Wellingborough Orpheus Choir’s farewell concert

After 70 years of singing, the Christmas concert at St Barnabas Church, Wellingborough on Saturday 9th December will be the Orpheus Choir's last ever performance.
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The Wellingborough Orpheus Choir was founded in 1953 by Frank Stalvies, a local publican and musician, and has been entertaining audiences in and around Wellingborough, and further afield, ever since. In the early 1980s a link was formed with the Chorale des Amis de l’Ecole Normale de Niort, Wellingborough’s French twin town, and exchange visits took place for the next 30 years, with joint performances of Handel’s ‘Messiah’, Brahms’ ‘German Requiem’ and Mendelssohn’s ‘Elijah’ among other works. In the late 1980s the choir performed several times in the Royal Albert Hall with other Northamptonshire choirs and the County Youth Orchestra.

Although membership had declined since its peak in the mid-1980s the choir still had around 50 singers before the pandemic struck. Unfortunately, despite attempts to attract back former members and recruit new ones, numbers have not returned to pre-Covid levels, and they are down to just one tenor!

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Chairman Keith Jones said “The lack of numbers has impacted the choir both financially and musically. We are very grateful to Wilson Browne Solicitors who have been supporting our concerts financially for the last five years, but we are now finding it difficult to cover our running costs, and more importantly, having fewer singers has affected our ability to perform. We have therefore decided that there is no other real option than to close; a decision that was taken with heavy hearts.”

The choir's 'Victorian Christmas' concert in December 2019The choir's 'Victorian Christmas' concert in December 2019
The choir's 'Victorian Christmas' concert in December 2019

During the farewell concert of Christmas carols at St Barnabas Church on Saturday 9th December, members will be recalling some key events and memories of the choir’s history, and the audience will be invited to join the choir for a drink, mince pies and a chat at the end of the performance, which starts at 7.30pm.

Tickets, priced £5 (including refreshments), are available in advance from Irvin’s House of Flavour, High Street, Wellingborough, by emailing [email protected], or calling 01604 870318, and can also be purchased at the door.

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