St Albans Choral Society singing for Cecilia McDowall

HAPPY 60th birthday – that is the message St Albans Choral Society will be sending their popular composer-in-chief Cecilia McDowall at two of its concerts in the current season.

The choir will be performing McDowall’s Ave Maris Stella along with works by Haydn, Mendelssohn, Mozart and Schubert in its first concert at Homewood Road United Reformed Church in St Albans next Saturday, October 15.

Orchestra Nova will also perform the world premiere of her latest work for string orchestra, Crossing the Bridge.

At the choir’s traditional Christmas concert at Marlborough Road Methodist Church on Sunday, December 11, it will give a performance of the composer’s renowned cantata Christus Natus Est, first performed by the society in 2002.

George Vass, the choir’s music director, said that McDowall’s music had a simple beauty. “As a singer herself, she really knows how to write for voices and does so quite wonderfully. In all the time I have conducted her music, I don’t think I’ve found a single singer who hasn’t found her music rewarding.”

Other works in next Saturday’s programme include Schubert’s Mass in G, Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus, and Haydn’s Ave Regina Coelorum. The soloists will be Marianne Cotterill, soprano, Oliver Johnston, tenor, and Frederick Long, bass.

The concert starts at 7.30pm and tickets at �17, �15 and �10, with concessions, can be obtained by calling 07884 231958 or visiting

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Other highlights of the new season including concerts in York and Ripon which the choir are giving later this month, a performance of Messiah in St Albans Abbey next April and a concert of English Church Music including Rutter and Chilcott on June 30.