Bristol Choral Society 2013-4 season:

Bristol Choral Society’s new concert season, under conductor Adrian Partington, has been announced and is on sale now.

A packed season of wonderful music lies ahead, covering a huge variety of concerts from major performances with leading professional orchestras, a concert with children, a concert for children, a chance to come & sing Mozart’s Requiem at Colston Hall, plus of course the renowned annual performances of Messiah at Christmas:

2013-14 Bristol Choral Society season brochure - click to view

2013-14 Bristol Choral Society season brochure – click to view

Saturday 23 November 2013
Colston Hall, Bristol
Britten’s War Requiem

A major performance of Britten’s choral masterpiece with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, three renowned soloists and combined choruses totalling well in excess of 400 performers – timed to take place on the weekend marking 100 years since Benjamin Britten’s birth.

Wilfred Owen’s poems of the First World War are ingeniously stitched into the Latin texts of the Requiem in Britten’s impassioned plea for peace and reconciliation which stunned its first audience into silence before heartfelt applause at its 1962 premiere.

Part of Colston Hall’s Britten100 weekend with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and ‘The World Changed’ – Extreme Times, Extraordinary Music series.

Britten War Requiem, Bristol Choral Society, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Colston Hall Bristol 23 Nov 2013 - click to view flyer

Britten War Requiem, Bristol Choral Society, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Colston Hall Bristol 23 Nov 2013 – click to view flyer

Click here for War Requiem tickets and information

Saturday 21 December 2013
Colston Hall, Bristol
Handel’s Messiah

The choir’s renowned annual Christmas performance of Handel’s Messiah (performed from memory), with the stylish playing of baroque orchestra Music for Awhile, led by renowned violinist Margaret Faultless, at 7.30pm.

Handel's Messiah: Bristol Choral Society at Colston Hall Bristol, Saturday 21 December 2013

Handel’s Messiah: Bristol Choral Society at Colston Hall Bristol, Saturday 21 December 2013

Click here for Messiah tickets and information

Saturday 21 December 2013
Colston Hall, Bristol
Mini Messiah family concert

Preceded at 4.30pm by this afternoon concert abridged version of Messiah for families (children go free!)

Mini Messiah family concert Colston Hall Bristol, Saturday 21 Dec 2013 - click for flyer

Mini Messiah family concert Colston Hall Bristol, Saturday 21 Dec 2013 – click for flyer

Click here for Mini Messiah tickets and information

Friday 14 February 2014
Colston Hall, Bristol
Valentine’s Day Opera Gala

A spectacular gala evening featuring a dreamy programme packed with some of the world’s best loved operatic arias and choruses including O mio babbino caro and Nessun Dorma – perfect for music-lovers, opera-lovers or just plain lovers…

Tuesday 25 March 2014
Colston Hall, Bristol

More than 300 children from Bristol primary schools, a jazz quintet and Bristol Choral Society unite to perform this brilliant fusion of traditional African song and jazz.

Saturday 29 March 2014
Colston Hall, Bristol
Come & Sing Mozart’s Requiem

All are welcome to come & sing one of the world’s most popular choral works under the expert tuition of conductor Adrian Partington, ready to give an evening performance at Colston Hall with New Bristol Sinfonia orchestra, a choir of hundreds and soloists.

Saturday 12 April 2014
Colston Hall, Bristol
and Sunday 13 April 2014
Royal Festival Hall, London

By invitation of the Philharmonia Orchestra, Bristol Choral Society sings Janacek’s Glagolitic Mass in this pair of concerts in Bristol and London, under conductor Jakub Hrusa

Saturday 14 June 2014, 7.30pm
Bristol Cathedral
Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle

Rossini’s setting of the Mass (neither small nor solemn) in his own inimitable style in the glorious setting of Bristol Cathedral.

Tickets for individual concerts are on sale now online at
and from Colston Hall
(0844 887 1500 or in person).

A season ticket offering 15% discount when booking four or more concerts is also available (download the postal season ticket order form at to book the season ticket)


Introducing children to classical concerts – less doesn’t have to mean lesser

It’s one of the perennial questions asked by those involved in promoting classical concerts: how do we get more young people (and indeed children) coming to hear how wonderful classical music is live, and to instil in them a real love for concerts and music in general?

