- December 2019
This year is
very special for Wombourne & District Choral Society as it is 90 years since
the choir was formed back in 1929. As part of the 90th anniversary
celebrations, the choir will be performing Handel's Messiah in
conjunction with members of Wolverhampton Grammar School Chamber
Choir and the WGS Adult Choral Society together with with four
professional soloists and an 18 piece orchestra. The conductor
was the choir's Musical Director, Ian Clarke.
The love affair that British classical music audiences have with
this oratorio is quite phenomenal. Since its Dublin premiere
in 1742, it has been performed by choirs across the land every
year since at least 1745. Handel composed his most famous piece
in 1741, and continued to work on it after its initial performance,
finally arriving at the version we know today in 1754. Impressive
solo arias, like 'Ev'ry valley shall be exalted' and 'Rejoice
greatly, O daughter of Zion' are interspersed with compelling
chorus numbers, telling the story of Jesus' birth, life, death,
resurrection, and final victory over sin and death.
The concert was held on Saturday 7th December at St John's Church
in the Square, Wolverhampton at 7.30pm.
From our Musical Director, Ian Clarke after
Hi there, dear choir members.
Well...! If you are still on a high from last night's concert,
then good, you jolly well should be!
What can I say, but thank you for your part in such a stirring
and uplifting performance. Backed by terrific soloists, and a
great orchestra, you realised so much of what I was trying to
achieve to put across and express this monumental work, with
all those varieties of style, the lightness of touch, the pathos,
and of course the glory and the splendour. There were too many
highlights to list, but suffice to say it was worth all that
detailed work in the very enjoyable rehearsals, and - I'm sure
you agree - the final amen was absolutely thrilling.
Have a good rest now over the festive period, and I'll look forward
to seeing you again in the new year, with rather contrasting
Congratulations again, and a very Happy Christmas to you all.
Other comments received...
"You must be very proud. Your efforts are bearing
fruit. The choir is getting stronger. The addition of the young
voices from WGS is surely contributing to that. Superb young
soloists and a clean, vibrant orchestra added to a subtle and
powerful choir made for an excellent evening. Thank you!
to say how much we enjoyed tonight's performance. What a treat
it was. Thanks and huge congratulations all round.
Not bad for a 90 year old !
Verdi Requiem - April 2019
Soprano soloist commented
"Choral Singing is an important part of British musical
culture and heritage. It was a pleasure to perform with the Wombourne
and District Choral Society for their 90th year celebration concert
of Verdis Requiem. It is immensely rewarding to sing such
a great work. Long may the opportunities for professionals and
amateurs alike to be able to lift up their voices in unison.
I firmly believe singing is good for the soul. Choral societies
do much to encourage local community and bring the joy of singing
to both performers and audience members."
David Parkes, as our MD (1993 - 2006)
was responsible for the last time WDCS performed Verdi Requiem
- in the Civic Hall in 2000, he emailed...
'It was an altogether splendid occasion last evening and Maggie
and I are most grateful for your kind attention and invitation
It is so good to know that music-making like that continues in
Wolverhampton and Im sure that the whole audience would
have been impressed by the performance of that wonderful work.
This is England at its best, is it not?
We ourselves greatly enjoyed seeing many old friends once again
and to experiencing the warm atmosphere the Society invariably
manages to create.
We are also aware of all the organisational hard work which goes
into preparing such an occasion. Please thank everyone on our
Every good wish, David'
Janet Harrison (Choir Member) :
Well, what can I say that is adequate? The concert was wonderful,
superb - all of it. I was so glad to be there, I still felt a
part of it having gone through the rehearsals and all the hard
I was so proud of the Choir, truly the sound was tremendous,
all the light and shade, lovely. The whole concert was a delight
to me, the Orchestra splendid,. the soloists as always terrific
and Ian as full of energy and purpose as ever. I don't know how
he does it.
There was a lovely atmosphere in St. John's, expectant, and the
congregation was not disappointed. The applause at the end well
deserved. A truly wonderful evening that I so enjoyed and will
remember with delight.
Brahms Requiem - April 2015
and District Choral Society provide an ideal model for amateur
music-making of the very highest order. Brilliantly rehearsed
by their Music Director, Ian Clarke, they combine a diligent
and enthusiastic approach with the good humour and the personal
rapport which is so important for bringing together people of
all ages. This is very much an inclusive organisation, with no
auditions required, and with a wide range of repertoire from
the major choral works, to anthems, madrigals and lighter music.
It was a great privilege to take part in their performance of
Brahms Requiem on March 28th and the size of the audience
and the warm and enthusiastic applause showed just how fulfilling
these endeavours are, and how important they are for the community
at large. The spirit and the atmosphere were a match for any
display is best present - March 2010
Our concert in March
2010 featured the first performance in the West Midlands of The
Sacrifice by Antonin Tucapsky. Jerald Smith of the Express and
'Once again a local
music group has produced a challenging and innovative programme
of 20th Century music. Antonin Tucapsky is one of the foremost
Czech composers of this generation and arrived here in 1975.
Two years later he produced The Sacrifice, a setting of the Easter
story to words by George Herbert.
took place appropriately enough on the composer's 82nd birthday.
He declined an invitation to attend the concert, but said in
a letter to the Society that knowing it was to be performed was
"the best birthday present". The Choir showed a confident
ensemble, under musical director Ian Clarke, catching the dramatic
nature of the composition. Baritone Piran Legg displayed a voice
of rich timbre in his solos.'
performance of Haydn's Creation - April 2009
2009 the Wombourne Choral Society and the City of Wolverhampton
Choir gave a joint performance of Haydn's Creation. The Express
and Star wrote the following:
'To celebrate the
bicentennial of Josef Haydn's death the City and Wombourne choirs
combined their considerable talents to perform one of the composer's
best loved works - The Creation. This was the first time since
1975 that local choral societies have got together to present
a large choral work and the result was most impressive...The
150-strong ensemble soon settled to produce a bright and confident
sound. Soprano Rachel Major showed a very pleasant tone, tenor
Christopher Turner sang with great character and bass Christopher
Foster contributed significantly. Music director Ian Clarke always
had matters very much under control.'
- Express and Star
Christmas Concert, Ralph Vaughan Williams - December 2008
in December 2008 at St John's-in-the-Square, Wolverhampton received
the following favourable review from Jerald Smith, music critic
of the Express and Star:
described as a 'frightful atheist' in his younger days, Ralph
Vaughan Williams still wrote extensively for the Anglican church.
He edited the English Hymnal and many of his settings of carols
and hymns remain popular today. Reason enough, then, for Wombourne
Choral to devote this well-attended festive concert to Vaughan
Williams' music, including half-a-dozen audience-participation
carols and hymns.
The evocative Five
Mystical Songs found baritone Hakan Vramsmo in exceptionally
fine form, eloquently communicating the spirituality of George
Herbert's texts. The Fantasia on Christmas Carols saw soloist
and choir combining to give a heart-warming account of this collection
of traditonal West Country carols, well-supported by the accompanying
Wombourne String Players."