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The Messiah, 1st December 2012
25 December 2012

After our amazing concert in December two letters were printed in the Ross-Shire Journal.  With their permission I shall re-print them here in case you missed them


Messiah was a revelation!

SIR- Some years ago you were kind enough to print my letter praising a most successful concert by the Dingwall and District Choral Society.  Building on such bricks, laid by his predecessor, they joined with the Invergordon Singers and, last Saturday, gave a truly memorable performance of Handel's "Messiah".  The rhythmic and total precision of their singing, excellence of soprano, tenor and bass soloists plus the fine playing of the Dingwall Sinfonia made this a similar occasion.  In the latter's ranks were many members of the Highland Chamber Orchestra whose playing has seen soaring and encouraging improvement since their formation at the millennium.  The countertenor engaged was unable to sing, so Elaine Shearer, a member of the Dingwall sopranos, stepped forward to give a winning performance in his stead.  The other soloists, too, were excellent.  Soprano Jessica Leary gave us an especially bright "Rejoicegreatly, O Daughter of Zion" and a serenely confident "I know that my Redeemer Liveth".  Tenor Radni Hübner sang authoritatively with eloquent, ringing precision, as did the bass, Andrew Tipple.  His "Why do the nations..." lost nothing in fury, and "The trumpet shall sound" rang out most musically accompanied by Rob Farmer's trumpet.  Drawing together all the strands of a remarkably fine performance, conductor John Thomson was ably supported by the choirs' accompanists Aileen Fraser and Mairi MacKenzie.  The musical precision of the choirs' singing, their response to their conductor and orchestra made for a truly memorable musical evening.  After 270 years, Handel's masterpiece has delighted another audience.  The house was completely sold out.  My congratulations and thanks to all concerned.

Ralph Duncan, Inverness


A magnificent occasion


SIR - Congratulations to all involved in Saturday night's marvellous performance of Handel's Messiah in Strathpeffer.  The evening was a testement to the months of personal and collective hard work it doubtlessly took members of Dingwall Choral Society and Invergordon Singers to reach such a standard.  The orchestra made the evening particularly special, the soloists were magnificent and there can be no other venue in the north of Scotland more perfect than Strathpeffer's Spa Pavilion for delivering such a magical night.  I'm sure everyone fortunate enough to get a ticket returned home feeling exceptionally privileged, a triumph for conductor James(sic) Thomson.

Caroline Rham, Glasgow


To this praise I shall add my own.  It was a truly memorable night with members of the audience comparing us favourably with the RSNO's annual performance of Messiah (OK, they actually said we were far better).  Having rehearsed both choirs I was confident it was going to be a good performance, but everyone truly excelled themselves and stunned even me with the quality of your singing.  My thanks and congratulations go out to Elaine for stepping in at the last moment to cover Reno's absence; you were fantastic!  It may or may not have come across during rehearsals, but I am not a particular fan of the Hallelujah chorus.  Despite this, when the cry of "KING OF KINGS" came rolling out I would have happily listened to it on repeat till May (when you are required to replace it with something else equally amazing... no pressure!)

I am so proud of you all.  Thank you for all your hard work and I look forward to seeing you all (and your pencils - and any friends you think may enjoy coming along too - and their pencils - especially male pencil holders) on the 10th of January for our first rehearsal of "A musical A-Z".

Thank you,

John T

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