John Ireland, followed by W Sanderson's 'The Laughing Cavalier' sung by Marcia Hall. Te Deum Laudamus by HRH Prince Albert was then given a rare and stirring performance, in honour of the 200th anniversary of Prince Albert's birth. This has been videoed for posterity, and featured soloists Jane Preston, Marcia Hall, Kiaran Asthana and Mike Street.
Following refreshments (including a selection of delicious home-made cakes), Daina Gromadzki explained the more obscure meanings hidden in the folk songs which comprise 'Sprig of Thyme' and gave an insight into the stories behind the songs. The 11 folk songs from John Rutter's 'Sprig of Thyme' were then sung by the choir and another successful performance brought to an end.
For those who wish to listen again to Te Deum Laudamus, here is a link to the video on YouTube : https://youtu.be/rjDriInCcbY
Our annual 'Come and Sing' was held at 2pm on Saturday 2nd February 2019 at Trinity Methodist Church, Shifnal. We had a good turn out of 87 singers, although several more were unable to attend due to winter 'bugs'.
We worked through Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem in D minor, Op.48 with conductor Alex Woodrow, Music Director of Shifnal Chorale. A performance followed, attended by an audience of family and friends. The Requiem was a joy to sing, and beautifully accompanied by Chris Blake, with uplifting solos from Olivia (soprano) and Neil (bass).
Good comments were received afterwards about our excellent musical director and the quality of the afternoon tea. All in all, a treat for singers and listeners alike.
Shifnal Chorale, with the RAF Cosford Voluntary Band, held their annual Christmas concert on Monday 17th December 2018 at the Trinity Church in Shifnal. The choir sang a lovely selection of carols under the direction of Music Director Alex Woodrow, accompanied by organist Chris Blake, with occasional enthusiastic vocal assistance from the large audience - a full house that evening! The RAF Cosford Voluntary Band, conducted by bandmaster Patrick Ryan, played a programme of 10 pieces, including a wonderful rendition of 'Fairy Tale of New York'. The evening's varied programme also included readings by Janet Lambourne, Josie Balkwill and a cheery piece by Pam Ayres read by Diana Barnes. The evening finished with mince pies and, for many, a swift drink in the pub opposite.
A triumphal first public appearance with the Shifnal Chorale for our new musical director Alex Woodrow!
The choir was accompanied by The Centenary Orchestra in a concert to commemorate 100 years since the end of World War 1, and also to remember Wilfred Owen, the Shropshire poet who died just a few days before the war ended. The venue at St Michael's Church in Madeley was well attended by an appreciative and enthusiastic audience,
Programme: 'Oh!For a closer walk with God' by CV Stanford & 'Thou Knowest Lord' by Purcell, both sung by the choir and accompanied on the organ by David Fisher.
'Elegy' by GT Ball, performed on the organ by Alex Woodrow
'Futility' by Wilfred Owen, recited by Kiaran Asthana and 'Dulce et Decorum Est' also by Wilfred Owen, recited by Sheila Charlson.
Elgar's 'Elegy for Strings' performed beautifully by the strings of the Centenary Orchestra, followed by Hubert Parry's 'Dear Lord and Father of Mankind' sung by choir and audience.
The highlight however, was The Armed Man by Karl Jenkins, which followed interval refreshments. The choir and orchestra delivered an emotional and stirring performance which received a standing ovation from the audience. The timpani were magnificent! Lilian Kelly's cello solo and the trumpet solo were melodic and moving, and the orchestra helped lift the choir to a new level. Our choir soloists Jane Preston (sop), Marcia Hall (alto), Roy Grain (tenor) and Neil Robinson (bass) sang like nightingales, and none of us wanted the performance to end. What a fitting way to show that 'We will remember them'.
We had another wide ranging selection of music from shows and opera and, for once, a beautiful sunny day for afternoon tea, at St Andrew's Church in Shifnal. The choir programme included America by Bernstein, Get me to the Church on Time by Lerner and Loewe (solo by Chris Blake), I hear the Soft Note by Gilbert & Sullivan, Maid of Alsace by Lehar ( soloists Mike Street and Annette Horspool), The Blue bird by Stanford (solo by Olivia Etheridge), Villagers Chorus by Rossini, Habanera by Bizet (solo by Marcia Hall), Anvil Chorus by Verdi and Money, Money, Money by Andersson & Ulvaeus. Roy Grain (clarinet solo) treated us to Gershwin's Summertime and Acker Bilk's Stranger on the Shore and Neil Robinson's performance of In Summertime on Bredon by Peel (words by AE Houseman) was beautifully sung. The audience and performers then retired to the church gardens for a delicious strawberry cream tea and caught up on the day's Football World Cup results.
The first part of the Easter Concert featured a selection of beautiful and emotionally rousing songs - Vivaldi's 'Gloria', 'Speed Your Journey', 'The Lord is my Shepherd' ('Vicar of Dibley' version by Howard Goodall, soloist Miriam), Chilcott's 'Irish Blessing' and Handel's 'Zadok the Priest'. The performance of 'The Heavens are Telling' from Haydn's Creation was enhanced by soloists from the choir - Jane Preston, Roger Etheridge & Mike Street. The choir and audience were also treated to a piano recital of Schubert's 'Impromptu in G flat' by our immensely talented accompanist, David Fisher.
After a break for a drink with a selection of delicious cakes, the audience was treated to a wonderful performance of Stainer's 'Crucifixion', to lead us into Easter week. The soloists, tenor Paul Robinson and bass Neil Robinson were joined by solo voices from the choir (Kiaran Asthana, Roger Balkwill & Mike Street) in creating an atmospheric and moving performance.
Shifnal Chorale held it's annual Choral Workshop on Saturday 3rd February, singing Karl Jenkins's 'The Armed Man', under the musical direction of Paul Kelly. The venue, as last year, was the Trinity Methodist Church in Shifnal (Victoria Road, Shifnal TF11 8AE)
The workshop ran from 2.00 till 4.00 pm, followed by a break for tea and cakes.
We then held a sing through at 5 pm, much appreciated by the audience of friends and family.