Stornoway singers display a passion for performing Bach

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The Stornoway Singers are getting ready to perform the beautiful and uplifting music found within Johann Sebastian Bach’s St John Passion.

The performance will take place in Stornoway Town Hall on Saturday, November 3rd at 7.30pm.

This will be the last occasion this year that followers of Stornoway Singers concerts will hear them perform, as due to commitments on the part of a number of the choir in relation to the Dileab concert in December, the Stornoway Singers will not be putting on their usual Christmas extravaganza in the Town Hall.

The St John Passion is a complicated piece of music which has proved to be a challenging undertaking for the Stornoway Singers.

To their knowledge, their performance of this piece is the first time the music has been sung in Lewis.

At heart, the Stornoway Singers remain a community choir and all who love to sing are welcomed to rehearsals which are held each Tuesday night in St Columba’s Church Hall at 8pm.

Choir members are not required to audition to join the choir, but are only required to attend rehearsals and work diligently to learn their parts.

When one recognises the complexity of the music contained within the St John Passion, and also understands that the choir is made up of talented and confident amateur singers, it is all the more remarkable that Stornoway Singers undertook to perform this work on these shores.

Listeners will be transported to another world – that of 1st Century Jerusalem, where Bach, in his own inimitable style retells the story of the betrayal, the trial and the crucifixion of Christ as it is taken from the Gospel of St John Chapters 18 and 19.

The body of work contains a number of chorales and arias which add to the story and leave the audience in awe and with a sense of having personally been witness to these events.

This is religious music at its best and there is no questioning the spiritual and artistic grandeur with which Bach retells Christ’s passion.

Bach’s intention was that the St John Passion would be used in worship. The two halves are designed to be sung on either side of a central sermon and indeed the piece is in fact a musical palindrome, with the centre of the palindrome being focused on the trial of Christ.

Conducted and directed by local music teacher Cath Fish, the Stornoway Singers will be supported by two visiting soloists – Gavin and Emma Magenty. The orchestra will be ably led by Neil Johnstone, with Andy Yearly providing the Continuo.

This promises to be an evening of beautiful music to which all are warmly invited to attend. Tickets can be purchased from Nicolson’s Newsagents on Cromwell Street at a cost of £12 with concession tickets priced at £10.