Lymm Festival Concert at Lymm Methodist Church, Monday 25th June 2018
“You may say I’m a dreamer”
Songs and poems from a century of conflict and protest
Commemorations of the First World War have been many, so it was refreshing to experience an evening of words and music which included some lesser known pieces and poetry linked to a ‘century of conflict and protest’. Mark Bradley, the musical director of the Singers, had compiled an imaginative programme entitled ‘You may say I’m a dreamer’ which was fresh, varied and thoughtful – our interest held by changes in mood and message.
Under Mark’s directorship, the Bridgewater Singers (eighteen in number) gave the audience enjoyable entertainment and also a pause for thought about the anticipation, experience and ultimate futility of war.
The evening began with roistering songs and some audience participation as we imagined the enthusiastic young men leaving to serve their country. This optimism was contrasted with the reality of the soldier’s experience by the reading of Edward Thomas’ poem ‘Rain’. Matthew Bradley’s readings threaded through the music very effectively; delivered in a naturalistic, conversational tone which enhanced the meaning and pathos.
From the singers there were lovely, confident solos and ensemble pieces, highlighting the passage of time and change in mood and attitudes, from the First World War to more recent times. These pieces were enriched by the commentary provided by the compere, one of the singers, Peter Smith. The background detail gave the audience a moment of reflection and added to the understanding of the music and the overall experience.
The singers were accompanied by Catherine Gellert who played with great assurance for a wide range and style of music, from the very moving ‘Their bodies are buried in peace’ (from ‘Israel in Egypt’ by G.F.Handel) to the protest songs from the 60s and 70s.
The Bridgewater Singers gave a fine performance – a very enjoyable evening.
The admission to the concert was free but a retiring collection was given to ‘Papyrus’ a charity working for the prevention of young suicide.
A professional and enjoyable evening. Excellent music. Enjoyed the variety – helped by excellent compering. Interaction with the audience during the “hopeful years” i.e. the start of the concert was particularly good. Heartfelt. Could see the older folks around loved it and it really meant something to them. The link with his family members made it personal. Definite sense of theatre.
A well balanced programme which had a lot of thought provoking poems. The music and poems complimented each other very well. The audience really enjoyed the participation and some knew ALL the words including the verses!!! The choir has many people who are able to perform solo or small group pieces equally well. The choice of music was well thought out and sequenced to full effect. Keep up the good work!!
Many congratulations on the performance, the amount of research that it must have needed was more than justified by our friends from Barnton. The sincerity and dedication shown by everyone concerned. The use of the soloists and Matthew’s contribution was good to see. Altogether a very satisfying experience, moving and enjoyable at the same time. Please pass on my thanks to the group.
St Thomas’ CE Church, Stockton Heath
Monday 26th March 2018
A concert of music for Holy Week/Easter in St Thomas’ church began with Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria’ and demonstrated the Bridgewater Singers’ wonderful tone and balance, a truly rich and pure sound.
The rather dead acoustics were not helpful to singers who couldn’t hear themselves but the sound carried well so everyone was clearly heard.
The Lauridsen ‘Lux Aeterna’ was new to me and I really enjoyed it with it’s moving lyrical quality and interesting harmonies at times, which made it exciting to listen to. Well done to everyone involved.
Not only was the music appreciated, it was backed up with generous donations for St Rocco’s Hospice to the tune of £484.50 from a congregation/audience of just over 80 people. Many thanks.
Gainsborough House, 14th December 2017
During the Christmas period we try to take our music into the community and sing at a couple of Residential homes each year. This year we visited Gainsborough House in Warrington to sing carols to the residents. We were heartened by a comment from a relative who was listening to us from her mother’s room off the corridor. Whilst we were singing her mother spoke her daughter’s name for the first time since she had become ill with dementia. A real breakthrough for all concerned and so encouraging for us, the singers.
