Christmas Concerts

Christmas ConcertThe Epworth Choir staged two very successful Christmas Concerts in December 2012, conducted by the choir’s Music Director, Matthew Willis. Both Concerts raised much-needed funds for local Charities.

The first, on 10th December at Christ Church Woking, was in aid of the local branch of  Macmillan Cancer Support, the Mayor of Woking’s Charity. The concert featured the ever popular Susan Robinson School of Ballet,  Katherine Dienes-Williams, Organist and Master of the Choristers at Guildford Cathedral and Woking Young Musician Finalist, Matilda Lloyd, trumpet.

The choir would very much like to thank all its guest performers and a special mention must go to the Susan Robinson School of Ballet who, as always, helped to create a truly magical Christmas atmosphere with their superb dancing – a big Thank You to Susan Robinson and the young ballet dancers! Also, a special Thanks to 17 year old Matilda Lloyd for her hugely entertaining and exciting trumpet solos!

Epworth Choir were delighted to be supporting Macmillan Cancer Support and the retiring collection raised £864 towards the valuable work of the Charity who provide practical, medical, emotional and financial support to people living with cancer.

Christmas ConcertThe second concert was performed on 22nd December at Guildford Cathedral, in support of Home Start Guildford. The TV presenter Rob Curling made a guest appearance at the concert which also featured the All Saints Warlingham Handbell Ringers. The ever popular audience Carols were accompanied by Guildford Cathedral Sub-Organist, Paul Provost.

The highlight of the concert was the performance of the All Saints Warlingham Handbell Ringers, who delighted audience and choir alike with their arrangements of carols and festive pieces.

Local MP Anne Milton made the Appeal on behalf of Home Start Guildford who provide much-needed support to local, struggling young families who need help for a variety of reasons. The retiring collection raised the magnificent sum of £1,235 towards the vital work of this Charity.


Opera!Woking’s Epworth Choir presented Opera! – an evening of popular Choruses and Arias, at the HG Wells Centre, Woking, on Saturday 13th October, 2012. This ‘Evening at the Opera’ was conducted by Matthew Willis and accompanied by the Chameleon Arts Orchestra. The concert featured solo performances by International Opera Singers, Susan Young, soprano and Sean Ruane, Tenor. Music from the world of opera included Madam Butterfly, Humming Chorus; Turandot, Nessun Dorma & Finalé; Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves, Suite from Carmen; La Traviata, Brindisi and many more!

The concert supported the vital work of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and a Retiring Collection raised the magnificent sum of £1004.

“A Brilliant performance by the choir, orchestra and soloists – enjoyed every moment. Congratulations to the Conductor, Matthew Willis for such a wonderful Night at the Opera!’”

“The soloists were wonderful, not just for their lovely voices but for their obvious rapport with the choir, the conductor and each other. The Finale was an absolute triumph!”

“A thoroughly enjoyable evening. The choir was in great voice and great spirits – they surmounted the ‘language’ challenges magnificently and, as ever, their timing was perfect!”

“What an excellent evening – we all loved it and are very much looking forward to Epworth Choir’s next concert!”

Haydn Creation

Haydn CreationWoking’s Epworth Choir sang singing Haydn: The Creation, at Guildford Cathedral on Saturday 14th April, 2012, 7.30pm. Epworth Choir were delighted that HRH The Countess of Wessex GCVO, Royal Patron of Transform Housing & Support was able to attend this Concert. The Performance was conducted by Matthew Willis and accompanied by The Salomon Orchestra and featured International Opera Soloists,  Helena Dix, Soprano, Sam Furness, Tenor and Grant Doyle, Bass.

The performance received great applause and many members of the audience expressed their appreciation:

…one of the most exciting and moving choral concerts I have heard for a very long time.
…the choir sounded very professional and the talented and well balanced soloists added to a musically very satisfactory experience in a challenging acoustic’
… Sheer orchestral magic…the orchestra interlude before the recitative O happy pair’ sent shivers down my spine’
…The muted beautiful sound from the Choir during And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters’ contrasted dramatically with the sudden burst of sound …and there was LIGHT!’

Congratulations to the Conductor, Matthew Willis…a Magical performance: Quite wonderful; A delight to hear!’

Haydn Creation Choir

The concert ended with a Charity Collection which raised more than £2000 for the Surrey-based Charity, Transform Housing & Support. The Charity provides housing and support for vulnerable and excluded people, empowering them to reach their goals and live independent, productive and fulfilling lives. Transform Housing & Support are celebrating their 40th Birthday in 2012.

Full review by Marigold Jackson

Were you in the audience for Epworth Choir’s performance of Haydn’s “The Creation” on Saturday 14th April? If not you missed a musical treat. From the choir itself, through The Salomon Orchestra to the three wonderful soloists, this must have been one of the most exciting and moving choral concerts I have heard for a very long time.

The magical moments were many –
The muted, beautiful sound from the Choir during “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” leading to the sudden burst of sound “and there was LIGHT”.
“The heavens are telling the glory of God”, always a favourite chorus of mine, with the chorus interspersed with the trio of soloists, did not disappoint.
The great excitement of “Achieved is the glorious work”.
And many more!

Of course, it was not just the Choir who made this such a magical evening. The three soloists, Helena Dix (Soprano), Sam Furness (Tenor) and Grant Doyle (Bass) were a delight to both hear and watch. They interacted with each other as a team throughout their performances, which, of course, gave so much more meaning to the words they were singing.

I don’t think I can do better than to quote a number of comments heard from the audience after the performance –
“I loved the way the three excellent soloists were singing as a team and interacting beautifully, while deferring to the conductor.” “Magical performance”; “Quite wonderful”; “A delight to hear”.

Well done Epworth Choir! Well done Matthew Willis. I look forward to your “OPERA!” on 13th October. Don’t miss it!!

Marigold Jackson, 18th April 2012