Registered Charity Number 1171218
Bringing together the Winkleigh Singers and Devon Baroque was inspirational. The empathy between them became apparent as the performance progressed and directors Roland Smith and Margaret Faultless deserve the highest praise. Add to this the great idea of inviting a quartet of young soloists from the Royal College of Music and Winkleigh Singers' 20th anniversary year was bound to end on a high note - and it certainly did.
This fine choir can be seen to enjoy their music making and their rapport with Devon Baroque was remarkable, since rehearsal time must have been restricted.
Everything about this Messiah was praiseworthy but much deserves special mention: Choir. And the Glory of the Lord gave us a wonderful first taste of their vibrant tone while For Unto us a Child is Born demonstrated great versatility in their control of those swift semi-quaver runs. Hallelujah and Worthy Is the Lamb were quite exceptional, with the final Amen bringing the audience to the edge of their seats.
Orchestra: Consummate professionals, who backed and nursed choir and soloists to perfection and what a lovely sound they made. Great musicianship.
Siona Stockel, soprano with a beautiful, agile voice. She excelled in Rejoice Greatly and the well loved Redeemer.
Stephen Harvey, counter tenor - rare voice, rare talent used to perfection; He was Despised - memorable.
Richard Rowntree (who took the place of Nathan Vale), tenor - real timbre here. Comfort ye and Thou shalt Break Them handled with ease.
Andrew Ashwin, bass - tackled the three great arias with aplomb and The Trumpet shall Sound didn't bother him at all.
This Messiah received a prolonged and thoroughly deserved ovation from a large audience.
John Harvey, North Devon Journal
2 December 2004