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From The Yorkshire Post's round-up of performances of Handel's Messiah for Christmas 2017.

My own favourite is the Wetherby Choral Society and Wetherby Pro Musica, who, inspired by their conductor, John Dunford, have that homespun feeling that takes you deep inside the score.     (David Denton)

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Recent concert review

Monumental Bach Passion at St James Church Wetherby

St James Church was the venue for the Easter Concert given by Wetherby Choral Society together with Wetherby Pro Musica under the baton of Conductor and Musical Director, John Dunford.

The programme comprised one work, the St John Passion by J. S. Bach. First performed in 1724, this incredible composition vividly depicts the final days of the life of Jesus; his betrayal and arrest, his trial and crucifixion all set to music in such a way that the listener becomes acutely involved.

The whole scene of events narrated by the Evangelist, in this performance was brilliantly sung by Robert Johnston who sang with great clarity and a superb feeling of communication. The role of Christ was sung with an excellent sense of understanding by John Savournin, always calm and always with a sense of the peaceful acceptance of Christ to his eventual death on the cross at Calvary. Jack Holton sang the part of Pilate using his splendid baritone voice with conviction and splendid musicality. Claire Filer, mezzosoprano, filled St James’ Church with warmth and deep feeling in her arias especially so in All is fulfilled, it is finished which she sang with amazing sensitivity, accompanied beautifully by Gamba and continuo. Harry Bagnall, tenor, made a dramatic contribution as Peter in Ah, my soul, confidently dealing with the angular rhythms with confidence and assertive tone. Lottie Greenhow’s soprano voice glittered above the heads of the audience in her aria, I follow in gladness.

The Choral Society sang their hearts out with superb results and sang sometimes aggressively, as the crowd, sometimes deeply reflectively as in the chorales.

Wetherby Pro Musica played almost faultlessly showing their usual professional approach to their work. This was a profoundly moving performance brilliantly conducted by John Dunford.

HJ, April 2019

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