Overgate Hospice Choir is delighted to be performing Messiah in Brighouse Central Methodist Church on Saturday 9th April 2022. This, our first event of 2022, will be our first performance of Messiah since 2015.
The choir has performed Messiah on six previous occasions but this will be our first performance in Brighouse. We are very much looking forward to singing in Brighouse Central Methodist Church, the venue for our traditional Hymn Sings.
Our guests are soloists Claire Strafford, Lucy Appleyard, John Dunford and Quentin Brown with the Principals of the National Festival Orchestra, led by Sally Robinson – at the Organ will be Alan Horsey, and the conductor is Sarah Ogden
Members are sponsoring orchestral players and aiming to cover the expenses of vocal soloists and other incidentals. Central Methodist Church, Brighouse, is very generously providing the venue to us free of charge, thus maximising the amount raised for the Hospice.
Messiah has been associated with charitable projects since it was first written and has a strong link with the Voices for Hospices movement
Tickets, priced £10, are available from Overgate Hospice, Elland, Harvey’s Rawson Street, Halifax, Choir members, The secretary 01422 373252 and from www.wegottickets.com
SARAH OGDEN conductor
Growing up in the beautiful Yorkshire town of Holmfirth, Sarah’s love of music and singing began in early childhood. By the age of 12, she was a performing member of local brass bands, playing the trumpet and cornet. At 14, Sarah began vocal classes and quickly discovered that singing was her passion, her purpose – and her perfect career.
She studied at the University of Birmingham and later completed postgraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music – winning numerous awards and scholarships at both institutions. Other awards include Kirklees Young Musician of the Year.
Sarah’s classically trained mezzo soprano voice gives her great versatility and she loves her career as an operatic, concert and oratorio soloist. She has performed in many fine UK venues including Wigmore Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall, York Minster, Leeds Town Hall, Huddersfield Town Hall and the University of Oxford’s chamber music hall, the Holywell Music Room. As a soloist, she has enjoyed the great privilege of working with outstanding conductors including Sir Mark Elder, David Hill and Clark Rundell. Sarah also combines her love of singing and brass in her long musical partnership with the world-class Black Dyke Band and their Musical Director, Professor Nicholas J. Childs.
But singing is not her only passion: having worked on Opera North’s flagship education programme across the North of England, Sarah has flourished as a skilled conductor, vocal coach and animateur. Now an experienced choral conductor, she is currently the Musical Director of Cawthorne Choral Society. Her vocal insights, energy and a magical ability to inspire choirs to be their very best make her a highly popular guest conductor and vocal workshop leader.
CLAIRE STRAFFORD soprano
Claire Strafford studied at the Leeds College of Music. For many years she has been an active oratorio soloist and has sung the majority of the repertoire from the last four centuries, from Handel’s Messiah to the Verdi Requiem and many major twentieth century works. These have taken her all over the country; to Wimborne Minster, Peterborough, Norwich, Ripon and Bangor Cathedrals, Sherborne Abbey and the great Town Halls of Birmingham and Leeds. She sings regularly at weddings and funerals and is a passionate champion of English song. Claire lives at Kilburn near Thirsk and in recent years has taught solo singing at two very musical schools – Queen Mary’s, Baldersby Park and Ripon Cathedral Choir School.
LUCY APPLEYARD mezzo soprano
Lucy is from the North Yorkshire village of Great Ayton where she began her singing career aged four performing the part of The Little One in Ten in the Bed! She was taught by Zuilmah Hopkins and won many local awards and prizes including a scholarship from Hambleton District Council for promising young musicians.
Lucy went on to study at Leeds College of Music completing a BA(Hons) in 2001 and an MMus in 2006. She performed as a soloist for many of the college ensembles and was awarded the Agnes Grisdale Trophy for Singing for two consecutive years as well as the Post-Graduate Singing Prize.
Lucy has performed numerous operatic roles on the local and national stage. She has worked professionally for Scottish Opera and is a regular at the Harrogate International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival. Operatic roles include Dido (Dido & Aeneas), Madam Flora (The Medium), Mrs Lovett (Sweeney Todd), Second Lady (The Magic Flute), Meg Page (The Merry Wives of Windsor), Arnalta (The Coronation of Poppea) and Carmen in a recent concert
performance of the opera.
Lucy regularly sings as a soloist for many choral societies in Yorkshire and beyond. Recent performances have included Rossini’s Stabat Mater & Petite Messe Solennelle, Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, Handel’s Israel in Egypt, Samson & Messiah, Bach’s Mass in B minor, St John Passion & St Matthew Passion, Elgar’s The Music Makers, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody.
A former Choral Director for the Diocese of Leeds Schools’ Singing Programme, Lucy has now retrained as a primary school teacher and works in an inner city school in Leeds.
Lucy’s hobbies include muddy walks with her husband Peter and daughters Ethel and Ivy and she has recently taken up running and is training for the upcoming Abbey Dash 10K!
JOHN DUNFORD – tenor
John considers that his musical career began as a treble in Birmingham Parish Church. He went on to study organ, singing and conducting at Trinity College of Music, becoming Senior Student and winning the conducting prize. His teaching career has been devoted to running the music departments in four independent schools while balancing as much professional music making as possible. At Music College John began to train as a countertenor, before changing to develop his baritone voice but it is as a tenor that he is now most widely known. He sang as one of the professional choir at St Martin-in-the Fields and later as a lay clerk at Ripon Cathedral. Strong links with Sheffield Bach Choir, Sheffield Oratorio Chorus, Doncaster Choral Society and North Yorkshire Chorus through much of the Baroque and Classical repertoire. He is well-known for his rendition of the tenor solo in Carmina Burana including performances in Ely Cathedral, Harrogate Conference Centre, Sheffield Cathedral, Harrogate’s Royal Hall and Leeds Town Hall.
John’s wider professional work has taken him to an International Music Festival in Rome where he worked with Arthur Oldham and Claudio Abbado. Having held a number of posts as Organist and Choirmaster he enjoyed a short period in charge of music at Sheffield Cathedral.
John has been conductor of the 160 strong Ripon Choral Society for 25 years and the 110 strong Wetherby Choral Society for 28 years. He continues to teach singing and piano at Cundall Manor School and, in a new venture, has given seventeen organ recitals in the last five years.
QUENTIN BROWN – bass. The son of keen amateur singers, Quentin began his musical life as a boy chorister at Rochester Cathedral. As an adult he became a lay-clerk in the choir of Leeds Parish Church and pursued vocal studies with Sybil Chambers, John Carol Case, David Mason and Paul Wade. He was a member of the BBC Northern Singers under Stephen Wilkinson, with whom he toured and frequently recorded for the BBC. Much of Quentin’s work has been undertaken as principal Bass soloist for the St Peters Singers of Leeds. The extended baritone solo in Francis Jackson’s Stabat Mater premiered by SPS in 1997 for the choir’s twentieth anniversary was written by the composer especially for Quentin, who has sung this fine work many times.
He performs a wide repertoire ranging from Bach and Handel to Mendelssohn, Berlioz, Rossini, Verdi, Elgar and Vaughan Williams. In 2000, Quentin was among the soloists in a performance of the St John Passion given by The Goldberg Ensemble to mark the 250th anniversary of the death of JS Bach, and he has appeared with Manchester Camerata and with the English Symphony Orchestra under Dr Donald Hunt. In October 2018 he took the bass role in the first performance of Matthew Oglesby’s acclaimed new Requiem, Pathos. Recent performances include Messiah, and (before the pandemic) Bach’s St John Passion and Mass in B Minor.