Welcome to Macclesfield Singers (formerly known as KEMS Choir).We're a friendly bunch of people who enjoy singing together.
Trained and conducted by our popular and talented Choral Director, Ian Chesworth, we extend a warm welcome for enthusiastic 'young at heart' singers (male and 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.
Major works performed in the 2018-19 season
• Vaughan Williams: Dona Nobis Pacem
• Elgar: We Will Remember Them
• Handel: Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne
• Elgar: The Kingdom
• Workshop Day: Madrigals / Chilcott / ‘In the Mood’ / Russian Sacred Music
KEMS Choir Music Director Ian Chesworth looks back on the 2018-19 season
Our first concert fell on the eve of the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice: a poignant concert for which we had a good audience to remember this momentous event. The whole of KEMS joined together to sing Elgar’s ‘We Will Remember Them’ from ‘The Fallen’ a cappella before the main work ‘Dona Nobis Pacem’ by Vaughan Williams. Some singers initially struggled getting into Vaughan Williams’s musical language but I think by the time the concert came around, everyone had ‘come around’! The concert itself was particularly moving and a privilege to be a central part of Macclesfield’s Remembrance Events.
For Christmas, we performed a number of works with orchestra including Handel’s Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne, Adam’s ‘O Holy Night’ and the ‘Evening Scene’ from Hansel and Gretel by Humperdinck (all of which were requests by KEMS members). The remainder of the programme included a mixture of a-cappella and accompanied carols, ably assisted by Rachel Fright.
The main work for the second part of the season was Elgar’s ‘The Kingdom’ which we performed at the RNCM. This took a great deal of blood, sweat and tears from the committee to keep it on track and viable and everyone on the organising committee should be applauded for their efforts. As I’m sure Scott will mention in his report, the event was initially due to be a joint concert with Shrewsbury Choral Society but unfortunately we had to shelve that plan although some members of Shrewsbury did join us at the RNCM which was reciprocated by KEMS members at Shrewsbury Abbey. Due to the size of the choir and the need for extra singers we did a number of things differently for this event, namely a workshop fairly early on in the rehearsal process to ‘set the scene’ of the whole work with the choir and also trying out a new venue for the joint orchestral / choir rehearsal. I felt the new venue was particularly good with good sight-lines to the choir and orchestra and lots of space albeit rather expensive. The workshop also seemed to bed the choir into the music well and I noticed a much sharper uptake of the music following the rehearsal. It was a pleasure to work with the soloist quartet of Janet Fischer, Alison Kettlewell, Jonathan Cook and Simon Thorpe and despite the large size of the orchestra, I felt the choir came over very well with crisp diction and importing the drama to words. I was very pleased that a number of representatives of the Elgar Society were in attendance who commented later via email that “the choir were outstanding” and that they “were thrilled” by the performance. Well done KEMS for the courage to put on such a work and the fortitude to see it through!!
The date for “The Kingdom” was rather earlier than usual as we initially programmed it to coordinate with Shrewsbury’s season as well as availability at the RNCM. As Easter was rather late this year and with the rapid succession of Bank Holidays in May we decided it was appropriate not to mount a summer concert but to meet on a number of Monday evenings ‘for fun’ and also to put on a day workshop in the summer. The first of these rehearsals was well attended but attendance dropped off a bit for the remaining two although we did see a good turnout for the day workshop when we worked on a wide variety of music from Russian Sacred Music to jazz standards from the OUP collection ‘In the Mood’ along with a bit of Chilcott!
Plans for 2019/20 include the Haydn Nelson Mass in November, a double-bill of the Faure Requiem and Dove ‘There was a child’ (requested by a number of members following our Northern Premiere of the work in 2012) and a summer concert including some music covered at the workshop weekend.
Once again, thanks to all who have made the season a success including each and every singer and of course to Tony and the orchestra. KEMS wouldn’t exist without the hard work that goes behind the scenes and can I reiterate my thanks to the committee especially in the Kingdom project for all of their hard work.
Why not join us? 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 telephone Steve Kleiser (01625 431 544) or send us an e-mail by clicking here.