There are, of course, several works written specifically for children (most based around a story), but to this writer, they seem very much to be an adults idea of what they think children want to hear, and after a performance, most children can be heard referring to part of the story as their ‘favourite bit’, rather than being that excited by the music itself.

Many orchestras do sterling work in the area of music education too, offering workshops and family concerts, but these either seem to be quite substantially funded, or have very high admission prices (meaning, effectively, they probably mainly attract families of those who already attend concerts anyway).

Many also seem to heavily feature music ‘off the telly’ such as theme tunes, Harry Potter and the like, which is fine, but very different from type of music that classical music lovers really develop a love and passion for.

We thought there must be a way to introduce families to classical music in a way that is only less in terms of quantity and not lesser in quality, without being at all condescending, or having any kind of gimmicks – letting the music speak for itself and letting the music become what the children go away remembering.

Mini Messiah family concert, Saturday 21 December 2013, Colston Hall, Bristol

Mini Messiah family concert, Saturday 21 December 2013, Colston Hall, Bristol

We hit upon our idea for a ‘Mini Messiah’ family concert during our December 2009 concert – Bristol Choral Society usually performs Messiah on the Saturday before Christmas at the Colston Hall in Bristol every year (since 1892 in fact).
These annual evening performances always draw a good crowd, but in common with most other concerts, the majority of the audience are toward the upper end of the age spectrum. Many of this audience were probably introduced to Messiah by being taken along to performances by their parents when they were children, but it seems this is a tradition that doesn’t seem to happen any more (in fact, it seems to have stopped a generation ago).
On that night in 2009, there was one 8-9 old girl who was sitting near the front of the audience – on watching her, it was apparent she was almost comatose by the end of the first half, and did not return for the second, which is a shame: It is great music, but it is too long for most children to take in one sitting, and (to this writer) most of the more exciting music happens in parts II & III, but if they don’t make it past part I, they will never know that!
So the idea of Mini Messiah came to us – how about picking out 10-12 varied numbers and squeezing them into an afternoon concert lasting under an hour, to make a family-friendly introduction to Messiah capable of exciting and holding the attention of all?

On Saturday 18 December 2010 at 4:30pm, our Mini Messiah was born: Would anyone be there to hear it? Would they stay past the first 10 minutes? Would anyone be able to hear anything over the protestations of bored and restless children?

Well, we are pleased to report nearly a thousand people turned up, including hundreds of children, and despite a few bathroom visits during proceedings, all stayed until the end. Even more surprising was the level of quiet in the auditorium once the music started (it wasn’t quite library hush, but the atmosphere was very much that of enthralment and wonder – I have to say, unlike performances of, say, Babar the Elephant that I have attended where a lot of the children were bored, restless, and noisy). The biggest source of gratification, however, was the obvious joy that it brought to this almost entirely new audience – this was evident in the genuine warmth of reception that the performance received, and seeing the pleasure of the children expressed in such ways as dancing on their seats throughout!

So, some practicalities if you might be thinking of staging a similar event for children with your group:

What to perform: Messiah is ideal as you can pick and choose some of the 50-odd short numbers to make your varied programme, nothing is too long and the music is easily enjoyable on a first listen. The idea could work just as well for other pieces too, just remember the basic idea is to cut down on quantity and not the quality. The idea is to engage people and bring them back again and again, not to put them off for life! If speaking to your audience, little and often is probably best.

Costs: As we were already staging an evening performance, the additional cost of  the family concert was very low: orchestra and soloists were already booked, and kindly agreed to this extra concert during what would ordinarily be rehearsal time for little extra fee.  During the afternoon rehearsal, we don’t ‘rehearse’ as such – just top and tail some choruses as we know Messiah so well – we perform it all from memory in fact! We also insist that our soloists do the same, so this was actually a great opportunity for choir and soloists alike to have a nerve-settling run in a more informal situation. A comprehensive publicity campaign was run on a very small budget (more below).

