THE STORY OF ROSSENDALE LADIES CHOIR

During the life of our successful choir there have been some remarkable choral achievements, including success at the international Eisteddfod in Llangollen, festival winning choirs in the “Festival of Festivals” in Warwick, fundraising concerts in the Albert Hall, London, Christmas concerts in Manchester Cathedral and many local and national churches.  We participate annually in the wonderful Rotary Christmas Concert in St Mary's Church, Rawtenstall.  With the Rossendale Male Voice Choir and Black Dyke Band we have performed at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester raising over £30,000 for The Christie Hospital.  We have had many fantastic concerts with both Brighouse and Rastrick and Second Rossendale Scout Group Brass Bands among others.  We recently performed at the MACC Festival in the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester.  We also perform at local community venues.


Our Musical Director is the very talented Matthew Thomas and we are accompanied by our new pianist David Carlston Williams.  Our patron is Alwyn Mellor of the Welsh National Opera.


We have been very fortunate over the years, to have had some eminent composers write or arrange music for us, Sailing arr. Alan Simmons, Harry arr. Michael Neaum, I Could have Danced All Night arr. Ernest Tomlinson, The Gasman Cometh arr. Peter Butterworth, O Lux Beata arr. Katy Cooper, to name but a few. Our repertoire is vast and extremely varied and ranges from traditional choral works, spirituals, folk songs, to more modern pieces such as James Bond themes, a South African protest song and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee commissioned piece “Sing”, composed by Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber.  We are regularly invited to perform at a variety of different venues both locally and further afield to give concerts on a paid basis and also to raise funds for charities.


The ladies choir has close musical and social links with the Rossendale Male Voice Choir.  The two choirs often share the same concert platform and sometimes perform as a mixed choir when they become known as The Rossendale Festival Choir.


Above all Rossendale Ladies Choir is a family and within it we have made life-long friendships with members both past and present and have given each other comfort and support through personal highs and lows.  We work hard and focus strongly on improving our singing so that we can perform well for our audiences.  This builds excellent team spirit and it is good to belong to a lively group of people with a common aim.

During the life of our successful choir there have been some remarkable choral achievements, including success at the international Eisteddfod in Llangollen, festival winning choirs in the “Festival of Festivals” in Warwick, fundraising concerts in the Albert Hall, London, Christmas concerts in Manchester Cathedral and many local and national churches.  We participate annually in the wonderful Rotary Christmas Concert in St Mary's Church, Rawtenstall.  With the Rossendale Male Voice Choir and Black Dyke Band we have performed at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester raising over £30,000 for The Christie Hospital.  We have had many fantastic concerts with both Brighouse and Rastrick and Second Rossendale Scout Group Brass Bands among others.  We recently performed at the MACC Festival in the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester.  We also perform at local community venues.


Our Musical Director is the very talented Matthew Thomas and we are accompanied by our new pianist David Carlston Williams.  Our patron is Alwyn Mellor of the Welsh National Opera.


We have been very fortunate over the years, to have had some eminent composers write or arrange music for us, Sailing arr. Alan Simmons, Harry arr. Michael Neaum, I Could have Danced All Night arr. Ernest Tomlinson, The Gasman Cometh arr. Peter Butterworth, O Lux Beata arr. Katy Cooper, to name but a few. Our repertoire is vast and extremely varied and ranges from traditional choral works, spirituals, folk songs, to more modern pieces such as James Bond themes, a South African protest song and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee commissioned piece “Sing”, composed by Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber.  We are regularly invited to perform at a variety of different venues both locally and further afield to give concerts on a paid basis and also to raise funds for charities.


The ladies choir has close musical and social links with the Rossendale Male Voice Choir.  The two choirs often share the same concert platform and sometimes perform as a mixed choir when they become known as The Rossendale Festival Choir.


Above all Rossendale Ladies Choir is a family and within it we have made life-long friendships with members both past and present and have given each other comfort and support through personal highs and lows.  We work hard and focus strongly on improving our singing so that we can perform well for our audiences.  This builds excellent team spirit and it is good to belong to a lively group of people with a common aim.

 

WHO'S WHO

 

MATTHEW THOMAS

Musical Director

Matthew has always had an interest in music and began having piano lessons almost 20 years ago. He began playing the cornet at the age of 10 and joined the Blackburn & Darwen Junior Band soon after, successfully progressing into the Senior Band, where he has been an active member for 10 years.


He studied Computer Science at the University of York and whilst there became heavily involved in a plethora of musical activities, joining the Chamber Choir, University Choir, Opera Society, Concert Band and Concert Orchestra. He also conducted the University Brass Band for a year.  His personal highlight from this time was singing in a performance of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 to a packed out nave in York Minster!


After leaving York, Matthew chose to pursue a career in music and became a freelance musician in his home town of Blackburn.  He joined the  Blackburn Cathedral Music Outreach team in 2013 and also took up a conducting scholarship at Blackburn Music Society for a year.  He has taught  piano and keyboard in schools, received an ABRSM Diploma in Musical Performance on the piano and became the chorus pianist for Victoria Wood's musical 'That Day We Sang' at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester.


On top of conducting Rossendale Ladies Choir from January 2015, after a short stint as their new accompanist, he also conducts a community choir in Manchester, accompanies the ABCD Cambiata NW Boys Choir, sings bass in Blackburn Cathedral Choir and Blackburn Music Society and leads singing workshops in local primary schools.


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