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Press and Publicity 2018

Concerts are regularly reviewed in the Bournemouth Echo, New Milton Advertiser and Lymington Times.

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Christchurch Priory was filled to the doors on 29th April for the Grange Choral Society's performance of Bach's St John Passion. Perhaps less frequently heard than his St Matthew Passion (which was composed some four years later), this work has an even greater intensity as it recounts the suffering and death of Jesus and the
response of the religious authorities and the crowd who stood by. The choir was in excellent form, and the accompaniment by the Ensemble OrQesta Baroque Ensemble was rich and colourful. No fewer than six soloists are needed for the parts which bring out the actions, and the significance, of the various stages as Christ's trial,
suffering and death as they unfold. These were all sung with great sensitivity by Sarah Parkin (Soprano), Fiona Mackay (Alto), Wagner Moreira (Tenor) and Thomas Humphreys (Bass), and Ricardo Panela (who sang the words of Jesus himself), Pontius Pilate and the disciple Peter. Between them they sang with understanding and feeling the arias which Bach uses to fill out the various aspects and the significance of this dramatic, but historically true, sequence of events. It is not invidious to mention in particular the vital part played by soloist Kieran White (tenor) who, in the role of "Evangelist", carried the weight of the whole narrative of the events as they unfolded. Singing from the pulpit with great feeling, but also (remarkably!) a good deal of eye contact with the audience, he brought to life the significance of Christ's death in a way which must have deeply stirred those in the audience who are Christian believers, and maybe challenged those who are not.

The choir clearly caught the drama and significance of what they were singing, exercising great vigour where that was appropriate, and showing a degree of sensitivity at other points – notably, and movingly, in the chorale which follows the moment of Jesus' death, recognising that, at a corporate and individual level, "more Thou could'st not give me". The choir's conductor Marcio da Silva is to be congratulated for the controlled and sensitive way that his leadership brought this work together. The whole atmosphere generated by what we heard was beautifully and significantly enhanced visually by we saw: the cross on the chancel arch and the illuminated ceiling way up in the east end. It seems certain that, for many, this event will have been a not-to-beforgotten experience.

DEREK BALDWIN - Lymington Times.

© Grange Choral Society 2013
 Registered Charity: 104590 President: Neil Jenkins MA CANTAB   
Vice President: Anita Hansen