Price: Because of the low costs, we were able to offer very reasonable ticket prices. This is important not just because family budgets are tight, but also one of the main aims should be to make your concert attractive to people who would never normally go to concerts, but are looking for inexpensive entertainment and activities for them and their children.
We settled on a price of £5 for adults with accompanied children (under 18) FREE, and it succeeded in attracting a very large audience, with the children being principally of primary school age.
Note that just having free child tickets does not mean you will have families flocking to a concert – many ‘regular’ classical concerts have free or very cheap (£1) child tickets, but none of them have hundreds of children in the audience – appealing and targeting the family market VERY CLEARLY is a MUST if you want to attract the right crowd:

Publicity: Don’t just do what you usually do for a concert – that may be fine for reaching your typical classical audience, but the whole point of doing a family concert is that it appeals to just about exactly the people who don’t usually go to classical concerts. Do what you usually do, plus make sure you go and find, and appeal to, your target audience – in this case in anyone with children! Here are some things we did for a minimal sum:

* design an appealing flyer (no fuddy-duddy-ness!) and make it sound like something parents will think they and their children will enjoy

* if you have free child admission, make it a selling point – ‘Family concert kids go FREE!’ is a simple and effective way to get that message across

* make sure your flyers get on display at family attractions etc

* get listed in the family magazines in your area – such as Primary Times (early deadlines!)

* when doing internet listings, put it in the ‘family/kids’ category, not ‘classical concerts’

* likewise, at libraries, put flyers in the children’s section if they have one

* make sure you get flyers into schools (and in their newsletters) – parents in your group should be able to do many and your local music service may be able to help too

* if you have flyers left, get down to any supermarket or shopping centre on a Saturday morning – don’t forget, anyone with children is your target audience!

The legacy? Who knows….it’s too early to tell, but we would like to stage our Mini Messiah family concert every year on the afternoon before our complete evening performance. Over those coming years, we hope families will come back year after year.
We would like nothing more than to inspire a generation of Bristol children about Messiah, music and concerts in general. It would be great to think that in 10-20 years, some of that audience is there because they came to love Messiah at our family concerts. Even sooner than that, it may well be that in just a few years’ time, when the little one isn’t so little any more and ‘down the mall’ on a Saturday afternoon instead, that their parents will think ‘I quite miss going to that Messiah – shall we go to the whole thing this year?’.

As the saying goes, ‘children are the future’, and if the (10-20 year +) future of your group looks grey, now is the time to do something about it!

Even if there are no future benefits to be gained, we have found this to be an enormously uplifting and worthwhile experience anyway – so much so that we staged a ‘stand-alone’ Mini Messiah again on 26 November 2011, even though, for one of the few occasions since 1892, we did not perform a complete Messiah that December (we performed Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with Mark Padmore instead). Despite the fact it was just an ‘ordinary’ weekend, not in the Christmas holidays that year, more than one thousand people turned up, so it seems they wanted to come back for more and brought their friends!

Mini Messiah family concert, Saturday 21 December 2013, Colston Hall, Bristol

Mini Messiah family concert, Saturday 21 December 2013, Colston Hall, Bristol – click to view flyer

In 2013, our Mini Messiah family concert will once again precede our complete evening performance (our 120th Messiah anniversary!) on Saturday 21 December 2013 at 4:30pm at the Colston Hall, Bristol. As before, ticket prices for Mini Messiah will be £5 for adults with accompanied children (under 18) FREE – see the flyer above and book your tickets online here *

It seems to have really become established in 2012, attracting a record audience. One 6-year old came up to us at the end and said he was coming to the whole evening concert next year – wonder if he’s got his ticket yet?
The same can be said for 2013 too – seeming to be more popular than ever, so make sure to book now!

If you have children, bring them along! If you don’t, please tell someone who does, and if you’re in another part of the country thinking ‘we could do that’, then go ahead and do it. We’re pretty sure you will be glad that you did!

This is an updated version of a blog first posted Oct 30 2011.

* BCS online booking fee of £2.50 per order (no matter how many tickets bought). Card fees also apply at Colston Hall. No booking fees if paying by cash/cheque at Colston Hall

Bristol Choral Society’s new 2012-13 season: Concerts, Come & Sings and more!

