Concert to mark 150th anniversary
IT was only 16 years ago, in 1991, that Ashford Choral Society thought it was celebrating its centenary, no mean achievement in itself, but shortly afterwards, someone produced a cutting from the Ashford & Alfred News of 1857, announcing that a choral society was now in the course of formation under the direction of Mr Matson. That discovery almost certainly means that Ashford can claim to have the earliest founded choral society in Kent. Since the days of Mr Matson, there have been only 10 principal conductors of the society, of whom Mark Deller, conductor since 1970, has served by far the longest. In fact, he will probably be one of the few conductors of any society to have conducted both the centenary and the 150th anniversary concert. To mark this significant 150year landmark, Ashford Choral Society and Orchestra will be giving a performance of Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast in Canterbury Cathedral on Saturday, May 12. Soloists will include soprano Lynne Dawson, famous for, among other things, her singing of the Libera me from Verdi’s Requiem at the funeral of Princess Diana, and baritone Benjamin Bevan. As this year also commemorates the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sir Edward Elgar, it is appropriate that the programme will also feature two of his works, the immensely popular Serenade for Strings and his much less well-known The Spirit of England. The concert will be conducted by Mark Deller and tickets can be obtained from Canterbury Bookings at the Canterbury Information Centre.
Soprano Lynne Dawson
Baritone Benjamin Bevan