The biennial Voices for Hospices performance is Gilbert and
Sullivan’s hilarious operetta
2nd 2019 Mote Hall Maidstone Leisure Centre
The cast features a fine array of
professional G & S performers with the Chorus and Orchestra of
local singers and instrumentalists led by Maidstone Choral Union’s
conductor Martin Hindmarsh.
This satirical fantasy with a melody rich
score and brilliant wit where ‘the Fairies take on the House of
Lords Chaps’ will make for a brilliant evening’s entertainment
in aid of an important local charity.
Any singers wishing to join the chorus
for a registration form.
CHOIR IN FINE VOICE FOR NEW SEASON
county town’s oldest-established choir has an exciting programme
lined up for its new season.
Maidstone Choral Union,
just back from a highly successful concert tour in Germany, is
already busy rehearsing for its next classical concert.
The season will open
with a semi-staged version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera
Iolanthe, a charity concert in aid of the Heart of Kent Hospice, on
Saturday 2 November at Mote Hall, Maidstone Leisure Centre, from
Singers and orchestral
performers from Maidstone and its surrounding villages are being
invited to take part.
Tickets are available
online (see below), from the tourist office at Maidstone Museum, on
the door or from choir members.
Next is the traditional
Christmas concert with carols for the choir and audience to join in,
on Saturday 14 December, at All Saints Church, Maidstone. Wassail,
Alexander L’Estrange’s modern carols, will also be performed.
This will be swiftly followed by the choir’s traditional 12th
Night concert in the URC church on Monday 6th January 2020.
St John Passion, British composer Bob Chilcott’s dramatic setting
of words from St John’s gospel, will be the Easter concert at All
Saints Church, Maidstone, on 28th March.
And finally, an American-themed concert with songs from the
shows, will be staged on 4th July in All Saints Church.
To coincide with Last Night of the Proms at home, the choir gave
two concerts of mainly English music which were rapturously received
by packed audiences in towns on Germany’s Ruhr valley. The programme
included Jerusalem, Vaughan Williams’ Pastoral Symphony and Fantasia
on Greensleeves, and Parry’s I Was Glad.
David Pickett, Maidstone Choral Union President, said: “I am
proud of the fact that we went over to Germany and gave our
performances. The reception we got was magnificent and I hope we can
return the compliment one day.”
MUSIC AND SONGS HERALD A TIME FOR PEACE
and musicians from Maidstone and across mid-Kent have sounded a
heartfelt tribute to the fallen of World War I.
Maidstone Wind Symphony orchestra and Maidstone Choral
Union combined for their special concert A Time for Peace at Maidstone
Leisure Centre on Saturday, (10 November) to mark 100 years since
The choir joined forces with singers from Maidstone’s
Maplesden Noakes School, East Malling Singers, Tunbridge Wells Girls
Grammar School and Ashford Invicta Singers to produce a 100-strong blend
Conductor Jonathan Crowhurst set the tone from the
outset when he asked the audience to withhold their applause out of
respect until the concert ended. This they did, to great effect.
He then introduced the moving opening piece, Let My
Love Be Heard, by Jake Runestad, which he said acted as a 21st
century narrative on the meaning of conflict and loss, reflecting on the
2016 terrorist atrocities in Paris.
Sir Karl Jenkins’ rousing Mass for Peace, The Armed
Man, was the highlight of the evening. It was made even more poignant
when the musicians put down their instruments and joined the choir
singing the last movement in perfect harmony.
Renowned trumpeter Matilda Lloyd, who won the BBC Young
Musician of the Year Brass Final in 2014, played The Last Post.
She also performed Deborah
Pritchard’s Seven Halts on the Somme – inspired by seven paintings.
Martin Hindmarsh, Maidstone Choral Union’s conductor,
sang A.E.Houseman’s A Shropshire Lad in a new arrangement for the
windband, and he gave the first performance of new versions of Bugles
Sang and For the Fallen, two songs he produced with his twin brother
There were solo spots for sopranos Rosie Waddington and
Iris Korfker, euphonium player Phil Neeve, and some readings of
well-known World War I poems. The evening ended with Elgar’s Nimrod.
Jonathan Crowhurst, Maidstone Wind Symphony’s Musical
Director, had reminded the audience in his introduction that around 16
million soldiers and civilians lost their lives in the Great War.
He said: “No epitaph will truly encompass the
significance of all these sacrifices. But I hope our offering is
respectful and reflects the eternal gratitude of a nation.”
It certainly did.
MAIDSTONE CHORAL UNION CLOSES 115th SEASON WITH MASTERPIECES
The Choral Union Orchestra opened with Symphony
No.1 by William Boyce. The piece is a delightfully unassuming gem from
the 18th Century, with lovely tunes. It was played at the recent wedding
of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Vivaldi’s joyous and tuneful Gloria brought the
best from the ensemble with rousing numbers interspersed with moving
Martin Hindmarsh, the choir’s Music Director and
conductor, rates The Nelson Mass as one of Haydn’s finest works. Its
dark and foreboding nature is leavened by glorious writing for soloists.