We have announced our packed 2012-3 concert season under conductor Adrian Partington – with four Colston Hall concerts, two chances to ‘Come & Sing’ and more, there is something for everyone this season: concert-goers, families and those who would like to try their hand at singing some of the world’s great choral works.

Bristol Choral Society Season Brochure 2012-13

Bristol Choral Society Season Brochure 2012-13 click to read

The concert season opens with a performance of Brahms’ Requiem on Saturday 24 November at the Colston Hall, with the accomplished orchestra New Bristol Sinfonia and soloists the young Korean soprano Hye-Youn Lee and South African baritone Njabulo Madlala – winner of the 2010 Kathleen Ferrier Competition, where The Times savoured ‘the rich velvety plush of his fearless voice, its inner warmth and its flexibility’.

Brahms Requiem Bristol Choral Society at Colston Hall 24 November

Brahms Requiem Bristol Choral Society at Colston Hall 24 November

A month before that concert performance, all are invited to join members of the choir to Come & Sing Brahms Requiem on Saturday 20 October. This morning of singing forms part of this year’s city-wide Gathering Voices Festival of Song, and is the perfect opportunity for anyone who wants the chance to try their hand at singing one of the best-loved works of the choral repertoire under one of the country’s leading choral conductors in a fun and informal setting.

In between the two Brahms events, there is a chance to spend an evening with BCS President Mark Padmore – not singing this time, but in conversation with Adrian Partington revealing the music he just couldn’t live without if marooned on a desert island. Expect lots of insightful conversation, extracts of great music and supper. Please note this event is open to members, Patrons, Friends and Supporters of Bristol Choral Society only.

Messiah and Mini Messiah family concert: Bristol Choral Society at Colston Hall

Messiah with Bristol Choral Society at Colston Hall 22 December 2012- click to view flyer

After taking a break last year, Handel’s Messiah returns to its traditional spot on the Saturday before Christmas at the Colston Hall (22 December) – 120 years and 1 day after the first BCS Messiah at the hall on 21 December 1892. Messiah may be one of the world’s (and Bristol’s) most performed choral works, but the freshness and vitality of Bristol Choral Society’s rendition is renowned – not least as they sing the entire work from memory (believed to be the only choir in the country to do so). They will once again be joined by the superb Baroque orchestra Music for Awhile. Read more about our Messiah concert and book tickets online *

Mini Messiah family concert flyer, Saturday 22 December 2012, Colston Hall, Bristol

Mini Messiah family concert, Colston Hall, Bristol, Saturday 22 December 2012, 4.30pm – Bristol Choral Society. Click to view flyer

Also returning on the same day, the 4.30pm afternoon Mini Messiah family concert preceding the evening’s full performance will continue to introduce the youngest generation of Bristol children to more of this traditional masterpiece (see this post from last year for more about this). With FREE admission for accompanied under 18s, this shortened performance with choir, orchestra and soloists has proved an enormously successful and well-received event and a magical way to start a Bristol family Christmas. Read more about Mini Messiah on the flyer above and book tickets online here *

Come Sing Mendelssohn St Paul flyer

Come Sing Mendelssohn St Paul Bristol Choral Society Come Sing Mendelssohn St Paul – click to download flyer with booking form

Saturday 16 February 2013 sees the second Come & Sing event of the season – the annual popular full-day version allowing more in-depth exploration of a work under conductor Adrian Partington’s inspirational baton for more experienced singers. This season, the work in question will be Mendelssohn’s St Paul – the work performed by Bristol Choral Society at its first ever concert back in 1889. Read more about Come & Sing St Paul here

Verdi 4 Sacred Pieces & Rossini Stabat Mater - Bristol Choral Society, English Symphony Orchestra 23 March 2013 Colston Hall Bristol poster

Verdi 4 Sacred Pieces & Rossini Stabat Mater – Bristol Choral Society, English Symphony Orchestra 23 March 2013 Colston Hall Bristol poster

