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Note of sadness after 50 years of music

IT WAS meant to be a celebration to mark more than half a century of music making.

IT WAS meant to be a celebration to mark more than half a century of music making.

But sadness was in the air when Northwich and District Festival Choir held its farewell concert at Northwich Memorial Hall on Wednesday.

Well over 300 people packed into the hall to hear the town's biggest and best known choir gather for one last time to sing their way through a mixed programme of compositions ranging from Vivaldi to Rodgers and Hammerstein and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Choir manager Nancy Dale said many of those in the audience had been attending choir concerts for years.

'We tried not to make it a sad occasion. The whole point of the evening was to celebrate all the things that the choir has managed to achieve over the years.'

Her sister Brenda, who acted as compere for the night, reminded everyone of the enormous pleasure the choir had brought to audiences all over England and Wales, as well as the huge sums raised for numerous churches and charities, and the encouragement the choir had given to young opera singers and musicians at the start of their careers.

Two of those singers, soprano Helena Leonard and baritone Ian Comby, returned to the town to take part in the concert.

Both were born in Northwich and joined the choir as youngsters before going on to sing with English National Opera and other leading companies.

The festival choir has dominated the Mid Cheshire music scene since 1948 when it was formed by Northwich's 'Mr Music' Cyril Dawes who became musical director and conductor.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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