There was wonderful singing from Kirsty Hopkins, soprano, Jennifer
Westwood, mezzo-soprano, Greg Tassell, tenor and Richard Bannon,
The Choral Union and Maidstone Wind Symphony will
present a WW1 centenary concert at Mote Hall on Saturday November 10th.
Karl Jenkins The Armed Man will be the centre piece.
For ticket details, go to
Next Concert and
CHOIR RAISES VOICES IN PRAISE OF CREATION
How fitting that Maidstone Choral Union chose to
sing The Creation for its spring concert.
Joseph Haydn’s rousing oratorio, mainly telling
the biblical story in Genesis of how God made the earth, proved an
uplifting choice and the choir rose to the challenge in All Saints
Church on Saturday night. (17 March)
So just as we have endured our late winter
storms, with its heavy snowfalls and freezing temperatures, we can now
look forward to the natural wonders of creation as spring gets under
Martin Hindmarsh, the choir’s Music Director and
conductor, explained in his programme notes that Haydn had worked on The
Creation for nearly 18 months after a visit to England in 1791.
“The result must have exceeded his most cherished
hopes. From its premier right up to the present day, performers and
listeners have responded warmly to the life-affirming spirit that
pervades this magnificent score,” Martin said.
At the concert interval, he thanked the
appreciative audience for attending on one of the coldest nights of the
year, adding: “The good thing about Haydn is that his music puts a smile
on your face…continue with that thought in mind.”
As well as the six days of The Creation, which
the choir captured with its strong melodies and hymns of praise, there
was delightful singing by the soloists, Colette Boushell (soprano),
Stephen Brown (tenor) and Gavin Cranmer-Moralee (baritone), accompanied
by a 25-strong orchestra.
Raise the Roof, a concert in aid of the Mayor of
Maidstone’s charities, will be the choir’s next concert, featuring the
BAE Systems Brass Band, at All Saints Church on Sunday 13 May, starting
For ticket details, go to this
VOICES RAISE £9,500 FOR CARE CHARITY
Songs of love and laughter have helped to raise
more than £9,500 for a charity caring for terminally ill people in
Heart of Kent Hospice, which provides end of life
care at family homes and at its Aylesford hospice for people in
Maidstone, West Malling and Tonbridge, will benefit from the charity
gala night performance of The Mikado at Maidstone Leisure Centre on
Saturday. (28th October)
The audience of more than 450 people packed into
Mote Hall to enjoy the popular songs and love story of Gilbert and
Sullivan’s timeless comic opera set in Japan.
Maidstone Choral Union and singers from 15 other
local choirs and individuals provided the 125-strong Hospice Festival
Choir, together with orchestra players from all over Kent, led by Martin
Hindmarsh, Maidstone Choral Union’s Music Director.
They were joined by several experienced
professional singers who freely gave their services for Voices for
Hospices, the world’s largest singing event, which is held every two
years. The cast was assembled by the artistic director, Colin Morris,
and he updated the amusing libretto when he reprised his role as KoKo,
the Lord High Executioner.
James Barker-McCardle, Chairman of Heart of Kent
Hospice trustees, afterwards paid tribute to the high calibre
musicianship and singing which, he said, had provided a ‘magnificent’
He told the audience that the hospice relied on
community support, and that 91p of every £1 donated was directly spent
on patient care. With increasing costs and patient demands, he said: “We
need to mobilise in a way that has never been achieved before.”
The Voices for Hospices event was first staged in
Maidstone in 1991. Other recent productions have been HMS Pinafore
(2015), Haydn’s ‘Creation’ (2013) and Handel’s Messiah (2011).
The Mikado was premiered on 14th March 1885. Its
popular songs include A wand’ring minstrel, Three little maids from
school and The flowers that bloom in the spring.
Rehearsals are now underway for Maidstone Choral
Union’s Christmas concert at All Saints Church, Mill Street, Maidstone,
on Saturday 9 December starting at 7.30pm. Carols for the choir and
audience are on the programme as well as Saint Saens’ Christmas
Ko-Ko: Colin Morris, Katisha: Sylvia
Pooh-Bah: Richard Woodall, Pitti-Sing:
Sarah Gallop, Pish-Tush: Leon Berger,
Williamson, Nanki-Poo: Ian Parrett, Yum-Yum: Yvonne Patrick
L to R
Pooh-Bah: Richard Woodhall, Katisha: Sylvia Clarke, Mikado:
Front Pitti-sing: Sarah
Gallop, Ko-Ko: Colin Morris