The choir’s first Colston Hall concert of 2013 has a distinct Italian flavour, with two magnificent sacred choral works penned by giants of the world of opera – Verdi’s Four Sacred Pieces and Rossini’s Stabat Mater. Joined by a quartet of distinguished vocal soloists and the renowned Englsh Symphony Orchestra, the concert on Saturday 23 March 2013 promises a tantalising mixture of the exuberance and drama of the Opera House with the spirit of the sacred text in the incomparable atmosphere of the concert hall. Read more about the Verdi/Rossini concert here or click here to download the concert flyer

In May 2013, the city’s own Bristol Ensemble conclude their epic journey through Beethoven’s Symphonies at the Colston Hall. Bristol Choral Society is delighted to join them for his 9th Symphony (‘Choral’) on Wednesday 8 May. Read more about this concert

Viva Vivaldi! Gloria, Kyrie, Dixit Dominus and summer from Four Seasons at Bristol Cathedral 15 June 2013

Viva Vivaldi! Gloria, Kyrie, Dixit Dominus and summer from Four Seasons at Bristol Cathedral 15 June 2013 – click to view flyer

Concluding the season, the choir stages its annual summer concert at Bristol Cathedral on Saturday 15 June 2013. An all-Vivaldi affair, the concert includes performances of the famous Gloria, Dixit Dominus, and adding a seasonal touch, Summer from the Four Seasons with the Bristol Ensemble and soloist Roger Huckle. Read more about this concert

Tickets for the whole season are on sale now – find out more at the choir’s website and you can now book online selecting your own seats (for reserved seating) at the choir’s website:

Concert tickets (but not Come & Sings) are also available from the Colston Hall (Tel: 0117 922 3686).

Choirs unite for choral spectacular (or how to get more concert for your money!)

More than 400 performers will come together to perform two great French choral masterpieces – Berlioz Te Deum and Fauré Requiem – at the Colston Hall, Bristol on Saturday 31 March at 7.30pm.

Bristol Choral Society on stage at the Colston Hall

Bristol Choral Society on stage at the Colston Hall - there will be approximately double this number of singers on stage for Saturday's concert.

Bristol Choral Society joins forces with Gloucester Choral Society and the choristers of Bristol and Gloucester Cathedral choirs to make up the chorus of around 350 singers who will be joined by almost 100 players of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (including four harps) for the concert which will feature soloists Paul Charles Clarke (tenor), Hannah Atherton (soprano), Richard Walshe (bass) and be conducted by Adrian Partington.

Adrian says ‘these two works really are at opposite ends of the spectrum: Fauré’s Requiem is the most intimate and delicate of works, and the Berlioz Te Deum truly monumental.

We will have a very large number of singers for this performance – so many in fact that they will be spilling over from the stage into the balconies of the auditorium, surrounding much of the audience – but I have taken enormous care in preparing this performance to ensure the experience of both will be just right. My aim is to draw the audience in to the very intimate Fauré, almost enveloping them inside it, before ‘knocking their socks off’ with a no holds barred performance of the Berlioz.

Berlioz is known for writing large-scale works requiring hundreds of performers, and his Te Deum is a prime example of this. The composer wrote of the première “ was colossal, like a scene out of the Apocalypse…the final movement surpasses all the enormities of which I am guilty up to now”.

Live performances of the Berlioz Te Deum are something of a rarity simply because of the number of performers required and the complexities and cost of staging such an event with a professional orchestra and soloists. It is at least 25 years since Bristol Choral Society performed this work, and I think I’m right in saying that was its most recent performance in Bristol.

It is certain to be a fantastically thrilling concert and I am immensely looking forward to conducting it. I would urge anyone to come along to experience this very special event – after all, it could be another 25 years before there is another opportunity to do so in Bristol!’

Combining forces with another choir for such a concert can have advantages over and above gathering together the required numbers for performing large works. It could mean each choir getting to perform a concert for a fraction of the cost and risk of doing do so on their own, or in this case, mean there are two opportunities to perform a great concert with some savings across the two events (this concert was first performed last Saturday at Gloucester Cathedral). Don’t be afraid to think big, and the effort involved can be all worth it when the result is something truly spectacular and memorable.

