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Rossini’s humorous and anything-but-solemn Petite Messe Solennelle was one of a number of memorable choral highlights from the first half of 2017. Performed in its original incarnation for two pianos and harmonium, the Bath Spa University Choir filled the Wiltshire Music Centre with 90 minutes of quasi-operatic pleasure.

A riveting workshop by Ben Parry (director of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and former singer and musical director with The Swingle Singers) soon followed with his atmospheric composition, Flame, opening the choir’s set at this year’s Bath Festival.

Soprano soloist Hannah Scott made sure there wasn’t a dry eye in a packed Bath Abbey during Esenvalds’ Only in Sleep while Matthew Tilley navigated the chorus with aplomb in a spirited preview of Stanford’s Songs of the Fleet.

This season, the choir will return to Bath Abbey for the autumn concert featuring Vierne’s seldom-performed Messe Solennelle as well music by Whitacre, Nystedt, Chesnokov, Casals and Rachmaninov’s Bogoroditse Dyevo.

The annual carol service will take place on Monday 4 December at 7pm and there will be an opportunity to celebrate the festive season with mince pies, mulled wine and a light-hearted medley of Christmas favourites at St Swithin’s Church on Tuesday 12 December.

Forthcoming concerts:
– Vierne Messe Solennelle Thursday 16 November at Bath Abbey, £5/£10
– BSU Carol service Monday 4 December at Bath Abbey, free admission
– St Swithin’s Christmas Tuesday 12 December at St Swithin’s Church, Bath, £5/£10