23rd March 2019
At our Spring Concert held in Laycock Village Hall, the choir bade farewell to our Musical Director Jonathan Gale. Jonny had decided he could no longer continue due to his busy career as a barrister, a young family and relocation to Rugby.
The concert was very well received and the choir was delighted to give the first ever performance of a Christmas Mass and even more so as the composer Robert Pell was in the audience. (This was to have been performed at our Christmas Concert unfortunately cancelled due to bad weather)
The audience particularly enjoyed a wonderful performance of "The Spider and the Fly" sung by choir member Mavis Thomas and guest singer Andrew Clarke.
The final song was "New York New York" and surely Jonny's piano accompaniment will never be bettered.
18th November 2018
The choir was pleased to be invited by Steeton Male Voice Choir to join them in a concert at Keighley Central Hall on November 18th.
There were two joint choir pieces: the concert opened with 'As Long as I have Music' and closed with a song which combined the men singing 'I Believe' and the women singing Gounod's 'Ave Maria'. This was particularly well received.
Opus 44 sang 12 songs including a Nightingale medley- a flock or, more correctly, a 'watch' of nightingales! 'The Nightingale', a madrigal by Weelkes, 'A Nightingale sang in Berkeley Square' arranged by Thom Meredith and 'Le Rossingnol', a very modern song by Jan Carlstedt.
The choir also gave their first performance of 'Love Divine', a delightful version of the hymn by Charles Wesley with a new melody by Howard Goodall.
As always we enjoyed singing with our friends' Steeton MVC. and with their talented new MD Catherine Sweet . It was a lovely way to spend a chilly autumn afternoon.
28th April 2018
Opus 44 were particularly busy on 28th April. At 1pm the choir sang at a lovely country wedding at Chipping near Clitheroe. The bride had heard the choir singing carols at Keelham Farm Shop and asked if we would sing at her wedding; which we were delighted to do. The bride requested What a Wonderful World and Billy Joel's And So It Goes during the signing of the register.
The choir then travelled to Bingley to give a concert at the United Reformed Church. The occasion was the 200th anniversary of the church building. A full church was very appreciative of our singing and particularly enjoyed Jonny's piano solo, Debussy's Clowns.
24th February 2018
The choir had mixed fortunes at the Mrs Sunderland Music Festival. We were the only entrants for the Small Choirs category, singing Dreamcatching and Du bist die Ruh for which we received some favourable comments from the adjudicator Hoult. As winners of this class we were able to participate in the evening Choir Competition.
We were not placed in that class nor the afternoon Choir Programme class for which there was some excellent competition. The choir was particularly impressed with Peterborough Male Voice Choir. It was so pleasing to see a MVC with so many younger members. The day's big winners was a Female Voice Choir: The Chanterelles, who won 3 classes. They are a very accomplished group of young singers whom we have previously met at the Llandudno Music Festival.
4th February 2018
The choir was pleased to be able to participate in a Songs of Praise held at Keighley Salvation Army. As well as thoroughly enjoying singing some favourite hymns, we had the opportunity to perform some of the songs we will be singing at the Mrs Sunderland Music Festival towards the end of February. We
also sang two religious pieces; Be Still and Know I am With You and Going up A Yonder.
Opus 44 finished their musical year with lots of carol singing, this year at Keelham Farm Shop in Skipton. The session on Tuesday 12th December was followed by a delicious festive meal at the Woolly Sheep in Skipton organized by Elaine.
The finale was a concert at Cooper Lane Care Home in Bradford. The residents sang along with the choir in familiar carols and we were all entertained by Ele's readings, particularly Christmas scenes from the Wind in the Willows.
24th June 2017
On Saturday, 24th of June the choir gave a concert at Guiseley Methodist Church. The programme consisted of mainly light music but there was a first outing of Three Hungarian Folk Songs by Matyas Seiber. The choir again performed three Ivor Novello songs which were extremely well received. The choir was conducted from the piano by Jonathan Gale who also performed a piano solo by Chopin and accompanied soloists Maeve and Fran. A lovely evening.
