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.
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
Coming to Croydon
- Personal safety training for volunteers, Nov 17
- David Lean Cinema, Effie Gray, Nov 20
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
- Choose Your Own Documentary, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 21-22
- David Lean Cinema, Lilting, Nov 22
- Streatham-Croydon women’s rugby training, Frant Road, Nov 23
- David Lean Cinema, Wakolda, Nov 27
- The Last Sense of Sudden, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 27-29
- Ghost Stories for Christmas, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 3
- St Andrew’s churchyard gardening session, 10am, Dec 6
- Fog Horn Funnies, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 6
- Coulsdon Yulefest, Dec 6-7
- Oval Tavern Folk Club, Dec 7
- South Croydon business breakfast, Dec 13
- Friends of the Earth Green Beanfeast, Dec 15 (book by Dec 1)
- Norwood Society talk: Penge, the making of a suburb, Jan 15
- South Croydon business breakfast, Jan 24
- Norwood Society talk: Crystal Palace and Dulwich, Feb 19
- Norwood Society talk: Charlies Dickens in Norwood, Mar 19
- Norwood Society: Balloons and airships at Crystal Palace, Apr 16
Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough: 407,847 page views (Jan-Jun 2014) If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, a residents’ or business association or local event, please email us with full details at firstname.lastname@example.org