MESSIAH COMES TO TOWN
Broomfield Church and Community Choir
with Sandon School Voices
Broomfield Parish Church
Patrick Appleford's catchy cantata was first heard in 1992. This splendid revival, organized and conducted by Jill Parkin, raised funds for the restoration of the organ in St Mary with St Leonard's, which was packed to capacity for this very special event.
The work – for choir, soloists, narrators and congregation – tells the Nativity story in a series of icons [word pictures from the readers - Dick Petley and Val Vicary] based on the Gospel of Luke.
The choir – specially formed for the occasion – sang the crowd choruses; their Come and See the Baby was a comedy highlight. The audience was encouraged to join, chorale-style, in the four very accessible hymn tunes.
Jonathan Parkin was a commanding Gabriel, Neill Wiltshire the priest Zechariah. Good to See You was a lovely catch-up duet from kinswomen Elizabeth and Mary; Rachel Curren's Elizabeth had a superb solo – Sometimes I Wonder – backed by Val Hougham and the Satin String Quartet. Marvellous to hear Mary sung by the pure young voice of Emma Shorey; her What a Wonder-filled Day was especially fine. Her equally youthful Joseph was Louis Dearmer. Simeon, who welcomes the Messiah to the temple in Jerusalem in the final icon, was sung by Richard Lovewell.
Canon Appleford, who was in the audience to hear his cantata, uses an attractive variety of musical styles to stress the universal relevance of the Christmas story. There's even a nod to that other Messiah, 250 years older, also a notable fund-raiser in its day.