Welcome to Macclesfield Singers (formerly known as KEMS Choir). We're a friendly bunch of people who enjoy singing together.
Directed by our popular and talented Choral Director Ian Chesworth we extend a warm welcome for singers of any age (male or female) to join us. Macclesfield Symphony Orchestra plays for most of our choral concerts and sometimes we're joined by some of the Macclesfield Concert Band members - we all enjoy making great music together.
New singers welcome
Singing in a choir is very rewarding and is great fun too. Macclesfield Singers are always happy for new singers to join us, without audition. If you fancy joining us please email Marianne Day or telephone her on 075408 48097.
Macclesfield Singers Music Director Ian Chesworth looks back on the 2020-21 season
Summary of major works studied / performed:
•Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on Christmas Carols
•Rossini: Petite Messe Solennelle
•Handel: Chandos Anthem No.9
•Chilcott: Five Days that Changed the World
This year the choir has continued to rehearse both in person and on Zoom but I think I can say we are craving for an audience to perform to!
We began the season on Zoom with an overview of Handel’s Messiah but were very quickly able to move to in-person rehearsals at St Michael’s for the months of September and October. Unfortunately, we had to move back to Zoom for rehearsals for November but were again able to sing together for the three rehearsals in December culminating in a sing-through of Messiah highlights on December 21st. We also managed to run some blended (i.e. a combination of in-person and Zoom) rehearsals. This was especially useful for singers who weren’t able to attend in person and they were able to see me conduct and hear Rachel play and the choir singing.
With rising infection rates in the UK, the government imposed a further lock-down just after Christmas which meant that in-person rehearsals had to be suspended once again. Back in ‘Zoom-land’, the choir rehearsed the Mozart Requiem and Chilcott’s ‘Five Days that Changed the World’ both of which were well received by choir members. The term finished on Mon 29-March with a sing through of both works with choir members being asked to don concert-dress.
Amateur in-person music-making remained banned at the start of the Summer term but some hope appeared for the move into Stage-3 of lockdown on 17-May. Initial government advice indicated that amateur singing would be allowed after this date so the choir planned to return to in-person rehearsals again from 7-June (after the half-term break). Unfortunately, the government issued advice after 17/5 which indicated that indoor singing would only be allowed in a single group of 6, but outdoors in multiple groups of
30. With this in mind, we were able to rehearse under a covered outdoor stand at the Macclesfield Rugby Club on a glorious summer’s evening of 7-June and continued until the end of the month. Whilst not ideal acoustically, it was a joy to rehearse in person again and to actually be able to hear a choir! Repertoire for the summer term included a Handel Chandos Anthem, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle and a sing-through of the Chilcott Five Days. As at the time of writing we plan on a sing-through of the Rossini on the last rehearsal date (29-June).
Moving forward, I am hoping that come September we are able to rehearse indoors and are able to stage a concert as usual. I am sure that some of the government advice will be reviewed over the summer months and hopefully relaxed (as at the time of writing, some Welsh government advice has been found to be from a joke news website, implying that tenors emit more aerosols than sopranos and altos so should be treated differently!).
Repertoire planned for next season is as follows:
September 2021 Singing Day: Rutter and Handel Coronation Anthems
November 2021 Rutter ‘Feel the Spirit’ Beethoven ‘Ode to Joy’
December 2021 Christmas Concert
April 2022 Haydn Creation
Can I thank you all for your support over this difficult time. I think KEMS and the Macclesfield Singers can be very proud of our people with their ‘can-do’ attitude. In particular, Rachel Fright has done a sterling job in taking sectional rehearsals through Zoom and the Committee and Lynne have done a fantastic job of keeping us organised and safe. Well done everyone!
Choral Director: Ian Chesworth
Ian Chesworth directed a highly successful “Supersing Classic” performance, for the RLPO, to a full house at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall in 2010 and has returned to the prestigious role of musical director for their 2011 programme.
Over 100 singers from all over Europe attend Ian’s intensive choral workshops in Dunster, Somerset which he has been running, with ever increasing popularity, for many years. No stranger to working with both professional and amateur singers, he conducts a number of choirs in the Manchester area, including Manchester Philharmonic Choir, KEMS Choir and Bolton Chamber Choir. Recent highlights have ranged from small scale a-cappella pieces to Bach ’s St Matthew Passion to grand opera. Choirs travel the length and breadth of the country to take part in the Manchester Amateur Choral Competition which Ian has been a judge of since its inception.
As a singer, he is an experienced, versatile performer both on the stage and the concert platform. Having trained as a postgraduate at the RNCM, operatic roles have included Edrisi and Chorus (King Roger), Spoletta (Tosca), Silvio (Pagliacci), Melchior (Amahl and the Night Visitors) and Monostatos (The Magic Flute). In concert, he has been the soloist in Mendelssohn's Elijah, Faure's Requiem and numerous gala nights, as well as having had the honour of singing the tenor role of Howard Blake's 'The Bear' with the Northern Sinfonia in the presence of the composer himself. He has taken part in a number of masterclasses, and received coaching from Sir Thomas Allen, Adele Leigh and Seth Riggs among others, and is currently studying with Gillyanne Kayes.
In demand as a teacher, he is the singing coach for the nationally renowned Acting Course at Manchester Metropolitan University, as well as running his private practice in Chorlton. With a special interest in voice production he has taken part in masterclasses and studied privately with Paul Spicer, Janet Linc é, Alan Hazeldine and David Lawrence.
Having taken up the organ at the age of 14, Ian has appeared on national TV and radio as an accompanist and has had the privilege of arranging and performing excerpts from Sir Paul McCartney ’s Liverpool Oratorio to great acclaim by the composer. Ian has held a number of church appointments, most recently at St Clement ’s, Chorlton and in any remaining free time he has he still enjoys performing organ recitals around the country. He studied the organ with Roger Fisher and Keith Wright and is an Associate of the Royal College of Organists.
Ian initially trained as a physicist at the University of Durham and worked as an engineer and manager in the semiconductor industry before making music his full-time profession.
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Macclesfield Singers Rehearsals