Heavy rain did not dampen spirits at Chester’s choir festival in the city’s Northgate Quarter on Sunday.
After a sunny start, the heavens opened mid afternoon and performers were forced to take cover inside Alexander’s in Rufus Court.
Choirs and youth theatre groups booked to perform on two stages then had to negotiate a space on the stage as their audience grabbed a seat inside.
Festival organiser Matt Baker said “Everything was running like clockwork; Rewind Youth Theatre from Blacon had just finished their musical performance to rapturous applause when the heaven’s opened. But spirits were high and every choir and group gave a phenomenal performance indoors.”
Choirs familiar to the city included Fireflies, Vocalize, Dee Sign Choir, Signature and A Handbag of Harmonies, who were joined by newly formed choirs Tattenhall Singers and Hoole Community Choir who performed for the first time in public.
The festival also welcomed the return of Liverpool choirs including H’arts and Voices, Liverpool Royal Hospital Choir and Royal Court Trust Choir.
There were two theatre premieres as part of the festival.
Jigsaw Music Theatre received a standing ovation for their new musical play City of Stories, a theatrical tour around the city walls, and Blacon’s young people Rewind Youth Theatre, run by Theatre in the Quarter and Cheshire Dance, were highly praised for their first ever performance of Paintbrush In Paradise.
The event was compered by actors Francis Tucker, who many will know as the leading light at the Liverpool Everyman’s Rock’n’roll panto, and Cestrian Joe Mann who has recently returned from a UK tour of Return to the Forbidden Planet.
Francis said “It was a thrill to introduce so many great choirs. As an actor It was particularly wonderful to see both youth theatres doing such amazingly engaging work of a high standard.”
The day eventually ended bathed in sunshine with Matt leading the crowds in a mass singalong.
Audience member Kevin Davies said “The spontaneous covers of Singing in the Rain and Don’t Blame it on the Sunshine after coming in out of the rain were brilliant! The way everyone went along with the change of direction and completely filled the indoors was inspiring. What an amazing vibe.”