Keeping you updated with the latest news


13 June 2024
2023/24 season finishes at Christ Church


28 June 2023
A Rousing end to the 2022/23 Season with Viva Italia!
9 June 2023
Cathedral Visits - Summer 2023
12 May 2023
Simon Toyne appointed as our new Musical Director
20 March 2023
Dame Ethel Smyth Mass in D - A resounding success!
13 February 2023
The Ethel Smyth full score has arrived











Viva Verdi! Stunning Success

20 March 2016

Stunning. Magnificent. Thrilling. From the very first second to the last. Thank you: I will certainly be coming again!

Our largest audience for a number of years shunned the large number of competing concerts in the county to hear what was surely one of our best performances in recent memory. Due to space constraints in St Matthew’s Church, we are simply unable to accommodate orchestras of full symphonic size, so we took on the reduced orchestration by Ian Bauers. But, as is so often the case, our Musical Director had a neat idea to underpin in the strongest, most dramatic sections! So alongside nearly 120 in the choir, four soloists, and an orchestra of just 31 players, we were treated to four trumpets placed in the West Gallery for the Tuba mirum fanfare, AND no fewer than two antiphonal brass quintet placed stage left and stage right, who added to both Tuba mirum and the Dies irae statements which punctuate the work. A quick tally gives the final number of musicians singing and playing at full tilt in these grandest moments at 156!!!! Some quotes we have already received from audience members are given throughout this news article.

Our First Concert Banner outside St Matthew's
The Verdi in Full Flight
I am writing to say just how magnificent tonight’s performance was. It is a great favourite of mine; indeed I went to Peterborough Cathedral only last weekend to hear it. Your performance was the best I have heard in a number of years. The choir’s diction was superb, the clarity of performance by the orchestra, and the scintillating surround-sound brass. Simply Breathtaking!

We therefore have to offer the most sincere thanks to Brad Turnbull and his brass players from our partners, the Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust, for sharing their talents with us (especially on a very busy National Music Festival weekend), to Nick Bunker, principal trumpeter of our good friends the Northampton Symphony Orchestra, and his band of West gallery trumpeters, and to Tony Ayres and his wonderful Orchestra da Camera, for grappling with this very busy orchestral score (especially to those with soloettes in the performance, not least our intrepid cellist who began the second half with that exposed solo). We were delighted to welcome Alison Pearce, Deborah Miles-Johnson, Martin Hindmarsh, and Andrew Mayor, who iced the cake from top Cs right down to the disintegrating mors … mors … stupebit. Thanks continue to all those who make things work behind the scenes, from the staff members at the church and at our rehearsal venue at Northampton High School, and not least to our répétiteur Ivan Linford, who brings the orchestral music alive week-by-week with just ten fingers!

One of the Antiphonal Brass Quintets from NMPAT
Four Trumpeters in the West Gallery
The choir were truly as good as I have ever heard them – a real credit to Mr Dunleavy. My highlight was Deborah Miles-Johnson’s intense performance of Liber scriptus, which often feels so limp after <that> Dies irae, but she drove the movement forward with energy and passion.

This is the first of two performance in our mini-celebration of the great Italian sacred full-length choral works, and we return to St Matthew’s Church on Saturday 9 July – when we can only hope it will be considerably warmer! – to perform Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle. Tickets for all our concerts at St Matthew’s are available online via our website, and if you wish to have reserved seating in the centre portion of the church we recommend that you support our ‘Friends’ scheme (again, via the website) or arrive very early to bag the limited number of centre seats which aren’t reserved for the ‘Friends’.

I heard every little detail from start to finish, and enjoyed the quietest of quiet singing in places, contrasting with the huge, earth-shattering noises of that day of judgement. The standard of the choir goes from strength-to-strength, and your next concert can’t come soon enough. Bravo!