Solihull Choral Society celebrates 30th anniversary - The Solihull Observer

Solihull Choral Society celebrates 30th anniversary

Solihull Editorial 14th Mar, 2024   0

REWIND to 1994 when Schindler’s List won seven Oscars, Apple released its first power Macintosh and Solihull Choral Society was formed.

And now choristers are getting their voices finely tuned ready to perform at a special 30th anniversary concert of Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle on Saturday (March 16).

Among the performers at St Alphege Church will be founding member Geoff Wyatt.

He joined the newly formed society after a friend encouraged him to sing in the Messiah concert in April 1994 because of the conductor Andrew Fletcher – who led SCS for 22 years.

And he has never looked back.

The 77-year-old said: “Little did I think then that I would be chairman when we recruited Andrew’s successor, Oliver Walker, another wonderful young conductor.”

Over the years the choir has showcased around four concerts a year with music ranging from 16th century compositions all the way up to contemporary works like The Story of Light by Alexander L’Estrange in 2021 across the borough including Olton Friary, Solihull School Chapel and St James Church in Great Packington.

Geoff has performed in around 120 concerts including the Bach St Matthew Passion in 2000 – which was formed of a double choir, an orchestra, a children’s choir and six soloists – and his favourite performances of the Monteverdi Vespers.

He said: “In the excellent acoustics of Olton Friary with top rate soloists and a Baroque band. At our first performane of the Vespers we were overwhelmed with people buying tickets on the door and had to search to find additional seats for them.”

Prior to SCS was the Margaret Wharam Choir which gave its last concert, Messiah, in April 1994 at Solihull School Chapel.

Margaret, a much admired stalwart of the Solihull music scene for many years, died before the concert and Andrew Fletcher stood in to direct the choir in her place.

The singers continued under Andrew’s direction and Solihull Choral Society came into being the very next week.

It hasn’t always been plain sailing for SCS in March 2020 it was forced to cancel its performance of Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle with just one week to go due to the first Covid lockdown.

But when restrictions were lifted the Society came back with full force and has been wowing the crowds.

Geoff said: “The great thing that the 30th anniversary means to me is the knowledge that the standards of the choir and the joy of singing are as good or better with Oliver as our conductor as with Andrew.

“The joy of choral singing and the proven benefits to our mental and physical health mean that the choir’s future seems assured.

“We look forward to Oliver leading our music making.”

Tickets for Saturday’s performance are available here.


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