Christmas Concert

Christmas Concert 2013Woking’s Epworth Choir performed two Family Christmas Carol Concerts to large audiences at the  HG Wells centre, Woking on Saturday 14th December 2013. The Matinee Concert supported the Charity, Shooting Star CHASE Children’s Hospiceand the Evening Concert was in Aid of the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund.

As is customary, the Concerts, conducted by the choir’s Music Director, Matthew Willis, included the usual mix of carols old and new by the choir and the ever-popular audience carols.

This year the Epworth Choir were delighted to welcome to the Matinee Concert the young dancers of the Cremona School of Dance and members of Greenfield School Chamber Choir. Both groups performed very entertaining programmes which helped to create a truly magical Family Christmas atmosphere.

The Epworth Choir were delighted to welcome as Guest Artistes at the Evening Concert, the Royal Marines Association Concert Band conducted by their Director of Music, Capt. David Cole MVO, MMus, ARAM, RM. The Band performances of well-known Christmas music were nothing short of spectacular and left the enthusiastic audience demanding encores! We very much look forward to inviting the Band back to perform again with Epworth Choir.

The Retiring Collection for Shooting Star CHASE raised £481 and in the evening, £685 was raised for the Royal Marines Charitable Trust

A Night of Gilbert and Sullivan

Gilbert and SullivanWoking’s Epworth Choir presented ‘A Night of Gilbert & Sullivan’ – a selection of Popular Choruses and Solos, at the H G Wells Conference & Events Centre, Woking, on Saturday 13th July, 2013. The Concert was conducted by Matthew Willis and accompanied at the piano by Michael Waldron. The selection of G&S music was drawn from Yeoman of the Guard, Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, The Gondoliers and many other works by this famous duo!

A true ‘Night to Remember’ for both performers and audience! – The choir had not sung G & S for many years but their enthusiastic singing on the night spoke volumes for their ability to embrace a wide range of repertoire. Under the baton of their Musical Director, the internationally renowned Matthew Willis and amply supported by the choir’s virtuoso accompanist, Michael Waldron, the audience were treated by the choir to a feast of G & S opera at it its very best!

The choir’s very own soloists performed to great acclaim and at the end of the performance the audience showed their appreciation with rapturous applause and gave most generously to the Retiring Collection which raised a much-needed £444 for Age UK Surrey.

Grande Messe des Morts

Surrey Choirs & Orchestras perform Berlioz Grande Messe des Morts.

Grande Messe des MortsWoking’s Epworth Choir and Godalming Choral Society joined forces under the baton of Matthew Willis to perform Hector Berlioz’s masterful Requiem Mass at Guildford Cathedral on Saturday 20th April 2013. The choir of 200 voices was accompanied by Redhill Sinfonia, Woking Symphony Orchestra and four brass groups. The soloist was the acclaimed international operatic tenor, Ben Johnson.

The Performance was dedicated to the memory of Sir Colin Davis who died just a few days before the concert.

Ben JohnsonUndoubtedly the largest and in parts the loudest of all Requiems, this performance raised the roof of the Cathedral and left the near capacity audience breathless, whilst the occasional glimpse of peace prompted music making of the utmost tenderness. Performances of Berlioz Grande Messe des Morts are memorable for the power and sincerity of this interpretation of the sacred word and this occasion was certainly no exception.

Shelagh Godwin, Music Critic for The Surrey Advertiser wrote:

…A challenge well met by the combined voices of the Epworth Choir and Godalming Choral Society’

Ben Johnson provided a lovely tenor solo in the Sanctus, accompanied by the softest of shimmering strings’

The Offertorium….superbly played, ….was beautifully shaped by conductor Matthew Willis.

(Click here for full text of Shelagh Godwin’s Critique, Surrey Advertiser, 26th April 2013)

The Concert supported the vital work of the  Surrey Air Ambulance, a ‘Charity that Saves Lives’. Through the generosity of members of the audience, the Retiring Collection raised the huge sum of £2254 for which the Charity are extremely grateful.