Handel helps to raise the roof at hospice

Eastbourne Choral Society's concert at the hospice
Eastbourne Choral Society's concert at the hospice

Eastbourne Choral Society raised the roof – and vital funds – when it performed excerpts from Handel’s Messiah last weekend to celebrate the opening of the town’s new St Wilfrid’s Hospice.

More than 70 members of the choir joined vocal forces to deliver a number of rousing and uplifting excerpts from Handel’s masterpiece, including And the Glory of the Lord, Unto us a Child is Born and the famous Hallelujah chorus.

Musical director John Hancorn led the choir – with both baton and voice – as it performed in the hospice’s new large, acoustic atrium.

John, who has himself enjoyed a long and distinguished career in opera, oratorio and consort singing, performed the solo bass part. Joining him were two young soloists embarking on their professional careers – soprano Shona Hull and Alto Clara Kanter – and the choir’s leading tenor, Rod Brown.

Completing the musical line-up was trained classical pianist Nancy Cooley, a former accompanist at Glyndebourne Opera.

Liz Barker, chair of Eastbourne Choral Society, said, “We were absolutely thrilled to be asked by the team at St Wilfrid’s Hospice to help them celebrate the opening of their fantastic new facility.

“Supporting the wonderful work they do is a cause that is very close to our hearts, as many of our members have experienced first-hand their fantastic care in the most difficult of times.”

The choir concluded the evening with a rendition of Brian Chilcott’s tender and moving Irish Blessing.

Eastbourne Choral Society will be back in fundraising action this weekend (Saturday December 14) when choir members will be singing carols in the Arndale Centre from 10.30am once again in aid of the hospice.

The Eastbourne Choral Society exists to promote the enjoyment and appreciation of choral music and to encourage both members of the choir and audiences to further their knowledge of choral works.

It performs two or three major concerts a year and takes part in other musical events in the town. At present the membership numbers approximately 90 and they work alongside instrumentalists and soloists.

The charity concert on Sunday night was one of the first events at the hospice.