Bob ChilcottMaidstone Sings with Passion

On Saturday18th February, 150 singers from Maidstone and district joined together to sing Bob Chilcott’s St. John Passion. Quite a momentous sound came from Invicta school all day as they rehearsed and then performed the work. HOWEVER, it was all the more wonderful as the composer, Bob Chilcott, was there sharing his experiences and musical skills which certainly improved our standards and gave us all the pleasure of having the composer rehearse and explain how he wanted it sung!  

Bob is well known as a composer who can move audiences with music that seems simple but is very uplifting. This was a unique experience for us all to work with him and thanks go to Maidstone Choral Union for organising the day and for so many singers from other choirs joining us. Everyone went home feeling happy and uplifted by such an experience. That is what singing together can do for so many people and takes away some of the day to day troubles that may affect us.

You can hear Maidstone Choral Union perform this work and the joyful Part 3 of Messiah. on Saturday 1st April at All Saints Church, Maidstone at 7.30pm. Tickets are £12 for unreserved seating and are available on the door or from Freda Crispin, 01622 726193. Students half price. See Next Concert.


Maidstone Choral Union joined voices with a Dutch choir and accordion band for a stirring concert on their latest trip abroad.

Together they rounded off their performance with a rousing rendition of Land of Hope and Glory, the perennial Proms’ favourite, which was warmly received by an enthusiastic audience, on Friday, 9 September.

It was a fitting finale for MCU’s invited return to the Mariakerk church in Apeldoorn, where they first performed on a previous overseas trip two years ago. This time they were joined by the Hiel Gewoan music group who also sang tunes from Friesland province in north west Holland.

Led by Martin Hindmarsh, their Music Director, and accompanied by their young guest organist Lawrence Long, the 27-strong Maidstone choir sang classical pieces including Handel’s The King Shall Rejoice and Stainer’s God So Loved the World, as well as spirituals including Swing Low Sweet Chariot, the England rugby anthem.

Soloist Samantha Hotston led a moving performance of the Benedictus, followed by the choir singing God Shall Wipe Away All Tears, from Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man.

Vilma Lay, the choir Chairman, said: “This was the first time for many years that we have had the opportunity to sing with another choir abroad. I am pleased to say our performance went down very well.”

The choir has been giving overseas concerts for many years as part of its annual holiday trips.  On this occasion, members stayed near the canal city of Utrecht and enjoyed leisure time together visiting various sites including the Royal Delft pottery showroom, as well as seeing Vermeer’s famous painting of Girl With A Pearl Earring at an art gallery in The Hague.

Rehearsals are now under way for the choir’s next concert, Dido and Aeneas, at All Saints Church, Maidstone, on Saturday 5 November, starting at 7.30pm. For ticket details, go here.