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Centenary Concert 16th October 2021

As the wonderful sounds of sublime musicfrom Handel's Messiah resonated throughout the beautiful building of St Nicholas Church Harwich, one felt transported back into a world where an Oratorio and a sacred place seemed to fuse into an almost intensive spiritual experience - exactly what the composer had intended 280 years ago
It is to the great credit of the Harwich and Dovercourt Choral Society that under the baton of Conductor Julie Harmer, that thias effect could be achieved on Saturday 16th October.
In spite of the machinations of the Covid pandemic, the Choral Society had soldiered on, and now the fruits of their labour, superbly supported by the Mayflower Ensemble musicians and guest soloists, could be appreciated by around 100 people.
The Guest Soloists did not disappoint, with the charming tones of Tenor Robin Morton and the distinctive Bass vocals of veteran Patrick McCarthy being well supported by Elaine Henson's plaintive singiong and Soprano Gill Wilson's melodic excellence.
The soprano and Alto combination in the Aria "He shall feed his Flock" provided a fitting contrast between the two voice parts and did full justice to the written score.
The same can besaid of the Bass Aria "The Trumpet shall Sound"  which Patrick McCarthy rendered agains the powerful trumpets of David Rowland and Matthew Harmer.
The delightful Tenor Aria " Every Valley" which set the standard for the evening was followed by positive Chorus involvement, and favourites like "For unto us a chiold is born" and "All we like sheep" did not disappoint the attentive audience.
And yes, everyone stood for the "Hallelujah Chorus" as tradition demanded, many folk silently mouthing the words to the music which had given Handel such prominence.

Personally, I felt that the "Amen Chorus" which concluded the celebration, was a triumph. The Choral Society should be well pleased with this rendition, for they, the ensemble, gave their all in the cause of Sacred Music, and fully deserved the applause which they, and their hard working conductor,  fully deserved.

A wonderful evening,s performance, an appreciation of which could perhaps emulate an entry in the Harwich and Manningtree Standard of a century ago which commented on the first Harwich and Dovercourt Choral Society production by recording

"music that was excellent and left nothing to be desired"

Nigel Spencer MBE DL

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