13th May 2017
On Saturday May 13th the choir was delighted to sing in Bingley URC at the 90th birthday party of Eileen Stephenson. Eileen's whole life has been dedicated to music as a soprano soloist, church organist, pianist, piano teacher and accompanist.
The choir sang a programme of light music, including three Ivor Novello songs, a Nightingale sang in Berkeley Square and What a wonderful world.
Deb and Maeve each sang a solo and Jonny, who conducted the choir from the piano, played two piano solos.
The programme was very well received but the warmest praise went to Jonny. An elderly gentleman in the audience said to him "not bad lad". Does praise get any higher than that in Yorkshire?
5th March 2017
March 5th was the date for a concert with Steeton Male Voice Choir at the Octagon near Keighley. This is becoming a very enjoyable annual event. It was hoped that this would be our first concert with our new Musical Director Paula Sides. However, due to illness, she was unable to take up the baton. We were extremely fortunate to be led by Paula's husband, Jonathan Gale, who played and conducted from the piano. The choir sang a programme of mainly light music, including Don't Sit under the Apple Tree and the Man I Love, which was extremely well received.
13th December 2016
Opus 44 finished their musical year with carol singing in the foyer of Sainburys in Keighley. Ably led by choir member Emma the choir sang an hour's selection of carols in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care and raised £220.
The choir then moved on to Bingley for their Christmas dinner at Valentino's where a good time was had by all.
5th November 2016
The North Wales Choral Festival, held at the Venue Cymru in Llandudno on 5th November, was the setting for the final performance of Opus 44 under the musical direction of Alison Pryce-Jones. There were 11 entries in the female voice class and the choir came a very creditable third. The choir sang four pieces including Billy Joel's And So It Goes and the scary Jabberwocky by Andrew Carter. We felt we could not have sung better and were so pleased for Alison.
A very lively weekend was enjoyed by all.
A new era begins for the choir under our new MD, American operatic soprano Paula Sides.
10th July 2016
We were invited to provide an hour of music at one of the 'Music at the Museum' Sunday afternoon performances of community music at Cliffe Castle Museum in Keighley. This series of concerts featured a variety of local musicians and groups. It was lovely to sing to a substantial and appreciative audience in the beautiful surroundings and stunning acoustic of the museum’s octagonal Bracewell Smith Hall with its high ceilings and surrounding internal balcony. In so doing, it was rewarding to know that we were helping to recreate one of the building’s musical traditions.
2nd July 2016
We sang at a wedding at St Martin's Parish Church in Brighouse. We sang a set of songs as the guests gathered before the ceremony, supported the singing of the hymn and sang arrangements of two favourite songs of the bride and groom after the sermon and as they signed the register. It was a lovely ceremony in a delightful setting and the happy couple was very happy with our performance.
16th May 2016
Madrigals to Musicals was a ‘wide-ranging and delightful performance’ according to Chris Tate’s review in the Keighley News and Telegraph and Argus.
We performed for Bingley at the town's Little Theatre Studio and began with Malcolm Arnold's Make a Joyful Noise –‘something they did throughout the evening’ said Chris, together with, ‘their arrangements of folky favourites such as Dashing Away With The Smoothing Iron or Soldier, Soldier, were rollicking fun exquisitely performed.’ and ‘This choir has great precision married with warmth and rounded depth’.
Alison conducted us of course, with her husband John Pryce-Jones the accompanist and daughter Catrin, the guest soloist. Catrin begins a master's degree at the Royal Academy of Music, London, in September and as Chris said, showed wonderful tone and technique, from the relative simplicity of Purcell’s Sweeter than Roses to the passion of Juliet's Waltz Song by Gounod. Chris Tate concluded ‘it was a well-polished and utterly charming evening.’
We were delighted to have such a complimentary review and will be happy to invite him to another performance!
