Croydon choir celebrates centenary with Messiah concert

croydon-choir-050610-087The Croydon Philharmonic Choir, 100 years old next month, is to celebrate its centenary with a performance of Handel’s Messiah at Fairfield Halls on Saturday December 6.

The choir, 150-strong for the occasion, will be backed by the London Mozart Players, and an impressive (it says here) line-up of Croydon dignitaries is expected to attend.

The choir was founded in December 1914 by Alan Kirby, a gifted and passionate amateur musician who was also choirmaster at the South Croydon Congregational Church. It sang the Messiah at its very first concert, performed a few months after the outbreak of the First World War.

Kirby remained choirmaster for 45 years. The choir has had just three musical directors since.

Crispian Steele-Perkins: perfoming with the Croydon Philharmonic Choir next month

Crispian Steele-Perkins: performing with the Croydon Philharmonic Choir next month

Next month, the choir will be conducted at Fairfield Halls by David Gibson, who took over as director in 1999.

The choir has around 100 members – 80 women and 20 men. It will be boosted for the Messiah with singers from Croydon’s other traditional choirs, including the Croydon Male Voice Choir, the Croydon Bach Choir and the Jubilate Choir, together with a number of former CPC members and other guests. Soloists and musicians for the performance include trumpeter Crispian Steele-Perkins, the choir president, and soprano Erica Eloff, a vice-president.

Jill Aebi, CPC’s chair and a member of the choir for 40 years, says the choir will be singing “a wonderful work in the perfect setting of Croydon’s premier concert venue –surely a perfect choice for a centenary occasion”.

The choir has a long tradition of raising money for charities. Its opening concert in 1914 benefited refugees driven from Belgium by the German invasion.

The 2014 Messiah concert will assist the children’s hospice charity Shooting Star Chase.

Musical director David Gibson considers the Messiah one of the two best-loved pieces of choral repertoire. The other is Verdi’s Requiem, which the choir will be performing at Guildford Cathedral on April 18, together with the Basingstoke Choral Society. The CPC’s next performance, following the Messiah, will be its Christmas concert at St Matthew’s Church, Chichester Road, on Tuesday, December 16.

  • Tickets for the Messiah concert are selling well. They cost £18 and £20 (£10 for under 16s). Book at Fairfield Halls (in person or via the website) or from the choir on 07903 011477

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This entry was posted in Art, Croydon Male Voice Choir, Croydon Philharmonic Choir, Fairfield Halls, London Mozart Players, Music and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Croydon choir celebrates centenary with Messiah concert

  1. It promises to be a great occasion and locals would be silly to miss it!

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