The Exeter Philharmonic Choir perform for the Mayor
PUBLISHED: 15:21 26 September 2016
Exeter Cathedral will host a rousing chorus for the Lord Mayor’s Concert this month, as Sue Cade reveals
Exeter Cathedral has been the setting for many glorious concerts, with its unique atmosphere adding an extra dimension to performances of all types. This year the Cathedral rafters will be raised once more with the Lord Mayor’s Concert, featuring the Exeter Philharmonic Choir.
On 22 October, the 116-strong choir will perform the popular choral oratorio, Handel’s Messiah, which includes the well-known Hallelujah chorus, in the presence of the Lord Mayor of Exeter, Councillor Cynthia Thompson. The Mayor will also be hosting a reception for invited guests at the Guildhall, before the concert.
This is a very special performance for the choir, which is celebrating the start of its 170th anniversary season. The choir has always had strong links with the Cathedral, performing there several times a year, and since 2003 it has been led by Andrew Millington who was the Cathedral’s Director of Music.
Andrew says the choir is delighted to be working with the Lord Mayor’s office to make this civic event a celebration of the wonderful city of Exeter, and that the choir is looking forward to performing the Messiah. “Not only is it a real crowd pleaser and a big favourite with the singers, but it was the very first piece the original choir sang all those years ago.”
A special ‘Exeter Chamber Orchestra’ has been gathered together by musician Julie Hill for the concert, comprising 21 professional locals with 15 string players, two oboes, a bassoon, two trumpets and timpani. The orchestra will be led by Brenda Willoughby and principal trumpet is Brian Moore.
Classical music is a real draw for Cllr Thompson, who studied piano at Trinity College of Music in London under the Czechoslovakian concert pianist Madame Eva Bernathova and gained a diploma in music.
Her chosen charity for the year is the Devon Freewheelers, providers of an essential, free out-of-hours service to the NHS, delivering blood samples, medication and other medical supplies to hospitals across the region. Many riders are now trained as first responders, so they can give emergency medical help if they arrive at an incident ahead of the ambulance. The retiring collection at the concert will provide much needed funds for the charity.
Devon Life is supporting the event, which has also attracted a number of high profile sponsors: programme sponsors solicitors Gilbert Stephens; wealth and investment management services specialist, Investec; independent lighting experts, Amos Lighting; and Exeter Cookery School, which is supplying canapés for the VIP reception.
Join the choir at the first Lord Mayor’s concert to feature the Exeter Philharmonic Choir. Tickets are available from the choir’s website (exephil.org.uk), the Exeter Visitor Information and Tickets in Dix’s Field, or by calling 01392 499211, and they can also be purchased on the door. Prices are from £12 for unreserved side aisle seating to £24 for the front nave.