12th March 2016
We entered the Ladies Choir class in the Skipton Music Festival, coming 1st against 3 other ladies choirs. The adjudicator was lovely and very positive.
27th February 1016
The choir entered the prestigious Mrs Sunderland Music Festival. Sadly, there were only 19 of us, so we could not defend our Ladies Choir title from last year. However, we won the Choir Programme and then went on to win the Choir Challenge in the evening, against, amongst others, the impressive Colne Valley Male Voice Choir. The adjudicator described our performance as having, "musically poised singing with good awareness of tonality & chording" and said that we sang “ with authority and a sense of enjoyment”. We certainly enjoyed our day.
Opus 44 had a busy end to 2015. On 22nd November the choir shared a very enjoyable concert with Steeton Male Voice Choir at The Octagon, Sandbeds, Keighley. The concert ended with a rousing joint performance of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus.
The first two Tuesdays in December saw the choir performing for two Masonic Lodges, Bingley and Bradford, providing after Christmas Dinner entertainment. The first half of each performance consisted of well- known songs such as ‘He Ain’t Heavy’ and ‘New York, New York’. The second half was taken up by Christmas music and carols. The Masonic guests joined in enthusiastically with a number of the carols.
The final event of the year for the choir was carol singing in the foyer of Sainsbury’s, Keighley. Our chosen charity was the Sue Ryder Home in Oxenhope and the sum of £211 was raised.
3rd October 2015
We entered the Biddulph and Moorlands Music Festival, competing for the President’s Ladies Choirs and the Choral Recital Class trophies. Ladies choirs sang a test piece, What a Wonderful World, originally sung by Louis Armstrong, so quite a challenge, and had to choose a contrasting song to make a pleasing programme. Our brilliant Musical-Director, Alison Pryce-Jones chose Libby Larsen’s setting of the spell from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, The Witches’ Trio, and we came second of four choirs. The Choral Recital Class was in the evening. Each of the seven competing choirs had to present a varied and entertaining programme of four concert pieces. Our a cappella programme opened with Songbird by Sarah Quartel; anyone who attended the workshop in May will remember this fast-paced, light piece, reflecting bird-song and flight.We continued with Michael Naeum’s moving setting of Psalm 46, Be Still and Know that I am With You, introducing two beautiful soloists from the choir; you could have heard a pin drop in the moments of silence. Next followed a rousing and particularly amusing rendition of Dashing Away with the Smoothing Iron, arranged by Robert Latham, that had the audience laughing rounding off with Paul Feehan’s arrangement of Mr Sandman, to great audience appreciation. Opus 44 won this class Alison Pryce-Jones being awarded the well deserved best conductor trophy. We were again much impressed by the organisation and friendliness of this festival and particularly by the dedicated volunteers who run the delicious cafe for the event.
Several of us stayed on and enjoyed Sunday's sunshine sight-seeing in the area ina day of laughter and good food.
20th September 2015
A small group, 9 of us, went to entertain the residents of Wingfield Nursing Home in Bingley. We sang a varied selection, including 3 solos from amongst our number. The audience was most appreciative and sang along with many of our offerings to our great delight.
12th September 2015
We were invited to perform with Skelmanthorpe Male Voice Choir in a joint concert at St Martin's Church Brighouse. Skelmanthorpe is a lovely choir and their deep tones presented a pleasing vocal contrast with our upper voices. Each choir's unique sound highlighted the other, providing an interesting and very varied programme, culminating in a combined performance of Don Besig's As Long as I have Music. This was a most enjoyable event; the audience was not large, but was responsive and appreciative and much fun was had by all.
20th June 2015
We were invited to sing at Wibsey Methodist Church. This was an afternoon concert culminating in a Strawberry Tea, including home made scones. Soloists from amongst the choir, a warm and appreciative audience and a lovely acoustic made this a very happy afternoon.
