Satisfying perfromance of Handel’s Messiah in Honiton

18:30 07 January 2013


Messiah is often done at Christmas, but not always in its entirety.

The Sheldon Singers, under the stylish direction of Julie De’Ath Lancaster, gave us the complete work at their recent concert, and what a treat it was. Smallish forces in chorus and orchestra created an authentic baroque sound, just as – the programme note pointed out – Handel would have expected to hear.

From the start, with well-judged tempi and dynamics in the opening Sinfony, it was clear that this was not a large-scale free-for-all but a chamber performance of charm and poise. The chorus, who are the backbone of this piece, after all, produced some lovely sound, nimble in the ‘runny bits’ although occasionally lacking in attack.

The men especially were inclined to lose volume in the faster passages. However, the dramatic choruses in part two were handled confidently, and the Hallelujah chorus was magnificent.

Tenor soloist Dean Ward, in his debut Messiah, was firm and confident, filling the church with wonderful sound in “Ev’ry valley”; he wisely resisted the temptation to add decorations, letting the music speak for itself. David McKee, the bass soloist, has a nice baroque sound, and a sense of the drama of the piece.

Alto Christiana Eastwood has a very impressive range, shown to good effect in appropriate vocal embellishments.

The soprano soloist only appears half way through part one, but Katherine Walker made the most of her late entrance with angelic singing.

Her bright tone and flexible line were just right for the Angel of the Lord music, and she was particularly engaging later on in “I know that my Redeemer liveth”.

The orchestra in Messiah has various roles - support, accompaniment and leading, by turns.

The players, and especially Andrew Carter as continuo, fulfilled all of these admirably, taking centre stage or subsiding to a discreet support as required. Julie De’Ath Lancaster is to be congratulated on master-minding a very satisfying performance.

Sue Goodman

The next concert by the Sheldon Singers will be held in St Paul’s Church, Honiton on Saturday, April 27 and will feature the new ‘Requiem’ by Bob Chilcott. For further details, go to


Other Entertainment Stories


Members of the Honiton History Society were thoroughly entertained at their last talk given by Bruce Upton of the Bridport Museum Trust.

Read more

The first Exmouth and East Devon music awards are coming up tomorrow night (8.30pm, Friday, October 21) at the GWRSA Railway club on the Royal Avenue.

Read more

Exmouth’s Bicton Inn has more musical events lined up.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:42

Most will know and many will love the 1954 film favourite White Christmas starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:30

Show of Hands – one of the UK’s foremost folk bands – have lined up three shows on consecutive nights at the Exmouth Pavilion, just yards from the folk club where they formed.

Read more
Tue, 18:30

Exmouth Musical Theatre Company (EMCo) is now in the thick of rehearsals for its blockbuster autumn production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita, which includes a gripping, true-life story and some classic Lloyd Webber songs, such as Oh What a Circus, Another Suitcase in Another Hall and, of course, Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.

Read more
Tue, 17:30

The Beehive will be hosting Pop-up Opera’s production of The Barber of Seville, on Friday, October 28.

Read more
Mon, 17:30

One of Lyme Regis’s best-known artists, Christine Allison is delighted to be returning to the Town Mill’s Malthouse Gallery.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 12°C

min temp: 4°C

Most Read Entertainment

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the Midweek Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Local business directory

Honiton's trusted business finder


Show Job Lists

Find planning applications