This year, Scarborough Choral Society gave two performances of Handel’s Messiah.
The first was at Bridlington Priory and the second at Westborough Methodist Church, Scarborough.
At the Bridlington performance, Frank James, the choir’s regular accompanist played the Priory organ, and at Scarborough the accompaniment was by a very competent small chamber Orchestra of Friends led by Tony Mason, with Frank James playing harpsichord continuo.
The performances were conducted by Evelyn Halford, the soloists being soprano Wendy Goodson, alto Kathryn Woodruff, tenor Michael Solomon Williams, and bass Ben Lindley.
There was singing of the highest quality from all the soloists.
Soprano Wendy Goodson’s clear, pure and effortless soaring sound was a pure joy in all she did, notably I Know That My Redeemer Liveth.
Kathryn Woodruff’s pastoral alto aria He Was Despised was deeply moving.
The tenor soloist opens the work after the orchestral Overture, and Michael Solomon Williams set the high standard with his beautifully controlled opening recitative and aria Comfort Ye.
The high point from bass Ben Lindley was the stirring The Trumpet Shall Sound, in a thrilling duet with the high baroque trumpet stunningly played by Alice Godfrey.
The large chorus produced some fine, tightly-disciplined singing, both in the restrained, quiet sections, and also in the livelier choruses, which had excitement and rhythmic drive.
They closely followed the conductor’s clear and precise directions, and responded well to her intentions and demands.
It was truly thrilling when the string and woodwind ensemble was joined by the trumpets and timpani for the jubilant Hallelujah Chorus and the final Amen, which brought the performance to an impressive, magnificent, and triumphant close.
A large audience enjoyed this uplifting performance of Handel’s masterwork, the best locally for many years, and Scarborough Choral Society is to be heartily congratulated.
The society is always looking for new members.
It meets at Coventry Universuty Scarborough Campus, Filey Road, Scarborough, each Monday from 7pm to 9pm.
The first two weeks are free for new members.