North Staffordshire has a proud history of choral singing, and during the last two decades the Barbara Walton Singers have
made their own worthy contribution to this tradition, with concerts in and around the city of Stoke-on-Trent. On Saturday
of last week I was fortunate enough to attend their performance of Haydn's much loved work, The Creation, in
Stoke Minster church, marking the bi-centenary of the composer's death. It was a richly rewarding experience. It was
something of a disappointment, therefore, to find that the Sentinel was not able to carry a review of this significant
musical event in our district.
Much of the success of the BWS has been due to the dedicated work and inspiration of the choir's musical director, David Burrowes. At the Minster on Saturday, in front of a large audience, he conducted an impressive assembly of musicians with total authority and great sensitivity; and he drew from them a performance of verve, delicacy, and above all a joyfulness which transmitted itself to the rapt audience.
The Eighteenth Century Sinfonia, who perform nationally, contributed hugely to our pleasure - and not least in their demonstration and description at the beginning of the concert of some of their period instruments. The choir, I believe, were able to complement this impressive orchestra in balance, subtlety and passion; and the soloists, who have such a large part to play in this work added in their distinctive ways to our appreciation, in delightful solo and ensemble singing. Tenor, Glyn Aubrey, set his fine musical stamp on the narrative from the very beginning; Nicholas Perfect, rich at the bottom and tuneful in his upper register, pleased us all; and the light, sweet soprano of Emma Boger was especially charming when, on the Fifth Day, the birds are added to the creation. The duet in the Garden of Eden may not please everybody in these days of gender rectitude, but here it was a moving interlude between the celebration at the end of the Sixth Day and the jubilant culmination of the work.
The excellent programme acknowledged the generous funding provided by the National Lottery through Awards for All. It is good, therefore to have demonstrated that, within the provincial landscape of arts and culture, we in North Staffordshire are able to offer and to appreciate, as performers and supporters, an occasion of some quality.
Reader M E Turner, letter to the Sentinel, unpublished, April 2009