The ‘wow’ factor

We were rather chuffed to receive this review of one of our Christmas concerts. Thank you, Joanna, you can come again!

Handel’s Messiah: Canterbury Cantata and Camerata, Saturday 17th December, St Peter’s Methodist Church, Canterbury 

“This was the only Messiah sung this Christmas in Canterbury, and if you missed it, I am sorry. A small orchestra is such a treat, since every instrument is heard, and the Camerata gave precise attention to every note. For many musicians, Handel’s Messiah is all-too familiar, and so it is a rare joy when it is played, as it was this evening, as if for the first time. The Canterbury Cantata are handpicked singers, and keen as a whistle, every one. They sing together as a smooth ensemble, and then, as Messiah requires, solo voices ring out from every corner of the choir, one mellow, one impassioned, one sonorous, one silvery like the angel whose song she sang. Like Cantors, they sang out the word of the Lord. Like Christmas carols, passages from Messiah arrive like familiar old friends – “Comfort ye”, “The trumpet shall sound” and of course the choruses, “All we like sheep” and “Hallelujah” – these came along as expected, but with most unexpected passion and vigour. As the first half finished, a lady in the fifth row exclaimed, “Wow!”, then quickly covered her mouth with her hand and smiled cheekily as she remembered where she was. Churches all over England are emptying and closing, but others are filling with music and gatherings, as here in Canterbury. This was both a concert and a service, a community and a communion. “Wow!”, or as Handel put it, “Wonderful!”. Let’s hope it returns at Easter.” JL

We found it a moving performance to be part of, and were moved again by these words. It sets the bar high for Cantata and Camerata’s next major works, Bach’s Mass in Minor on 9 April  2017 followed by the St John Passion a week later. We’re looking forward to some intense rehearsals from January. But for now, we wish you all a happy and healthy 2017.

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