Well what an amazing night we had at The Chester Cathedral on Saturday! The Chester Ladies’ Choir were celebrating sixty years of song with this packed programme of Chester performers, including our guests The City Of Chester Male Voice Choir and The City Of Chester Brass Band.
We opened with Karl Jenkins’ Adiemus which has a real joyous feel, a perfect way to start the celebration, followed by John Rutter’s very beautiful A Clare Benediction. The Blue Bird by Charles Villiers Stanford felt very atmospheric and took the audience by surprise as they were not sure it had actually ended! Our closing piece was Bizet’s The Gypsies Chorus which gave us a chance to let our hair down!
Our first guests, the City Of Chester Brass Band performed two sets. My favourite piece was Ticket To Ride (loved the special effects).
Next up was Welsh composer Robat Arwyn whom we had specially commissioned to write our anniversary piece ‘Diamonds That Shine In The Night’ and shine we did ladies didn’t we! In fact we positively sparkled! Robat performed two of his own compositions as well as accompanying both us and The City of Chester Male Voice Choir with their own special composition.
I should mention at this point that our Musical Director Rodney T Jones directs both choirs, so he was a very busy man on Saturday! Alas, this was his last appearance with The Chester Ladies’ Choir as he is moving onto pastures new. But it’s been a blast Rod and we wish you well for the future. The City of Chester Male Voice Choir performed eight pieces, including the lovely Veni Jesu, arranged by Rod himself.
Our second set included The Lord Is My Shepherd, sung to the theme tune of The Vicar Of Dibley, composed and arranged by Howard Goodall. This piece showcases the talent of our soprano soloist Nicky Pickering. This was followed by the haunting The Ships Of Arcady by Michael Head. We closed our set with the very fitting As Long As I Have Music, a long time favourite of the choir.
The Master Of Ceremonies for this special evening was Chester’s own music man, Matt Baker who did a grand job!
Our piano accompanist Ian Belton was also very busy as not only did he play for us, he sang with the Male Voice Choir too!
Our final piece was a combined choral effort with the men, singing Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. I wonder how many times the cathedral walls have heard it sung!
Well ladies it’s onwards and upwards! Here’s to the next sixty years.