Halifax Choral Society is a thriving and enterprising choir, widely considered to be amongst the foremost of its genre. Many amateur music groups will feel rightly a justified sense of achievement if they are able to perform a complex work and have a sense of pride if the performance goes without a hitch. However we are not content to perform to that level. We seek to interpret the music and present a polished professional programme of music.
The choir is made up of around 100 amateur members, from all walks of life, who enjoy singing to professional standards. Members range in age from teenagers to octogenarians and come mainly from the local community, but increasingly from other parts of West Yorkshire and Lancashire too. We pride ourselves on being a very friendly, open organisation that extends a warm welcome to all new members.
The Society’s high profile has been reflected in performances which have been broadcast nationally. The world premiere of our treasured and unique long-lost Mozart orchestration of Handel’s Judas Maccabeus was recorded for broadcast by the BBC and also networked in the USA. Other broadcasts have included: Carols and Brass (for Radio), Songs of Praise (BBC1) and a live BBC Radio 3 performance with the Halle of Prokofiev’s Cantata for the 25th Anniversary of the October Revolution.
We have produced some excellent CD recordings: Summer Prom, Carols and Brass and Messiah with the Black Dyke Band, Christmas Song with Fodens’ Band and most recently a recording of The Holy Face, a brand new Oratorio by Philip Wilby, which we commissioned to celebrate our Bicentenary. Some of these are available via our website. In addition, there is a DVD of Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man, recorded live at a performance by HCS and Black Dyke Band in the presence of the composer in Birmingham Symphony Hall. A book chronicling the history of our choir is also in progress (watch this space!)
We are incredibly lucky to have our Music Director, John Pryce-Jones, who is also Music Director of the Northern Ballet Sinfonia, among other roles. In addition, we have a regular professional accompanist, David Houlder.
For the next part of our spectacular Bicentenary season celebrations, on Sunday 15th April we will be recreating our first ever performance of The Creation by Haydn, accompanied on period instruments by the Hanover Band, one of Britain’s finest period instruments orchestras. This is a rare opportunity for the music-lovers of Yorkshire to hear one of the great choral works performed on the instruments that would have been used when the piece was composed. As quoted on their website, the use of historic instruments changes the whole quality of a performance because ‘they have more colour, shape and less weight than modern instruments. They are more tangy, more piquant”. It will be as near to time travel as any of us are ever likely to get and will be a unique experience not to be missed.