tHE Overgate Hospice Choir was founded 25 years ago as part of the national Voices for Hospices movement and will be celebrating both its own special anniversary year and the birthday of our monarch at a Right Royal Do on Friday, May 20.
In its quarter century, the choir has become an established ensemble in the area, performing four times a year and raising a total of £277,626 for the Elland hospice.
It has members from Halifax, Huddersfield, Elland and Brighouse – around 80 in total – and is directed by the renowned Leeds city organist Dr Simon Lindley.
The choir recently held its annual Hymn Sing in Brighouse Methodist Church, an event that raised more than £2,100. It is hoped that the Right Royal Do to commemorate the Queen’s 90th birthday will prove to be even more profitable.
Carol Armitage, choir chairman, says the concert will be packed with choristers’ favourites and music fit for a monarch.
She explained: “Our musical director has chosen Handel’s anthems (composed for the Coronation of King Charles I and Queen Caroline in 1727) and the Mozart Coronation Mass was chosen by one of our members. We’ll also be singing majestic coronation pieces by Rutter, The Lord Bless You and Keep You and the Gaelic Blessing, and Ivor Novello’s Rose of England and Sir Edward German’s Long Live Elizabeth.”
As always the choir is bringing in professional musicians and soloists. These include principals from the National Festival Orchestra, organist Alan Horsey (the choir’s regular accompanist), trombonist Josh Barber and vocal soloists Claire Stafford, Kathryn Woodruff, Peter Law and Quentin Brown.
“After our successful Hymn Sing we have decided to include a couple of items that went down well,” added Carol.
“So we’ll also be singing We Walk by Safe, a new one to us, and Hear Me Redeemer, which we enjoy singing.”
The choir’s spring concert is usually held in All Saints Church, Elland, but the Right Royal Do has been moved to the historic setting of Halifax Minster and will start at 7pm. All Saints, however, will be the venue for a performance of Haydn’s Creation in October this year – an occasion that will replicate the choir’s first performance all those years ago.
Tickets for the royal celebration are £12 from the hospice or by visiting www.overgatehospicechoir.com
The choir is currently on the lookout for bass singers to swell its numbers.