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Stunning Swaledale Festival Debut - a real taste of Yorkshire at its very best!

The last concert in a demanding recital tour can often be a little tired and lacklustre. However, the Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir’s stunning debut at the wonderful Swaledale festival on Bank Holiday Monday bucked the trend with a vengeance!

Inspired by the extraordinarily warm welcome given by the parish of Hawes and its vicar, Rev. David Clarke, together with a glorious setting, a wonderful sunny day and a ticket sell out, the choir gave a concert which amazed, charmed and delighted the audience, with at least one member of the audience expressing that surely the choir was a professional one.

The concert was opened by Rev. David Clarke who promised a feast of music. The audience was not disappointed.

The first and final pieces of the concert were two rousing coronation anthems, ‘Zadok the Priest’by Handel and ‘I Was Glad’by Parry. ‘Zadok’ certainly set the tone for the hour-long recital, giving the audience a taste of the precision, enthusiasm and control the choir was capable of.

Between these stirring pieces, the choir was able to show its range, skill and sensitivity in pieces by Brahms ‘How Lovely Are Thy Dwellings Fair’, sung in German; the ‘Cantique De JeanRacine’ by Faure; the ‘Ave Verum Corpus’ by Mozart and‘: Spirit of God’ and a traditional song arranged by Dr. Andrew Padmore. The main item in the concert was the lovely ‘Requiem’by Faure, sung without copies.

As was the case in the earlier concerts in the recital tour, the ‘Pie Jesu’in the Faure ‘Requiem’was sung by Janette Fraser in a voice so clear and lovely that the audience were totally enthralled. Miles Taylor, once again, sang the two male solos in the Faure ‘Requiem’. His fabulous voice filled the church to the rafters, leaving both choir and audience full of admiration at the power and clarity of his baritone voice.

The choir responded to the audience’s enthusiastic response to the concert with the hauntingly lovely encore ‘The Lord Bless You And Keep You’ by John Rutter.

As ever, Tom Moore, the Choir’s hugely skilled and accomplished organist, made the organ do extraordinary things – and brought the lovely works to life with his playing.

The genius behind the concert was the enormously talented and charismatic Musical Director of the Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir, Dr. Andrew Padmore. Andrew devised a lovely programme and led the music and the choir to be at their very best.

It was very exciting to be invited to sing in the Swaledale Festival – a very special event in a very special part of the world. The choir rose to the occasion, their singing eliciting the response from one member of the audience that‘to have a choir of such calibre and reputation performing in Hawes has been so special’.

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