Last weekend the Choir travelled to Northern Ireland to participate in the Bangor International Choral Festival.  The Festival had a very convivial and welcoming atmosphere; it was clear that the organising committee and volunteers put in a huge amount of work to make the Festival a success.

We entered a number of classes and were delighted to win the Folk song class! The adjudicator praised our legato line and said that we really captured the sense of each piece. There was a wide range of talent, including some excellent choirs – all the first places were well-deserved. The impressive Trelawynd Male Voice Choir left with a clutch of prizes, including the Tipperary Cut Glass Vase from Tourism Ireland for the best non-Irish choir of the 2019 competition.

The superb Miskelly Chorale who won the Ladies Choir section also won the Sacred Music & Special Awards class- their rendition of ‘Love Divine’ by Howard Goodall was truly lovely. Actually, we were delighted that Howard Goodall remembered us and very kindly sent us good luck wishes via Twitter as the Festival began. We included Howard’s The Lord is My Shepherd in our repertoire, but the Miskelly Chorale were clear winners on the day! We are lucky that, because our Musical Director, Angela Rowley, is a highly experienced and qualified BIFF adjudicator herself, she was able to explain to us the adjudicators’ feedback in context.  In Bangor, our most prized positive feedback (there was lots of it) came from other choirs and members of the audience – the local MP had a tear in her eye when we sang The Rose A capella (Amanda McBroome, arranged by Angela Rowley & John Stott), prompting for her some treasured memories.

Typically, Angela went ‘above and beyond’ in organising the trip (which included trips to Titanic and the Giant’s Causeway) and directing us with great skill through all our carefully memorised pieces. John worked really hard, as ever, providing top-class accompaniment. And our lovely Choir all had a fabulous time together, making the most of chances to spend time together and enjoy the experience in our own way. Those members who were unable to travel to NI were kept ‘in the loop’ by messages and pictures via WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter. This really is wonderful choir!

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