Sunday April 2nd 2017 - St Swithun's Scool Performing Arts centre
Alresford Community Choir (ACC) performed Handel’s Messiah at the St. Swithun’s School Harvey Hall Performing Arts Centre, with recitative solos and arias
performed by professionals Erica Eloff (Soprano), Amy Williams (Mezzo-soprano), William Wallace (Tenor) and Ed Hawkins (Bass), and accompanied by the renowned Hanover Band. The concert was in support
of The Murray Parish Trust #2MillionSteps appeal.
2017 marks the fifth anniversary of ACC, during which time the choir has grown from around 60 members to over 130 and from ‘just another community’ choir to one that
has reached a highly professional level of performance, under the directorship of Keith Clark. The choir excelled on Sunday evening with its performance of Messiah. On cue and clear with every entry
and ending, singing with rhythmic accuracy and wonderful tone, phrasing, and dynamics, the choir’s delivery was of the highest standard. In this work, always considered to be a popular but
nevertheless still a challenging choice for choirs, ACC proved that it could meet that challenge and in so doing surpass any performance it has given within its five-year existence. All sections of
the choir delivered with the same precision and clarity, their harmonies and expression matched by the orchestra’s stunning accompaniment, interspersed so well with the professional solo arias and
recitatives beautifully performed by all four professionals.
The oratorio was, on this occasion, taken from the Bärenreiter Urtext edition of Messiah, encompassing the three parts from the prophecy of His coming to the
redemption of mankind. From the first few opening bars by the Hanover Band, led by Theresa Caudle, it was evident we were in for a wonderful evening. Erica Eloff’s soprano recitatives and arias
were performed with such vocal strength and clarity, yet with control and sensitivity responding to the mood and context of the text, while the interpretation of “He was despised …” by
mezzo-soprano Amy Williamson was sensitively dramatic and heartfelt. William Wallace’s commanding presence in every recitative and aria showed why he was the 2016 winner of the prestigious London
Handel Prize - truly wonderful. The amazing timbre of Ed Hawkins’ wonderful voice gave great expressive dramatic quality to the bass arias and recitatives, in “The trumpet shall sound …” we
were further entranced as Ed was accompanied by the superb playing of Robert Farley, probably the world’s greatest exponent of natural trumpet.
The performance of Alresford Community Choir matched that of the professional soloists and orchestra in all respects. This was a fresh and vital performance of which
every member of the choir, and its director, should all be proud. The audience of 400 showed its appreciation with a well-deserved five-minute standing ovation.