Sunday 24th January saw our very own Antony Brannick conduct Todmorden Choral Society and Orchestra in a special performance of Handel’s ‘Messiah’.
And special it was!
Todmorden, along with several other places in the Calder Valley, was very badly affected by the flooding and torrential rain on Boxing Day 2015. As a resident of the town Antony was fortunate not to be directly affected but witnessed how many local people and businesses suffered.
As Musical Director of Todmorden Choral Society he emailed the choir committee a day or two later and suggested they arranged a performance of Handel’s Messiah as a fundraising event (the Society are very familiar with the piece as they perform it annually at the beginning of Advent as part of their normal programme of concerts). The committee, choir and also the orchestra enthusiastically pledged their support.
A number of professional soloists known to the Society also came onboard and agreed to waiver their usual fee. Other organisations (printers, caterers etc) also agreed to contribute in a similar way. Calderdale Council generously agreed to the use of the splendid Town Hall without charge. The choir and orchestra players were also asked to ‘pay’ for the ‘privilege’ of taking part.
The performance was a sell-out and the atmosphere was amazing! Quite different from the usual pre-Christmas performance, with many ‘new faces’ in the audience.
All the musicians gave their best and the huge rapturous applause at the end of the final Amen chorus showed the performance itself had been of a high standard.
Soloists were Caroline Challis soprano, Emily Reaves alto, Adam Magee tenor and Dean Robinson bass baritone. Daniel Bath and Caroline Steer were continuo players and the solo trumpet was played by Chris Lewis.
Antony and all those involved were delighted and surprised to learn that their fundraising efforts from the concert had topped £5,000! And with the Government pledging to match funds raised, that means £10,000 to the Calder Valley flood relief fund – a much needed contribution we’re sure.
Antony would like to say a huge ‘Thank You‘ to everyone involved, particularly the performers who stepped up at very short notice to participate in this magnificent effort!
Here’s to high quality amateur music making that is well and truly thriving in the Pennines!