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Musical students to perform Handel’s Messiah

Posted 26 February 2015

L-R: Will Tyson, Grace Stoddart, Sian Hardy and Fran Sconce

Musical students from Harper Adams University are preparing to hit the high note at a concert with local chamber choir the Beaumaris Singers next week.

A welcome change from day-to-day life on campus, the students are hoping that the event on March 7 at Holy Trinity Church in Eccleshall will help to attract even more new members from the university.

Postgraduate research student, Fran Sconce, joined the choir two years ago and has since been tasked with recruiting more members from Harper Adams.

30-year-old Fran, an alto who has enjoyed singing for most of her life, said: “The choir joins together people of all ages and from all walks of life that share a genuine love of music and singing.

“Not only is it a great chance to perform, but it’s also an opportunity to meet new faces outside of Harper Adams.

“I wanted to find a friendly choir with a good repertoire, it also gives me a chance to switch off from science for a few hours and have some time for myself.”

The group, led by Director Simon Collins, rehearses once a week on Tuesday evenings at Cosy Hall in Newport, performing both a cappella and accompanied music that spans five centuries.

The concert in Eccleshall will showcase Handel’s Messiah Parts 2 and 3, accompanied by the church’s organ.

Animal behaviour and welfare student, Grace Stoddart from Sheffield, joined the choir after meeting Fran at the clubs and societies’ freshers’ fair.

The 18-year-old soprano said: “I took my grade eight singing exam last summer before I started my degree at Harper, and really wanted to keep the hobby going.

“Singing with the Beaumaris Singers is a real stress reliever for me and gives me a break from my academic studies.”

As well as formal concerts, the choir has also performed to raise money for charity, including singing Christmas carols at a nearby supermarket.

21-year-old Sian Hardy from Barry studies agri-food marketing with business studies and has also achieved her grade eight in singing. The soprano said: “At home I sing in a choir with my nan and really missed it when I came to university, so finding the Beaumaris Singers really filled that gap.

“It’s been a lifelong interest for me, and I find it’s good to have something external to university that helps you to reach out to new people.”

The choir is on the lookout for both female and male members, particularly those within the tenor and bass vocal ranges, and all levels of ability are welcome. Those interested are encouraged to attend the concert to find out more and meet the members.

Director of the Beaumaris Singers, Simon Collins, said: “The Beaumaris Singers are very pleased to have been able to welcome students from Harper Adams and would encourage anyone else interested to come and try us out.

“Their involvement has re-invigorated us all and has been mutually beneficial to existing members and students alike.

“The choir provides an opportunity for all ages to sing a wide range of music to a high standard and to pursue an interest which is often a welcome contrast to everyday student and working life. We hope the relationship between the choir and students will continue for many years to come.”

William Tyson studies PgD Rural Estate and Land Management and has sung for most of his life, encouraged by his mum who teaches music. The 23-year-old tenor from Chester said: “This is a really nice, relaxed choir to be a part of, that doesn’t take away too much time from studying.

“For me, I find we have a really good, varied repertoire, mixing both the traditional with lesser known works.

“Why not come and join us for an informal taster session after the concert?”

For more information, visit the choir’s website.

Messiah Parts 2 & 3
Saturday, March 7, 7pm
Holy Trinity Church
Eccleshall
£10, full-time students £5, under-16s free.

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