Faure Requiem and Berlioz Te Deum Bristol 31 March

Faure Requiem and Berlioz Te Deum Bristol 31 March - click here to view/download flyer pdf

The 31 March concert at Colston Hall, Bristol starts at 7.30pm. Tickets cost from £10 – see, phone the Colston Hall on 0117 922 3686 for details, or book online at:

Mark Padmore announced as new President of Bristol Choral Society

Bristol Choral Society is very pleased to announce the renowned tenor Mark Padmore as a new President of the choir, alongside the Lord Mayor of Bristol.

Many musical groups have big name Presidents/Patrons, but in all too many cases (understandably), all that amounts to in reality is a name on the letterhead and an annual apology for absence from the AGM. Here at BCS, we like to have a President with whom we have enjoyed making music as we feel this gives the role some real meaning. This was true of our two most recent late Presidents (Richard Hickox and Sir Charles Mackerras), and is also true of Mark Padmore: Mark sang in our Bach B minor Mass in Bristol Cathedral back in 2008 (and a good number of the choir took up the invitation to sing in a performance of Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius with him in Cardiff prior to that). We are also very much looking forward to Mark joining us to sing the role of the Evangelist in our performance of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio later this month at the Colston Hall.

We hope that will be the first of many future engagements with our new President!

You can read our press release about Mark’s appointment below:

Mark Padmore announced as new President of Bristol Choral Society

The internationally acclaimed tenor Mark Padmore has been announced as a new President of Bristol Choral Society, alongside the Lord Mayor of Bristol and the first appointment since the passing of the choir’s much-missed late President Sir Charles Mackerras.

Mark Padmore 2008 London Photo: Marco Borggreve

Mark Padmore, President of Bristol Choral Society and soloist in the 17 December performance of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. Photo: Marco Borggreve

Mark has established an enviable worldwide reputation, particularly in the field of Baroque music and that of Bach especially, leading the Sunday Telegraph to call him ‘just about the finest Bach tenor in the business’. He says of his appointment ‘I was delighted to accept Bristol Choral Society’s invitation to become a President of the choir – I have sung with the choir before (Bach’s Mass in B minor in 2008) and was impressed by the quality of the singing and, of course, the musical direction of their conductor Adrian Partington, with whom I have worked on many occasions. I am very much looking forward to performing with the choir again – this time in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio on 17 December this year’.

Adrian Partington, conductor of Bristol Choral Society Photo:Jeremy Kavanagh

Adrian Partington, conductor of Bristol Choral Society. Photo:Jeremy Kavanagh

Conductor Adrian Partington says of Mark ‘we are thrilled that Mark is now a President of the choir. We always aim to have one musical President who is not only an exceedingly accomplished and renowned musician, but who also has musical links with the choir. This was true of our two most recent late Presidents, Richard Hickox and Sir Charles Mackerras, both of whom the choir had the privilege to perform with on several occasions. It is therefore most fitting that Mark will be singing with us again so soon after his appointment – this time singing the role of the Evangelist in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. He simply is the best there is when it comes to Bach especially – there is a reason why The Independent called him “the international Evangelist of choice”. Our performance later this month should be very special, as Mark sings alongside some other outstanding soloists (soprano Helen-Jane Howells, countertenor Sebastian Field & bass Ashley Riches) in this sublime re-telling of the Christmas story.’

Bach Christmas Oratorio: Bristol Choral Society with Mark Padmore poster

Bach Christmas Oratorio: Bristol Choral Society with Mark Padmore – click to view flyer

The choir’s performance of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with Mark Padmore under conductor Adrian Partington will take place at the Colston Hall on Saturday 17 December at 7pm. Tickets for that concert are available from the Colston Hall (tel: 0117 922 3686 or online here), and more about the concert and the choir can be found at

Bristol Choral Society logo

Not the Messiah (well, OK, a bit of Messiah)

Bristol Choral Society has performed Messiah at the Colston Hall on the Saturday before Christmas since 1892 (well, except those years when the Hall had burnt to the ground….twice), but 2011 will be very different:

On Saturday 17 December 2011, the choir will perform Bach’s Christmas Oratorio instead, with in-demand tenor Mark Padmore.

