Handels Messiah 22nd May 2022

Thank you so much for your great contribution to our Centenary Concert on Sunday.  It was a day that many of us will remember for a long time, and well worth the wait that the pandemic enforced on us.

The Anvil is a terrific venue – we could see and hear and the seats were comfortable!  The four soloists were excellent and it was lovely to hear those well-known arias sung with such style and panache.  The orchestra had to work hard in order to play to David Hill’s exacting standards, but we certainly benefitted from his attention to detail in that respect, as they accompanied us so well.  Wasn’t the trumpeter brilliant!?  It was interesting that after the re-start in ‘Let us break their bonds’, David Hill suddenly started to give us more direction, and even smiled a couple of times!

It was clear from the ovation at the end that the audience were there to support us and that they had very much enjoyed the concert.  There really were some stunning moments – ‘Great was the company’ with its declamatory opening, made an arresting start to the second half, and ‘For unto us’ went very well, with ‘wonderful, counsellor’ sending shivers up my spine each time.  I also thought that ‘Glory to God’, although only a short chorus, came over very effectively.

It’s a shame that it takes such a milestone occasion for all the choirs to get together, as it just felt so good!   As the conductor of the joint rehearsals I could feel that excitement right from the first notes of the first chorus sung at the first rehearsal – and it just got better and better as we got closer to the big day.  Even more important is that you ‘pulled it out of the bag’ on the night – so well done and thank you for being part of this special occasion.  I feel privileged to have had responsibility for the collective musical preparation for the day.

The final words are comments I have had, and tweets from the bass soloist and conductor:

The Concert last night was wonderful, so uplifting. It was a joy to be in the midst of you all, and was hard not to sing in the final chorus!

What a memorable day yesterday.

All in all, a fabulous experience.

…was bowled over by the whole thing – loved it. She was impressed by the clarity of our diction!

From Jamie Hall:
Sitting in my dressing room at @AnvilArts in sunny #Basingstoke, listening to a choir of 300 absolutely nailing The Messiah for @davidhconductor… I have no idea if tickets remain available but it’ll be a good night out for those who can make it. 😃

From David Hill:
Thank you and to all who made it happen after all this time! Bravo to all the performers, choirs, soloists and orchestra!

Jamie Hall then added:
My thanks to everyone in the choir. The final Amen was thrilling! 😇

Have a good summer, and I look forward to seeing many of you next year – our first as The Hampshire Choral Festival!

David Burgess

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