Bridgewater Singers Present ‘A gift for Christmas’ at Barnton Methodist Church, 11th December 2017
This group of singers never fails to impress. Despite reduced numbers, the Christmas visit to the Barnton Methodist Church was a resounding success. From the initial impact of their appearance-lovely red stoles ladies-to the final “Wish you a merry Christmas”, the evening was a delight.
The programme included enough old favourites to satisfy even the most traditional of us. The opening piece ‘Christmas is coming” and the carol “Hark the herald angels sing” with its fiendish descant in the last verse, set the tone for an evening of musical treats.
A well-constructed programme, Including the challenging “O Magnum Mysterium” by Thomas Louis Victoria, pieces by Carol Ann Duffy and Sasha Johnson Manning, the ever popular “Walking in the Air, “Sleigh Ride”, “O Holy Night”, and the slightly risqué but very funny “12 Days after Christmas” all combined with the opportunity for the audience to join in with well-known carols, resulted in a thoroughly satisfying evening.
The clarity and musical interpretation of the choir and soloists was enhanced by the superb support of the two accompanists and the narration between the pieces much appreciated.
Under the leadership of Mark Bradley, the choir more than fulfilled the promise of “A Gift for Christmas”.
Jean Foster, 12.12.2017.
Lymm Festival Concert at Lymm Methodist Church, Monday 26th June 2017
At a time when Glastonbury was in the news and that there were a wide variety of musical concerts on offer in Lymm Festival, it was great to have an almost full house for the Bridgewater Singers performance of “ A Season of Love”. It was a wonderful evening with a range of aspects of love, ranging from the religious, through the classical, musicals and folk songs to the very modern.
The audience was entertained to a very professional performance by the choir, including solo items and interspersed with fascinating anecdotes given by their compere on the background of the music and the composers. An interesting and uplifting concert held the audience to the conclusion inspiring them to give generously to the fund to support cancer treatment for the nephew of the accompanist.
If you missed this year’s concert, make a date to look for The Bridgewater Singers in next year’s festival programme.
Robin & Eileen Mundy
St John Passion at St Luke’s Church, Tuesday 11th April, 2017
What a privilege to be in the audience for the Bridgewater Singers’ version of Bob Chilcott’s St John Passion. Narrated by Philip Cartwright as ‘The Evangelist’ in his wonderful tenor voice, it tells the story, as in St John’s gospel, of Jesus’ arrest, trial and his death on the cross. Bass, George Hulbert, had just the voice one would imagine ‘Jesus’ would have had, powerful, gentle and rich. ‘Pilate’, was sung by Seth Hamill, also a bass, but entirely different, commanding and harder, without the softness of any of the soloists. The music, haunting at times without a definite tune, was complemented by the singing of the rest of the choir. A rich and harmonious score was played by John Stott on the restored organ. (All that fundraising was worth it, such a great sound.) That Tuesday, if I had attended no other Holy Week service, it would have set the mind on what Good Friday and Easter meant and felt.
Doreen Whimperley, St Ambrose Church, Widnes
We also had the privilege of being part of that wonderful production. The whole experience was extremely moving and brought tears to your eyes. You felt as though you were part of the crowd witnessing the events of that period over 2000 years ago, and why Jesus had to die to save us all. Very emotional.
Can we please see if they can come back next year, so that maybe more people can share this moving experience?
Barry & Yvonne Horabin, St Luke’s, Farnworth
I was glad I went to the performance last night. I found it very moving. Many thanks.
How fabulous! It was so moving and beautiful.
It must have taken so many hours of rehearsals!
Well done, all of you. How did you manage to stand so still all that time 😗?
I really wanted to clap after each act. I was sitting on one hand xxx
So glad I came. 😘
Christine Kershaw, Widnes Foodbank volunteer
Just to say what a wonderful time both Ann and I had tonight; it really was wonderful 💐🌻🌸🌹🌿🌺🌷🌻🌼 xx
Margaret Wilkinson, Widnes Foodbank volunteer
Absolutely amazing…beautiful music and wonderful singing.
Friend of choir member