This is a true festive musical treat, and something of a coup to be performing with a truly internationally renowned soloist singing the role of the Evangelist (indeed, The Independent even go so far as to call him ‘the international Evangelist of choice’), but, with people being creatures of habit and us having performed Messiah for the last 120 years, there will be those who are disappointed that they cannot hear a Bristol Choral Society Messiah this year.

Messiah fans need not worry, however, as there are two opportunities to experience a Bristol Choral Society Messiah this year at the Colston Hall on Saturday 26 November, as part of ‘A Bristol Choral Christmas’:

A Bristol Choral Christmas

A Bristol Choral Christmas: Come and Sing Messiah, Mini Messiah family concert, Bach Christmas Oratorio with Mark Padmore and Bristol Choral Society

At 2pm, you can Come & Sing Handel’s Messiah at the Colston Hall – if you have ever wondered what it might be like to sing Messiah with Bristol Choral Society and Adrain Partington, then this is your chance! All are welcome – members of the choir will be spread throughout the singers to give a strong lead and encouragement to those who might be not so experienced at singing Messiah. Several hundred singers have booked already, so why not come along and join in?

Come & Sing Messiah at the Colston Hall

Come & Sing Messiah at the Colston Hall with Bristol Choral Society and Adrian Partington - click to view flyer

After you have exercised your lungs, you can stay and hear Bristol Choral Society’s only performance of Messiah this year, with the Mini Messiah family concert at 4:30pm – a shortened version of the work with orchestra and soloists aimed particularly at introducing children to this great work in a family-friendly bite sized chunk lasting under an hour.

Mini Messiah family concert flyer - 26 Nov 2011 Colston Hall, Bristol

Mini Messiah family concert - 26 Nov 2011 Colston Hall, Bristol, Click to view flyer

This will be the second year that the choir has staged this family concert – it proved very popular last year (you can read all about it here: and was such a wonderful feel-good experience for children and parents alike that it just had to return this year, even though no complete Messiah performance was planned. Many hundreds have booked already, so it looks set to be at least as popular this year – if you have/kow children, be sure to bring them along – adult tickets are just £5 and accompanied children get in FREE!

Then of course, on the Saturday before Christmas we have a festive treat with Bach’s masterpiece, his Christmas Oratorio – a sacred seasonal stocking stuffed with spine-tingling choruses, heartfelt arias and bewitching story-telling – topped and tailed by some of the most jubilant music Bach was to pen. Have a listen to the opening chorus below:

As well as Mark Padmore ‘the international Evangelist of choice’ (The Independent), the choir will be joined by some fabulous soloists: soprano Helen-Jane Howells (‘Magnificent’), countertenor Sebastian Field (‘Ravishing’ The Independent) and bass Ashley Riches (‘Commanding’) under conductor Adrian Partington and Baroque ensemble The Corelli Orchestra.

Bach Christmas Oratorio: Bristol Choral Society with Mark Padmore poster

Bach Christmas Oratorio: Bristol Choral Society with Mark Padmore - click to view flyer

So there it is – A Bristol Choral Christmas. A very different musical Christmas for Bristol, but with truly something for everyone – we hope you like it. Merry Christmas from Bristol Choral Society!

The Come & Sing Messiah is on Saturday 26 November 2011 at 2pm (until 4pm).
Tickets cost £7 for adults (or £9 including score hire) – and includes free adult admission to 4:30pm Mini Messiah performance. Accompanied children under 18 FREE. Book via the Colston Hall or online here:

The Mini Messiah family concert is on Saturday 26 November 2011 at 4:30pm.
Tickets cost £5 for adults and accompanied children under 18 FREE.
Book via the Colston Hall or online here:

Bach’s Christmas Oratorio is on Saturday 17 December 2011 at 7pm
Tickets cost £23, £19, £15, £12 & £10 (Under 25s £5, concessions available). There will be a retiring collection for the Lord Mayor of Bristol’s Christmas Appeal for Children. Book via the Colston Hall or online here:

Tickets for all concerts can also be booked in person at the Colston Hall box office, by phone (0117 922 3686), or at the door.

For more information about Bristol Choral Society, see here: