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Macclesfield Singers
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Registered charity no 517554
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Macclesfield Singers

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 2019-20 season
Summary of major works performed:
• Haydn: Nelson Mass
• Lauridsen & Gabrieli: ‘O magnum mysterium’
• Selection of carols from ‘The Novello Book of Carols’ & ‘Carols for Choirs 5’, including Head ‘The Little Road to Bethlehem’, Joubert ‘There is no Rose’, Leighton ‘The Coventry Carol’, Owens ‘The Holly and the Ivy’ and Paul Ayers’ arrangement of ‘Winter Wonderland’

Works prepared but not performed: 
• Jonathan Dove: ‘There was a child’
• Faure: Requiem

Little were we to know in September 2019 the events that would unfold over the course of the year which has disrupted our lives and put a temporary pause on normal rehearsals.  We have had to ‘think out of the box’ in order to keep singing / playing / teaching.  Things aren’t perfect but we are still able to keep music making alive. 

The Haydn Nelson Mass was the choir’s major work for the November concert: it has long been on my ‘to do’ list and is certainly a great sing (and play for the orchestra).  We inevitably had a little drop off in rehearsal attendance through September but rehearsals went well and the singers tapped into the energy of the work early on.  We made good progress in rehearsals and were able to start work on our Christmas repertoire before the concert which I think both helped to keep the Nelson Mass ‘fresh’ and allowed some more challenging repertoire for the December concert.  The concert, with soloists from the RNCM was a great success: comments from the audience included that they’ve not heard the choir sing better!

The Christmas repertoire was wide and varied encompassing Gabrieli (with Brass), Lauridsen’s O magnum mysterium, and a selection of other carols from the ‘Novello Book of Carols’ which I don’t recall ever having used before but enjoyed the selection.  We rounded off the programme with some more light-hearted repertoire with the spiritual (‘Mary had a baby’) and then ‘Winter Wonderland’.  We were ably accompanied by Rachel Fright on piano.

Rehearsals commenced in January for the Faure Requiem and Dove’s ‘There was a child’.  The choir found the Dove tricky as the piece has many difficult rhythms and hard intervals to pitch but all was starting to fall into place when we had to call rehearsals to an abrupt end due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  We were able to sing through all of the Faure and Dove at our final rehearsal on Monday 16th March but inevitably some of our singers had already had to self-isolate / shield so we were down to about forty or so.  All said though, we managed to do it and people have since expressed their desire to perform both works.

Since lockdown, musicians have had to think of new ways of working and I have been fortunate that most of my teaching has continued online.  Likewise, we have been continuing our regular choir rehearsals as part of ‘Macclesfield Sings’ on a Monday evening on the Zoom platform.  To make this work, I have been leading this from the piano, and working on very broad range of repertoire including solo opera arias, 13th Century polyphony, 14th Century chanson as well as Messiah and even a bit of light relief with popular songs such as ‘We’ll meet again’ and ‘Walking on sunshine’.  In order to make this work, all singers need to be ‘muted’ as it isn’t possible to do this live as yet and hear all singers at once.  We have made it a tradition of singing an ‘unmuted’ Happy Birthday to anyone who is lucky enough in the group to have a celebration however!  We’ve also enjoyed keeping connected with other singers and it has been a pleasure simply just to see everyone’s face on a Monday night.  Inevitably, online rehearsals aren’t for everyone but until we are to meet in person, I feel we should carry on with these rehearsals as much as possible.

Our planned programme for 2020/21 was originally the Lauridsen ‘Lux Aeterna’ for November and a combination of Rutter’s ‘Feel the Spirit’ with the Poulenc ‘Stabat Mater’ in April but we may need to review this selection when we have some further information about how we are able to proceed with our normal rehearsals.  We are also looking at the possibility of some online choral workshops where we might focus on a particular choral piece and hear some parts of it without actually doing any singing.

My thanks goes to our hard-working committee who keep everything ticking along ‘behind the scenes’ and of course to Rachel Fright our marvellous accompanist.
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
Live rehearsals
Live rehearsals have now resumed under cover at Macclesfield Rugby Union Club, Priory Park, Priory Lane, Macclesfield SK10 4AE on Monday evenings at 7.30 pm. If you would like to take part, please email Moira Taylor.