14th June 2015
We participated in "One City, Many Voices, Bradford Sings". Ably organised by Bradford Festival Choral Society, this event, over the weekend of 13th and 14th June saw 15 diverse choirs from all across the city raising their voices in various venuse over the weekend. We were singing in the rain in Centenary Square, then in Waterstones and the National Media Museum.
6th June 2015
Delightful concert at Colne Little Theatre for The Chairman's Evening. We sang a varied selection to an almost capacity, small but select and most appreciative audience. Soloists, from the choir, included Eleanor Jolley, who delivered 2 humerous monologues, and were joined by 2 gentlemen from the theatre company. We had a Pie and Pea supper and all proceeds went for Cancer Research; a goodly sum.
10th May 2015
Spring into Song, female voice choral workshop at Bingley Little Theatre. We had a super day learning new music - two lovely pieces by Sarah Quartel: 'Songbird' and' I Remember' (completely new to the choir as well as to those wonderful ladies who joined us for the day) as well as a lovely arrangement by Michael Neaum of Billy Joel's, 'And So it Goes'; a clever arrangement of Glen Miller's, 'Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree', by Paul Feehan, and Sweet Honey in the Rock's, 'Breaths'-and making new friends.
28th February 2015
The choir entered 2 classes at the Huddersfield Mrs Sunderland Festival again this year, and triumphed in the Ladies Choirs class against six choirs who made us work very hard for our 1st place. We sang the beautiful Michael Neaum arrangement of And So It Goes, with Las Amarillas, a tricky Mexican nonsense song, for which we won the Huddersfield Centenary Trophy for best single piece in the six choir classes. In the Choir Programme class we came a close second to the winners, Rodillian Singers, who also won the Choir Prize Winners Challenge in the evening. We gave our first performances of an exciting arrangement of Holding out for a Hero in these classes, which went down very well, and then wended our way home tired but happy.
13th December 2014
The choir performed a selection of Carols in the Royal Arcade in Keighley, as part of the arcade's Christmas Charity Fair to raise funds for Sue Ryder Manorlands.
16th December 2014
Our second carol singing event was a repeat of last year, in Keighley Sainsbury's foyer, where we raised the roof and also £200 for our chosen charity of this Christmas, the hospice for children, Martin House. This successful evening was completed in true Opus 44 style with our very essential Christmas meal, this year at the cosy, highly rated Slow Food Kitchen where the chef opened especially for us and did us proud with a delicious meal. We left for home full of the season's good cheer and hardly a drop of alcohol consumed!
29th November 2014
The choir was delighted to sing in our second joint concert with Steeton Male Voice Choir at the Octagon at Sandbeds Keighley. This was an enjoyable Sunday afternoon of singing a wide variety of music in which we included a few pieces for Advent and culminated in a joint rendition of O come all ye Faithful and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing with the men. Our sopranos provided a soaring descant, much to the enjoyment of all.
On the 28th June the choir presented 'Music for a Summer Evening' at Bingley Little Theatre Studio, dedicated to our much loved friend and much missed member of the choir, Pam Cooper, who had been singing with us since 1986. We performed a wide range of music from across the years of the choir and some of our young friends, Gaia Hinchliffe, Hannah Thompson and Ethan Marescaux, joined us to perform highly accomplished vocal and instrumental solos and duets. The appreciative audience requested an encore and so we invited the nine former members of Opus 44 who were in the audience to join us on stage ( they nearly ran to the stage) to sing our own arrangement of 'Harry', which was one of Pam's favourite songs, as an emotional finale. The sell out concert raised an amazing £750 given to The Alzheimer's Society in memory of Pam.
The choir competed at the Biddulph and Moorlands Music Festival on the 4th October where despite extremely accomplished competition we won a 1st place in the President Ladies class, singing the set piece Hushabye Mountain by R.M. and R.B.Sherman, along with our own choice piece of Soldier Soldier by Robert Latham. Despite performing well in the evening in the 12minute programme of the Chorale Recital class we sadly did not get placed. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and were particularly impressed with the efficient festival organisation.