Ipswich Choral Society will celebrate their first visit to Belgium with the Belgian première of a work written for them by their Vice President Stevie Wishart. Commissioned by the Society in 2014 to mark their 190th anniversary and premièred at the world famous Snape Maltings Concert Hall, “Summer” from Cantata for the Seasons by renowned composer and Brussels-based Stevie Wishart will be the highlight of the concerts in Belgium.

The wide skies and flatlands of Suffolk inspired the new work, written as a homage to Suffolk-born composer Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) for the centenary of his birth. Britten, President of Ipswich Choral Society from 1948 to 1958, also founded the Snape Maltings concert hall in 1967.

Britten is one of those composers who has been very important to me in the formation of my own musical language. Growing up in East Anglia, I attended master-classes at Snape from a tender age, and so feel under the Snape/Britten spell. I also adore the skies and flat-lands of Suffolk – again childhood haunts, and so look to this landscape for inspiration.”  Stevie Wishart

Ipswich Choral Society is looking forward to the tour in June and delighted to be performing two concerts “Music for a Summer’s Evening” during their visit to Belgium. The first at Holy Trinity in Brussels is Friday 2 June, with the second the next day 3 June at Sint-Elisabethkerk in Ghent. As well as the première of “Summer”, the concert features “Magnificat” (from Vespers for St Hildegard) by Stevie Wishart written in honour of the canonisation of Hildegard of Bingen. The concert programme will include works by Delius, Brahms, Fauré, Parry and Whitacre, popular with English choral societies.

Music Director, Robin Walker, recently made his Snape debut conducting the Society in a special performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah. Ipswich Choral Society were joined by special guests Halifax Choral Society, the oldest choral society in the UK, to celebrate 200 years of the English choral society tradition.

.. the orchestra and soloists were a delight, but nothing can take away from the enthusiastic and much enjoyed performance of the choir. The spontaneous applause after the Hallelujah chorus was indeed well deserved. A most enjoyable and well executed concert, the whole evening a resounding success! (Handel’s Messiah, Ipswich Corn Exchange, March 2016)

Many congratulations to the ICS for mounting an impressive programme. Stamina and musicality were outstanding! (Wishart’s Cantata for the Seasons première, Snape Maltings, April 2014)

The choir brought the Seasons to life in such a musical and heart-felt spirit, I only wish I could hear it all again. To my ears it really sounded like it was a piece made for the ICS special sound and it was quite thrilling and moving to hear the character of the various voices. Sitting there in that beautiful Snape concert hall the choir looked and sounded really impressive. (Wishart’s Cantata for the Seasons première, Snape Maltings, April 2014)


Ipswich Choral Society presents “Music for a Summer’s Evening”

Friday 2 June 2017, 19.00

Holy Trinity

Rue Capitaine Crespel 29

1050 Bruxelles

Tickets €10 includes drinks & pre- concert talk; to book visit www.ipswichchoralsociety.eventbrite.com

Saturday 3 June 2017, 17.00



9000 Ghent

Free concert, retiring collection

A live concert is the culmination of hours of rehearsals which audience members are blissfully unaware of when enjoying the performance. An exciting collaboration between two long established Ipswich Societies will highlight the work involved with staging a very special concert at Snape in April 2017.

Ipswich Choral Society has begun work on Mendelssohn’s popular oratorio Elijah with rehearsals being caught on camera by members of Ipswich and District Photographic Society. An exhibition will be held at Snape Malting Concert Hall on 29 April showcasing the best photos from rehearsals and the Elijah performance in Halifax.

Add to this, a collaboration with the oldest Choral Society in the World, and there is the making of a very special experience. Halifax Choral Society, founded in 1817, celebrates its 200th anniversary this year and will be performing Elijah with Ipswich Choral Society at the Snape concert as well as a performance in Halifax on 19th March.

Members from Ipswich and District Photographic Society will be travelling up to Yorkshire with Ipswich Choral Society to also record the pre-concert rehearsal and concert itself on film at The Victoria Theatre in Halifax. These photographs will be part of the Snape exhibition too.

Premièred in 1846 at the Birmingham Festival, Elijah has been a popular piece within the British choral repertory and performed countless times. In 1947, a performance of Elijah was given by Ipswich Choral Society for the centenary of Mendelssohn’s death and soloists included soprano Isobel Baillie and contralto Kathleen Ferrier. In 1980, Ipswich Choral Society performed Elijah at Christchurch in Ipswich with then up-and-coming soprano soloist, Lesley Garrett.

Ipswich Choral Society are delighted to be working with the popular local soprano Claire Weston, alto Susan Moore, tenor James Elliott and baritone Garry Magee for the Elijah concert with the Kingfisher Sinfonietta, led by Beth Spendlove accompanying. In total there will be over 200 singers and musicians on stage, and in charge of them all will be Ipswich Choral Society’s Music Director, Robin Walker. It will be Robin’s Snape conducting debut for this momentous concert.

Ipswich Choral Society presents Mendelssohn’s Elijah

Saturday 29 April 2017, 7.30pm

Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Snape, Suffolk IP17 1SP

  • Ipswich Choral Society with special guests Halifax Choral Society
  • Conductor: Robin Walker, ICS Music Director
  • Soprano: Claire Weston
  • Contralto: Susan Moore
  • Tenor: James Elliott
  • Baritone: Garry Magee
  • Kingfisher Sinfonietta, leader Beth Spendlove

In collaboration with Ipswich and District Photographic Society

Tickets: £16, £18, £20 (students £8)

Available direct from ICS members or Snape Maltings Box Office 01728 687110 or snapemaltings.co.uk