Clearing the pipes
The Grand Organ Gala provided everyone a chance to test their windpipes out against the Bridgewater Hall’s organ pipes – the organ won. The pipes that were impressive were the organ’s low C of Also Sprach Zarathustra (a bit like having a massage), the fanfare trumpets of the King’s Division (what a blast) and the Chorale’s basses who hit a high G in Land of Hope and Glory. Basses can only sing one high G per week (otherwise we pass out), so when the conductor Hilary Davan Wetton returned to encore the second verse again, we were glad that the organ was doubling us (some of us still went for it).
Richard Howarth, the Manchester Concert Orchestra leader, stole the show with a superb violin solo in Albinoni’s Adagio. There was some chemistry definitely going on there. He’s a talented man – he recently conducted us in Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony.
We had a first go at Parry’s I Was Glad. We weren’t supposed to be singing the Vivat, but the Conductor had different ideas and was impressed with our sight-reading! He also wanted us to sing Zadok and the Hallelujah Chorus from memory – a step too far, maybe next time.