MONMOUTH Choral Society’s major spring concert on Saturday, a performance of Mendelssohn’s oratorio Elijah at Wyastone Concert Hall, near Monmouth, will mark a farewell to its musical director for the last four years, Huw Williams.
He is leaving the choir following his recent appointment as director of music at Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, London, where his predecessors include Tallis, Byrd, Purcell and Handel. The Monmouth choir will be joined by the Regency Sinfonia and top-flight soloists Julie Cooper, soprano, Martha McLorinan, mezzo-soprano, Thomas Elwin, tenor and Stuart Young, bass.
Huw Williams said: “Elijah is an Old Testament opera with many wonderfully colourful movements and I am grateful for the chance of performing it in my final concert with Monmouth Choral Society. There are several vigorous choruses full of drama and some poetic and melodic movements. There are warm and tender arias too - many are deservedly famous in their own right and sung frequently in solo concerts.
“This concert gives me an opportunity to look back over the past four years. Working with such terrific and enthusiastic singers has been a pleasure. The passion, interest and dedication on a weekly basis has been inspirational. Among the highlights, the Verdi Requiem and Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius in particular spring to mind, and I’m very grateful to the society for giving me the opportunity to direct these epic works. I also very much enjoyed taking the choir to Hereford and Gloucester cathedrals to sing evensong and a eucharist.”
Roz Williamson, chair of Monmouth Choral Society, said: “Huw’s wealth of musical experience combined with his sense of humour, energy and huge fund of knowledge has provided inspiring leadership for the choir. We will miss him very much and wish him every success in the future.”
Stephen Kings had been appointed to succeed Huw Williams as the choir’s musical director. He currently conducts Bristol New Voices and Thornbury Choral Society, is assistant music director of Bristol Choral Society and assistant director of the BBC National Chorus of Wales.
Tickets for Saturday’s concert, which begins at 7pm, are available from DS Music, Monmouth, www.monmouthchoralsociety.co.uk and will be on sale on the door. They cost £15 or £20, with under-18s free.